Getting Kids to Take Medicine

Try these practical ways to get kids to cooperate:

Explain how medicine helps kids get well. Young children don’t always understand how medicine works. You could explain it by simply saying, “This medicine will help you feel better so you can go back to the playground.” You could also mention what the medicine is accomplishing: “You didn’t wake up at all last night. That’s because the medicine took your pain away.”

Make the medication taste better, if your doctor approves. Sometimes keeping liquid medications cold makes them more palatable. And if your doctor allows, you can also put medicine in juice or add flavorings to it. Pediatric nurse practitioner Joan Lokar of Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago says, “Ask your doctor and pharmacist if the medication will taste bad, and if it’s safe to add a flavoring. You can also inquire if it’s safe to mix a liquid medicine with juice or food. But check with your doctor or nurse practitioner to make sure, before you do.” Orange juice is often used to conceal bad-tasting medicine.


5 Tips to Save Money on Prescriptions

Pharmacists can help patients save money on their prescriptions each time they approach the pharmacy counter.

Skyrocketing prescription drug prices sit squarely at the center of policy debates about the US health care system. Even generic medications are becoming unaffordable.

According to drug pricing research firm Truveris, the overall cost of all generics increased by 5% in 2014, though more extreme surges were seen when the data was broken down by therapeutic area. Medical conditions that saw the largest increases in generic drug prices included muscle pain and stiffness (31.9%), inflammation (31.7%), heart disease (23.7%), acne (18.1%), and infections (11.8%).

Although pharmacists may not be able to alter drug market dynamics for the sake of reducing prescription costs, they do have several tools at their disposal to help patients save as much money as possible.

Start with the following 5 steps:

1. Offer to process the prescription without going through insurance.
This may seem counterintuitive, but a recent Consumer Reports analysis revealed that many retail pharmacy chains and big-box stores offer common generics at prices as low as $4 for a 30-day supply and $10 for a 90-day supply for patients willing to pay out of pocket. Of note, the ability to obtain these discounts varies based on the type of medication and condition being treated.

One caveat pharmacists should let patients know is that if they choose to circumvent their insurance plan, the money spent toward that prescription will not count toward their deductible. It is also important to make sure patients are aware that they may not be eligible for discount programs if they receive coverage through Medicare, Medicaid, or Tricare.

2. Perform a medication review.
When patients receive multiple medications from several different prescribers, there are greater odds that at least 1 of those medications is inappropriate. This can lead to polypharmacy, for which older patients and those with multiple comorbid conditions are most at-risk.

While polypharmacy has obvious patient health pitfalls, pharmacists should also highlight how discontinuing an unnecessary medication can help patients reduce their overall prescription drug costs.

To do this, pharmacists should identify all the medications that a patient is taking by obtaining an accurate medication and medical history. Then, the pharmacist can link each prescribed medication to a disease state and initiate interventions with the patient’s prescriber to discontinue medications deemed inappropriate.

3. Encourage patients to fill 90-day prescriptions.
Patients with chronic conditions that necessitate long-term use of a medication may be able to save money buy filling a 90-day prescription instead of the standard 30-day prescription.

When using insurance, patients filling a 90-day prescription will only have 1 co-pay, as opposed to 3 co-pays for the same amount of medication. They would also only have to make 1 trip to the pharmacy every 3 months.

4. Encourage patients to substitute brand-name drugs with the generic, if available.
Recent estimates show that 88% of prescriptions dispensed in the United States are for generic drugs, but prescribers are under no obligation to prescribe the generic version if the patient doesn’t ask them to do so.

When patients are paying for prescriptions out of pocket, they may want to check online resources such as GoodRx to find the “fair price” for generics versus brand-name versions and compare them with the pharmacy’s listed prices.

5. When appropriate, advise the patient to safely split pills.
Pill splitting is a common strategy used by patients looking to save money amid rising drug costs, but 8% of those patients admit to splitting pills without receiving approval from a pharmacist or physician.

Certain drugs for certain conditions—including high cholesterol medications like lovastatin (Mevacor) and rosuvastatin (Crestor), as well as depression medications like sertraline (Zoloft)—can be split without reducing their efficacy or causing negative side effects. However, other medications such as oxycodone (Oxycontin), omeprazole (Prilosec), chemotherapy drugs, and contraceptives should never be split.

Pharmacists should take the time to explain which medications can be split safely and accurately.

(Source Pharmacy Times)

niversity of East Anglia News

The risk of death after a heart attack is lower than previously thought, and more widespread prescription of beta blockers could further improve survival rates, according to new research.

The large cohort study by scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) Norwich Medical School and School of Computing Sciences calculated the chances of survival after acute myocardial infarction (AMI) in the general population aged 60 and over in the UK.

It also looked at the effectiveness of prescription of statins, aspirin, ACE inhibitors and beta blockers, the most common treatments, as well as heart surgery (coronary artery bypass graft and percutaneous coronary intervention).

They found that life expectancy of people who have had at least one heart attack by the age of 60 was, on average, lowered by 6 to 6.5 years. People who had suffered a heart attack by the age of 75 had their life expectancy decreased by 4 to 5 years on average.

Researchers found that the greatest survival benefit was associated with prescription of statins, with an average increase in life expectancy of 2.5 years. Similarly, prescription of beta blockers was associated with an average increase in life expectancy of 2.0 years.

In contrast, prescription of aspirin and ACE inhibitors were of no benefit in respect to life expectancy. The effectiveness of treatments with respect to life expectancy did not differ by age. The effectiveness of treatments with respect to quality of life was not studied.

Lisanne Gitsels, from UEA’s School of Computing Sciences, said: “The prevalence of AMI has increased with the UK’s ageing population. However survival rates are also improving, thanks to better drug treatments and healthier lifestyles. There was a need to look in detail at how the most common treatments are affecting people’s chance of survival, taking into account their age and the many other factors which might influence their recover.”

“In accordance with previous studies, we found that AMI survivors have a long term, increased hazard of mortality, and younger survivors and survivors of multiple events were worse off in terms of survival. However, our research estimated lower hazards of mortality than previously estimated.”

“Importantly, the results are of clinical significance as they show the gains that were achieved from prescription of statins and beta blockers after a heart attack in this large population of patients in primary care, and the lack of benefit from aspirin and ACE inhibitors.

The study also highlighted a possible gender discrimination when offering surgery.

Miss Gitsels said: “While men and women were equally likely to be prescribed drugs, men were approximately twice as likely to have had heart surgery (coronary artery bypass surgery or percutaneous coronary intervention). The gender difference could not be explained by difference in demographic and risk profiles, suggesting that there might be a gender discrimination in surgery, which is something which should be investigated further.”

‘Survival prospects after acute myocardial infarction in the United Kingdom: A matched cohort study 1987–2011’ was published in the journal BMJ Open.

(source mdlinx)

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