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Albarano and McGonigle

Expanding Measles Outbreak Points to the Importance of Vaccinations

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

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...More

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

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Featured Article
Christopher Campbell and Christina DeRemer
Sharing Prescription Medicines Can Be Bad for Your Health

Does your family have a stockpile of prescription medications that you keep “just in case?”  Have you ever used a prescription medication that was not meant for you? How often have you given someone else your medications?  

Prescription medication is intended to be used under the direct care of a doctor who is responsible for monitoring your condition and how you respond to the treatment. Doctors and pharmacists have carefully chosen medicines that will work for you by considering your allergies, potential side effects, and any interactions that your current prescription and nonprescription medications may cause.

Similar conditions can be treated in different ways. For example, two people with diabetes might not be prescribed the same medications based on their individual conditions. And diabetic medicines can differ in both the way that they work and how long they take to start working or continue to work. Using these medicines without guidance from a doctor may result in blood sugar being too high or too low, leading to potentially serious effects.

It is also important to always seek the advice of a pediatrician or family physician or pharmacist when giving medication to a child. Doses that are prescribed for adults are not the same for children, and certain medications should not be given to children because they can be harmful to a child’s development.

Another issue to consider is the fact that leftover medications can be less effective and possibly dangerous if they are kept past their expiration date or are stored in damp, hot, or other less-than-ideal conditions.

Finally, prescription medications that are considered to be controlled substances are not allowed to be transferred to another person, per federal law.

Remember that the medications that your doctor has prescribed for you were chosen specifically for you and your needs. Keep yourself and your family safe by disposing of unused medications properly and by not sharing your prescriptions.

By Christopher Campbell, Pharm.D., PGY1 Resident, George Regents Medical Center, Augusta; and Christina E. DeRemer, Pharm.D., BCPS, Primary Care Clinical Pharmacist & Medicine Team Supervisor, Georgia Regents Health System