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Rivka Siden

Are You Involved in a Clinical Study? Here’s How to Take Your Medications Safely

By Rivka Siden, M.S., Pharm.D., Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, and Kim Redic, Pharm.D., BCPS, Manager, University of Michigan Health-System Research Pharmacy, Ann Arbor, MI

Medications used in clinical studies include both medications that have not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as FDA-approved medications that are being tested for safety and effectiveness to treat new or different health conditions. If you are participating in a clinical study and are taking a study medication, here is some important information on how to safely take, handle, and store it. More

Flu

Everything You Need to Know about the 2015 Flu Season

By Deborah Pasko, Pharm.D., MHA, Director, ASHP Medication Safety & Quality, and Erika L. Thomas, M.B.A., B.S.Pharm., Director, ASHP’s Section of Inpatient Care Practitioners

The 2014-2015 flu season is proving to be a very challenging one. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States experiences epidemics of seasonal flu each year. At the beginning of January 2015, CDC data are showing elevated flu activity in a majority of states with increasing hospitalizations rates, especially in people 65 years and older. More

Mallory Snyder

Want to Avoid the Flu this Season? Be Sure to Get Vaccinated

By Mallory Snyder, Pharm.D., MPH, PGY1 Health-System Administration Resident, University of Minnesota Medical Center—Fairview, Minneapolis

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is an illness that can affect people at any age and from any walk of life. If untreated, influenza can lead to very serious complications, including hospitalization or even death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as 49,000 Americans die each year from flu-related complications. That’s why it is so important to protect yourself, now that flu season is upon us, by receiving an influenza vaccine. More

Josh Tramel

What Your Pharmacist Can Do For You

By Joshua Tramel, Pharm.D., PGY-1 Pharmacy Resident, North Mississippi Medical Center, Tupelo

I am often asked by my family, friends, and patients about my role as a pharmacist in a hospital setting. My patient care role has many facets to it, and what I do is quite different from what the average person might have in mind. Many people have a particular image of pharmacists as medication experts in white coats who work behind community pharmacy counters to dispense prescriptions. I’ve found that patients often assume that this is exactly what pharmacists who work in hospitals and clinics do as well. More

Emily Graham

The Do’s and Don’ts of Cough and Cold Medicines

By Emily P. Graham, Pharm.D., M.S., PGY1 Resident, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Penn.

Cold and flu season is the time of year when sniffles, coughs, aches, and pains seem to be around every corner. Anyone with a cold or the flu wants relief for their symptoms. Picking the right non-prescription product, however, may seem overwhelming with all of the different available options. Hundreds of products advertise their ability to fix your symptoms, and they come in many different packages and combinations. Which option is the best one for you? More

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Featured Article
Terri Albarano and Sean McGonigle
Expanding Measles Outbreak Points to the Importance of Vaccinations

Recent reports of measles outbreaks in California and a number of other states are a real cause for concern for parents, caregivers, individuals who have an impaired ability to fight disease, and healthcare providers. Any individual who is unvaccinated is at risk for contracting this highly contagious disease. Here is what you need to know about the measles virus and what you can do to prevent yourself or anyone in your family from catching it:

I thought that measles was virtually eliminated in the United States. Why is this outbreak happening?

While measles is rare in the United States, there are still some parts of the world where not as many people are vaccinated and measles is more common. Unvaccinated people traveling to the United States from these countries or Americans who have visited these countries can bring the virus back with them.

How are the measles spread?

The measles are one of the most contagious diseases known. The measles virus can spread from person to person by droplets in the air from coughing and sneezing. The virus can remain airborne or on surfaces for several hours.

Why is it important to get your children vaccinated?

Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent the measles. Children should get two doses of the MMR (Measles-Mumps-Rubella) vaccine… the first between 12 to 15 months and again between 4 to 6 years old, just before starting school. More than 90% of children who receive the vaccine will develop immunity to the measles virus, which is usually lifelong.

How do I know the vaccine is still effective?

Almost all children who receive the vaccine will develop protection from the measles. However, if you are concerned, talk to your child’s doctor about doing a blood test to check for immunity to the measles.

Is there anyone who should not get the vaccine?

Children younger than 12 months of age should not get the vaccine, except in special circumstances. Pregnant women and people with conditions that weaken the immune system also should not get the vaccine.

Are adults who received the vaccine at risk of getting the measles?

The vast majority of people vaccinated with the current measles vaccine will achieve lifelong immunity. However, in rare cases, immunity can fade and adults can be at risk. Also, people vaccinated with older strains of the vaccine, especially strains used in the 1960’s, may not be protected. If you are concerned that your vaccine is not effective, talk to your doctor. You may need to receive one or two doses of the current vaccine to become fully protected.

What are symptoms of the measles?

The most common symptoms of the measles are:

  • Rash starting on the face and spreading down
    to the neck, trunk, arms, and legs
  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Eye irritation
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat

Read Full Article

By Terri Albarano, M.S., Pharm.D., Clinical Marketing Manager, Specialty Pharmaceuticals/Nutrition, Baxter Healthcare, Round Lake, IL; and Sean McGonigle, Pharm.D., PGY2 Infectious Diseases Pharmacy Resident, Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA