Krill Oil

We have been getting an influx of calls and requests in our stores for an Omega-3 product called Krill Oil.  We figured this would be a good opportunity to share what we have learned about the product with our customers.

Krill are tiny shrimp like animals, they are abundant in the seas and are a primary food source for many large sea animals.  Mainly whales, mantas, and whale sharks.

Nature's Bounty Krill Oil Available in our Stores.

Krill oil is rich in the Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, very similar to other Omega products like fish oil or flaxseed oil.

Krill oil has many listed uses,  these include heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, osteoarthritis, and depression.

The benefits of krill oil are similar to fish oil.  Omega-3 fatty acids are believed to be beneficial fats that can help to lower cholesterol.  They also help make your blood cells slide past each other easier which makes dangerous clots less likely.  Omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown in some studies to help decrease inflammation.  Because of these effects the range of uses for Krill oil mirror that of fish oil or other Omega-oils.

Omega-3 products have been most heavily studied for use in patients with high cholesterol or high triglycerides.  Many studies point to the effect that omega-3 has on HDL (high density lipoprotein) the “good” cholesterol.  These studies also show that doses of 1000-1500mg of omega-3 fatty acids like Krill Oil help to lower LDL the “bad” cholesterol.  Higher doses of krill oil exceeding 2000mg a day have also shown promise for lowering triglycerides as well.

Use of omega-3 products for arthritis and swelling have gained in popularity in the past few years as well but there are no definitive studies that I can find that say whether these products definitively help.

The effects of krill oil on cancer, depression, and stroke prevention are also untested and unproven.

If you are considering a krill oil product these are the things  you should know.

1. Check with your Dr. or Pharmacist to make sure that an Omega-3 product is safe for you to take.  These products can interact with certain medications.

2. Krill Oil appears to be safe for use in adults, safety and efficacy have not been adequately studied.

3. The most common side effects you may see with Krill Oil.  Loose stools, bad breath, heartburn, a fishy taste or fishy burps, upset stomach and or nausea.  While most of these aren’t too bothersome it may discourage some from using the product.  If you get these side effects from a Krill oil product there is always the option of an enteric coated fish oil or flaxseed oil.

4.  Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid these products.  There is no definitive studies done on their safety.  When it comes to the safety of your child we always recommend you err on the safe side and avoid most medications unless medically necessary.

5.  Krill oil can increase the time it takes for your blood to clot.  If you are taking a krill oil, fish oil, or any other Omega-3 oil you should stop these products 1 to 2 weeks prior to any surgery.  Always make sure that your physician knows about any over the counter supplements you take well in advance of any scheduled surgeries or procedures.

6.  As with fish oils, if you have a seafood allergy it is best to avoid Krill Oil and to stick with plant based Omega-3’s like flaxseed oil.

7.  Krill oil can also interact with blood thinning agents like Coumadin (warfarin), plavix, pradaxa, and aspirin.  If you take any of these medications or other blood thinning products please contact your physician and pharmacist before starting on a krill oil supplement.

We hope this brief blog has helped you understand this product better.  Please contact us if you have additional questions about this or any other product that we carry!

Stay Healthy!

 

Blog disclaimer:

Reasonable effort and care have been taken to prepare this blog, and the information provided is believed to be accurate at the time of posting. However, this information is not intended to constitute and “authoritative statement” under food and drug administration rules and regulations. When in doubt please make sure to contact your pharmacist or physician when making dietary changes, or regarding medical treatment and other related issues. This blog is meant to be informative, Spartan Pharmacy asks that you please use this information as a reference and not a replacement for proper medical treatment. Please, leave that to the professionals!

All Photos unless otherwise noted are copyright protected and owned by Ronald P Obringer, any unauthorized use without permission of the owner is strictly forbidden.©Ronald P. Obringer

Advertisements

The Dreaded Ear Infection.

It’s that season again… for ear infections!

Holiday break is over… Parents are back to work, and kids are heading back to school and daycare.

Which can only mean one thing… chances are, your kid(s) will probably have an ear infection this winter/early spring.

Ear infections, also called AOM for Acute Otitis Media, are one of the most common reasons patients see a physician. Ear infections result in about 25 million office visits each year, and physicians write roughly 16 million prescriptions each year to treat AOM.

Around 90% of children will have had at least one episode of AOM by the time they turn 3 years old, with about 1/3 of those children experiencing 3 episodes by the time they turn 3. Additionally, the younger the child is when they experience their first ear infection, the more likely they are to experience more ear infections down the line.

Multiple factors can increase the risk of a child having an ear infection, including attending daycare, exposure to second-hand smoke, lack of breast-feeding as an infant, and abnormal eustachian tube function, resulting in fluid build-up in the inner ear.

Fortunately, there are many steps a parent can take to reduce the risk of their child having an ear infection. This includes breast-feeding the infant for at least 6 months after birth, and avoiding feeding the child in a position where the child is laying down and facing up. Perhaps most importantly, a child’s home should be SMOKE FREE. Also, a vaccine (called PREVNAR 13) is available once the child is 6 weeks old, and it is administered in 4 doses at ages 2, 4, 6, and 12 months. This vaccine will protect the child from the most common bacteria that cause ear infections. Side effects from this vaccine include redness and tenderness at the injection site and irritability. Side effects from the vaccine generally resolve after a short time.

So, how do you know if you or your child has an ear infection?

Signs and symptoms of ear infections include a fever (although it’s not always present), ear pain (which can present as a child tugging at the ear), impaired hearing, decreased appetite, and irritability. In addition to these symptoms, there can be a bulging and discoloration of the ear drum (called the tympanic membrane), resulting from fluid build-up in the inner ear. These signs and symptoms are necessary for the diagnosis of AOM.

The major decision that a physician must make is whether or not to prescribe an antibiotic to the patient because 1/3 of ear infections are caused by viruses, NOT BACTERIA, and 80% of bacterial ear infections spontaneously resolve within 2-3 days. This is important to note because patients taking an antibiotic will likely not experience any relief of their symptoms until 2 or 3 days of antibiotic use, but they will be at an increased risk for side effects like diarrhea when using the antibiotic. Antibiotics will NOT treat viral infections.

If the child is older than 2 years old, does not have a fever, and has mild symptoms, many physicians may choose to follow the “wait and see policy,” which involves monitoring the child’s symptoms until the infection goes away on its own, treating the symptoms (ibuprofen or Tylenol for pain) and making sure the child is adequately hydrated.

If the child is less than 2 years old, however, many physicians will prescribe an antibiotic in order to treat the infection and alleviate the symptoms.

The drug of choice for treating ear infections is amoxicillin (“the pink stuff”), usually given as a flavored liquid. Amoxicillin is usually given 2 to 3 times per day for 7-10 days. In order to prevent the infection from returning, it is very important to finish all of the medication exactly as prescribed.  Follow up with the pediatrician if the symptoms get worse.

If the patient is allergic to penicillin – DON’T WORRY. The physician will likely prescribe azithromycin, which is just as effective as amoxicillin.

If the patient’s symptoms get worse or do not improve at all after 2-3 days, the physician may prescribe Augmentin, a slightly stronger formulation of amoxicillin, or azithromycin.

Finally, if the above treatments fail to treat the ear infection, the physician may prescribe Levaquin or Zyvox, which are powerful antibiotics and the last resort for seriously resistant ear infections.  Most can be treated simply with Amoxicillin or Azithromycin.

Remember, help prevent the spread of infections by washing your hands regularly, keep your children’s environment smoke free, and avoid situations will seriously ill guests.

-Michael Galbraith Duquesne University PharmD Candidate.

About the author:  Michael is an intern with spartan pharmacy, he will be graduating from Duquesne University in 2013.  You will most often find him in our kings school road store.  Thank you for taking the time to read our blog.

 

Blog disclaimer:

Reasonable effort and care have been taken to prepare this blog, and the information provided is believed to be accurate at the time of posting. However, this information is not intended to constitute and “authoritative statement” under food and drug administration rules and regulations. When in doubt please make sure to contact your pharmacist or physician when making dietary changes, or regarding medical treatment and other related issues. This blog is meant to be informative, Spartan Pharmacy asks that you please use this information as a reference and not a replacement for proper medical treatment. Please, leave that to the professionals!

All Photos unless otherwise noted are copyright protected and owned by Ronald P Obringer, any unauthorized use without permission of the owner is strictly forbidden.©Ronald P. Obringer

Do you need a new Pharmacy?

As you may have already heard many large chain pharmacies will be dropping Express Scripts after January 1st, 2012.  In the Pittsburgh area this will affect UPMC health plan members and all other Express Scripts Members.  Spartan Pharmacy is not one of those pharmacies.

During this transition we want to make things as easy as possible for you to get your prescriptions transferred and filled.  You don’t need the hassle of long wait times or long lines in the grocery store pharmacies.  Give us a call at any of our locations and let us know that you would like to transfer your prescriptions to us.  We will call the pharmacy, transfer your medications and get you on your way.  We realize that you have better things to do with your time than spending it waiting in line.

If you are an existing customer or a new customer, thank you.  As an added incentive we would like to offer anyone who refers a new patient to us a $10 referral bonus which can be applied to your next purchase in the store.  Just have the person who you referred let us know that you recommended Spartan Pharmacy to them.

This is a big change for many people, the shock of having to pack up your prescriptions and move somewhere else is a daunting task.  You are comfortable with the staff and the pharmacists from your previous location and we can understand and sympathize with you.  Rest assured that our pharmacists and staff will take excellent care of you and your families.  Since we are a small local company your money will also stay in the local communities.  We are also equipped to handle compounded medications, if you are interested please inquire at any of our stores.

You can go to our website www.spartanpharmacy.com to get addresses, locations, and phone numbers.  You can also follow us on facebook and twitter (@spartanpharmacy).   From the website you can also fill out a webform that will help us transfer your medications as well.

We hope that you all have a safe, happy, and healthy New Year.  Looking forward to meeting and seeing all of you in the New Year!

Spartan Holiday Hours

Spartan Pharmacy Holiday hours!
Brownsville Road and Bethel Park stores
12/24 9am-3pm
12/25 CLOSED
12/31 9am-3pm
1/1/12: CLOSED

 

Spartan Pharmacy Holiday Hours 
Saw Mill Run Location ONLY (next to med express)
12/24 9am-5pm
12/25 CLOSED
12/31 9am-9pm
1/1/12 9am-5pm

 

The Holidays are a very busy time for the pharmacy.  Please call ahead for refills if at all possible.  Our delivery schedule can fill up fast as well. If you need something delivered please let the pharmacy know as soon as possible so that we can make sure we have adequate time to fill and deliver your medications.  We wish you all a very Happy and Healthy Holiday Season!!

 

 

Cold Season.

It’s that time of year again, the sun has gone away, the pools are closed, and the kids are back in school.  Rhinovirus and Coronavirus are making their way into our nasal passages and onto our hands and spreading rapidly.  I’m talking about the Common Cold.  The dreaded sore throats, runny noses, and fevers that plague us for anywhere from 7-10 days all the way to 3 weeks in more severe cases.  Sadly there is no cure for the common cold, but there are plenty of over the counter and prescription medications available to ease your suffering.

Antibiotics won’t work on a virus, so unless you have a secondary bacterial infection your Doctor should not be prescribing you antibiotics for the common cold.  Increased antibiotic use can lead to antibiotic resistance in the community, something all of us in healthcare want to prevent.

The signs and symptoms of the Common Cold may be cough, sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion and sometimes fever.  Fever can also be a sign that you have the flu, but that is another blog for another time.  If your symptoms are severe or you feel that you have the flu, please contact your physician.  If you have a cold or flu it’s best to stay home from work.  If you must work, avoid shaking hands with others, wash your hands regularly, and cover your nose and mouth if you have to sneeze or cough.  Colds are very contagious during the first 3 days after infection and then taper off from there.

The common cold can be caused by over 200 different viral strains and is nearly impossible to gain complete immunity from.

What are the risk factors for getting a cold you may ask?

  • Touching eyes, nose, or mouth with contaminated fingers.
  • Spending time in an enclosed space with infected people.
  • A history of smoking (increases duration of sickness by more than 3 days!)
  • Lack of sleep (you must sleep more than 7 hours a night to increase your resistance to the cold)
  • There is conflicting evidence to suggest that cold weather or getting a “chill” can lead to you getting a cold.  Cold weather does not decrease your immune response.
  • People with stronger immune systems are actually more likely to develop severe symptomatic colds.  This may sound like the opposite of what you would think, but symptoms are due to your bodies response to the infection.  Those with a weak immune system may actually show less severe symptoms due to a weaker immune response.

Prevention of the common cold is relatively straightforward.  Avoid people who are infected and places where infected people have been.  Regular hand washing is critical in preventing the cold and the flu.  When washing hands, any soap will do, it’s actually the action of rubbing the hands together with a soap, rinsing, and drying that removes the virus.  Antibiotic soaps are not a requirement.  Alcohol based sanitizers do little to prevent the common cold.

I remember Paul Harvey on the radio saying around cough and cold season that we should all replace the handshake with a friendly salute.  It would do wonders to prevent the cold and flu from being transmitted person to person.  If you catch me saluting you instead of shaking your hand please don’t be offended, I am just doing my part.

So all this fun stuff aside, you now have the cold, and you feel miserable and you are home from work or school what can you use to treat your symptoms?

Do you have congestion? Then you can use Decongestants, these products relieve the pressure in the sinuses helping you to breath a bit easier.  You can get decongestants in tablet and spray form but the sprays can only be used for 3 days at a time or you may end up with “rebound congestion.”  See your pharmacist or physician if you take medication for high blood pressure, a thyroid condition, and certain antidepressants before taking these medications.  When in doubt about a medication interaction, ask your pharmacist!

Some Examples of Decongestants

Is your nose running or your eyes watering?  Then you most likely need an antihistamine as well.  Antihistamines are the “histamine blockers,” histamine causes the reaction in your body that leads to runny nose and watery eyes.  They are most commonly used to treat seasonal allergies, but may also work for your cold symptoms.  Some antihistamines may cause drowsiness so before you select a product make sure to talk to your pharmacist to determine which one is right for you.  You should not take antihistamines if you have certain bladder conditions or prostate problems.  (Gonna sound like a broken record here) When in doubt about a medication interaction, ask your pharmacist!

Some Example of Antihistamines

If you have a cold you also probably have a cough, your cough may be a dry hacking cough, or a phlegmy moist cough.  Both forms of a cough are treated with dextromethorphan(DM), but the phlegmy cough can also be treated by adding an expectorant along with the DM.  You can also help a phlegmy cough by increasing your consumption of fluids, or running a humidifier at night when you sleep.  Are you taking prescription medications?  Always ask your pharmacist if it is ok before starting a cough suppressant as well, especially if you are taking MAOI inhibitors.

Some Cough Suppressants and Expectorants

Having body aches, sore throat, or a sinus headache associated with your cold?  Then you can also use pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.  These products also help to lower a fever as well.  Children under 13 years of age should avoid aspirin and aspirin related products when treating flu like symptoms due to the risk of Reye’s Syndrome.  The best choice for children is still acetaminophen in these situations.  Anti-inflammatory products like ibuprofen or naproxen may also slightly help in situations of congestion because they can help to decrease inflammation in the nasal passages.

Pain Relievers

There are also many non-medicated products available over the counter for the treatment of the common cold.  Nothing can cure the cold but there is some science behind vitamin C and zinc.

Vitamin C has fallen out of favor among most healthcare practitioners for speeding healing of the common cold.   Vitamin C is water soluble, and therefore very hard to overdose on.  We don’t recommend you try that though, keep your doses below 2000mg a day to prevent stomach upset, diarrhea, and cramps.  Vitamin C can interact with some medications as well, so check with your pharmacist if you take anticoagulants, aspirin, barbiturates, sulfa drugs, salicylates or tetracyclines.  You should also watch your consumption of vitamin C if you suffer from gout, kidney stones, sickle cell anemia, or iron storage disease.

Zinc is believed to help speed the healing of the common cold, but there are studies that also show that it is no more effective than a placebo (sugar pill).  Zinc is best taken in a lozenge form as the tablets can lead to stomach upset and nausea, zinc nasal sprays have mainly been removed from the market due to the risk of permanent loss of smell.  For zinc to work correctly you need to take 9-24mg of elemental zinc every 2 to 3 hours.  Zinc products should not be used for longer than 5 days, the most common side effects are temporary loss of taste, metallic taste in the mouth, stomach upset, and mouth irritation.  Long term use of zinc can lead to a copper deficiency, so please keep your usage to 5 days.  Zinc is not recommended for use in children.  Zinc can be toxic if taken incorrectly or in too high of a dose, remember to ask your pharmacist if you have any questions!

Some Examples of Zinc and Vitamin C Products

There are also many combination cold and flu products over the counter that combine many of the more popular medications into one convenient dose.   Since many of these products contain multiple ingredients it is always best to ask your pharmacist which product best suits your collection of symptoms.  Don’t have ready access to your pharmacist?  Make a list of your symptoms and find the product that covers them.  If you don’t have congestion, don’t take a product that has a decongestant, since there is no reason for you to medicate yourself for that symptom.  Many people just prefer to use single symptom products and combine them as necessary to treat their particular mix of symptoms.

Some Examples of Combination Cold Products.

Everyone who has a cold should get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids (water, gatorade, juice, etc-dehydration can put you in the hospital), and eat regular meals.  Hang in there, colds can last on average up to 10 days!  If the symptoms last longer than 7 to 10 days or become severe you should make an appointment to see your doctor.

Some facts from the NIH (National Institutes of Health)

  • Colds lead to 75-100 million physician visits annually at a cost of over $7.7 billion a year!!
  • Americans alone spend over $2.9 billion on over the counter drugs, and another $400 million on prescription medicines for symptomatic relief.
  • More than 1/3 of patients who saw a doctor received an antibiotic prescription, this has implications for antibiotic resistance from overuse of these drugs.
  • 22-189 million school days are missed annually due to a cold, this can lead to 126 million lost workdays for parents who stay home to take care of their children.
  • 150 million workdays are missed by employees suffering from a cold!
  • The total economic impact is believed to be over $20 billion per year!  This number accounts for 40% of time lost from work.

My best advice is to practice good hygiene, wash your hands, avoid contact with seriously sick individuals and get plenty of sleep!  Nothing is truly going to prevent you from getting a cold but I hope you don’t get one!

Be Well,

Ron

Blog disclaimer:

Reasonable effort and care have been taken to prepare this blog, and the information provided is believed to be accurate at the time of posting. However, this information is not intended to constitute and “authoritative statement” under food and drug administration rules and regulations. When in doubt please make sure to contact your pharmacist or physician when making dietary changes, or regarding medical treatment and other related issues. This blog is meant to be informative, Spartan Pharmacy asks that you please use this information as a reference and not a replacement for proper medical treatment. Please, leave that to the professionals!

All Photos unless otherwise noted are copyright protected and owned by Ronald P Obringer, any unauthorized use without permission of the owner is strictly forbidden.©Ronald P. Obringer

Prescription Drug Abuse.

Hey Spartan Fans,

Adam Rice (President, Spartan Pharmacy), was featured on an interview on CBS local news about the rising increase in prescription drug abuse.  You can see the written article and interview here:

http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2011/10/04/experts-prescription-drug-abuse-a-crisis/

The video is linked here:

http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=6317890