[Click Here] to jump straight down to the Drug & Health Information Links
The drug information process starts when you pick up your first fill of a new prescription at our pharmacy.
Our pharmacist will meet with you to review all the important points regarding the new prescription. This is a two-way exchange because most of the really important details concern you: the reason you need the medication, what other things you’ve tried for this problem and what experiences you’ve had before with similar medications.
So don’t be surprised if we ask you a handful of questions in the process: we want to know enough about you and about your concerns that we can help you with them. Sometimes we find out other things that you need that we have an idea for. We will also review any important interactions that are possible with your other medications and any issues related to drug allergies that we have on record for you.
We’ll go over the directions for your new medication and some of the most common potential side effects. Most important, we try to make it easy for you to ask questions about any aspect of the medication or the problem that took you to the doctor in the first place. Please feel free to bring up anything else you think we can help with.
Now we’ve had a good conversation but as we all know, more questions or concerns always seem to come up later on. During store hours, it’s easy to call us and ask the pharmacist for more information. Never imagine that you are interrupting us: we are glad to take such phone calls because it means that you are thinking about your therapy and taking seriously the medications you’ve been prescribed. We appreciate these calls and the opportunity to help out with any concerns you have.
Sometimes you’d like to do some further research on your own and the World Wide Web is a tempting resource: just about anything you are interested in is discussed somewhere on the internet. But you have to be careful. There are very few rules on the internet and there are no editors at all. So if someone had a personal experience that was very powerful for them, they may post a discussion about it online that has the sound and feel of truth. It must always be remembered that what happens to one person will not necessarily happen to another. (Ever eat peanuts? Ever hear of anyone dying from a peanut allergy? Yes to both, right? That’s proof that our bodies are not all built the same.) Also, nothing on the internet prevents someone from posing as an expert or even believing themselves to be one but in fact lacking the training, education, and experience to support the statements they make.
The best way to approach a search for drug or health information online is to restrict your search to reputable and credible websites. If you don’t find what you want from a reputable source, that doesn’t mean that the blog you find later on is correct. Some information we really really want or need is simply not yet available: research has not nailed down a good answer.
Need a good tool to limit your search to “reputable” websites? Try HON [Click Here]: the Health On the Net Foundation. They certify health-related websites to follow their guidelines & they monitor the sites for compliance. They require any medical or health information to be authoritative (credentials must be demonstrated) and well referenced. Confidentiality is required, and accountability (there must be a way to contact the authors of the site & find out who they are). So why isn’t the new Donlon website certified? It turns out to be a complicated process and will take some time. We’ll get there, but it may not be at the very top of my list.
Here’s an example: Does Vitamin C help prevent the common cold? You’ll be able to find a tremendous number of passionate testimonials that it does and of very persuasive essays saying that it does but if you really hunt down the research? Nope. Vitamin C intake does not reduce your chance of catching a cold. High doses of vitamin C when you already have a cold might (maybe) help reduce how long the cold lasts, but will not cure it. And the research on even that shortening of the cold is not definitive: there are results going both ways. Doses of vitamin C over 2000 mg per day are considered unsafe due to increased side effects. (Note: Zinc lozenges every 2 hours while awake have a little better evidence of reducing the length of your cold but they too will not prevent nor cure it. Zinc nasal sprays have not shown to be as effective.)
So stick to reputable resources and if you cannot find what you want, ask a pharmacist to help out: we have access to a few more resources (that are not free) that summarize research and can provide better information that what is generally available to the public. We subscribe to these services in part so we can help you with questions you ask: the more you ask, the more we get our money’s worth from the medical subscriptions.
Good Drug & Health Information Links
[Click here] for the Healthmart drug information site: News items, easy to navigate, full of useful stuff from a name you can rely on. To find specific topics at Healthmart faster, I’ve listed a few links. New articles are added frequently. Click any topic (blue print) below to jump to that section of Healthmart’s site:
- The Health Portal is a good place to start if those below don’t work for you.
- Adult Health Library provides info on diseases and conditions. There is a separate section for Children.
- Drug Reference has a section to look up drug interactions, one to read details about particular drugs and a tool to help you identify a drug from the physical details like color, shape & imprint.
- Weight Control has some clear basic articles on weight loss.
- Nutrition has sections about good eating habits, and quite a bit more.
- Herbs, Vitamins & Supplements is a good resource to look into before you go too far with these products.
- Fitness has some great information but I’m going to look for more resources on this topic: it’s right near the top of my list for building better health.
Do I have the flu? [Click here] for a chart of symptoms, cautions, treatments and more.
More Health & Drug Information links: (click on the blue words to open any of these sites)
- HON, the Health On the Net Foundation, certifies only reliable websites offering health & medical content. they also provide a search tool that will limit you to sites that are thus certified: This is a great place to start a search! (Some day we’ll be certified with them too.)
- SafeMedication.com is a good site aimed at consumers who need easy to use tools on safe medication use. It is sponsored by the ASHP.
- Consumer Med Safety is a consumer project of the ISMP (Institute for Safe Medication Practices) that helps provide tools for understanding how to use medications safely and prevent errors. (HON certified) ISMP is a certified Patient Safety Organization and they do a lot to help us keep you safe.
- Mayo Clinic has some good tools for your questions about health. (HON certified)
- AHRQ, the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality, is offered by the government’s Dept of Health & Human Services and offers information for consumers.
- HealthyWomen.org looks to be a good website (HON certified) with easy to find content on health conditions & treatments, fitness, nutrition and all things of concern to women of any ages. If there are women out there who prefer a different site, I’d be interested to check it out.
- I invite any reader who has a favorite health-related website to send an email so I can have a look. If a resource works for you, it may help others if you share it.