Joe and I just got back from a pharmacy conference. One of the hot topics that we keep hearing about is drug induced nutrient depletion. Put simply, many of the drugs we take to combat certain diseases cause us to lose much needed vitamins and nutrients.
I’m going to try to talk a little bit about different medications and the supplements you should take with them over the next few weeks. But in this posting, I want to just concentrate on the effects caused by taking statin medications to lower cholesterol.
There are a number of statin medications that can lead to side effects caused by nutrient depletion. These side effects include:
- Muscle Pain
- Joint Pain
- Muscle Cramping
- Liver Damage
- Mental Confusion
- Memory Loss.
The cholesterol medications that can cause these problems are:
- Advicor (niacin extended-release/lovastatin)
- Altoprev (lovastatin extended-release)
- Atorvastatin Calcium
- Caduet (amlodopine and atorvastatin)
- Crestor (rosuvastatin)
- Lescol (fluvawstatin)
- Lipitor (atorvastatin)
- Livalo (pitavastatin)
- Mevacor (lovastatin)
- Pravachol (pravastatin)
- Simcor (niacin extended-relase/simvastatin)
- Vytorin (ezetimibe/simvastatin)
- Zocor (simvastatin)
There are also a few Beta Blocker medications for the heart which can also cause nutrient depletion similar to what is caused by statins. These are:
- Coreg CR
- Metoprolol XL
- Toprol XL
Taking these medication leads to reduced levels of Coenzyme Q10, HDL (good cholesterol), Omega 3, 6, and 9 (components in HDL), Vitamin D, Vitamins B6, B12, and Folic Acid.
To combat the nutrient depletion that these medications cause, a pharmacist, who is also an independent pharmacy owner in Brooklyn, developed a supplement called Statinzyme that contains nine essential vitamins and components. If you had to buy each one of these in a separate pill, you’d spend half your morning choking down supplements. But with Statinzyme, you take two capsules daily with food to alleviate the side effects from your prescribed medication.
We are recommending and selling Statinzyme in the pharmacy now. If you have any questions about it, please stop in and talk to Joe.
To find out more about Statinzyme, please go HERE.
We have a new fourth year pharmacy student with us for March. His name is Jeremy Church and we know you will make him feel very, very welcome (as you do all of our students!).
Here is what Jeremy has to say about himself:
Hello, everyone! My name is Jeremy Church and I am a fourth year pharmacy student at The Ohio State University. I am excited to be here at Plain City Druggist for the month of March.
I was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. I went to a small liberal arts college on the east side of Columbus called Ohio Dominican University where I earned my bachelor’s degree in chemistry. During my undergraduate career, I knew I enjoyed chemistry and math, but I didn’t really know how that was going to translate to the real world. In my junior year of college, I discovered pharmacy as a career by taking a career survey from my guidance counselor. Shortly after the survey, I began working in the community pharmacy setting and have loved pharmacy ever since.
I have a few reasons why I picked this site as a rotation during my final year.
First of all, when Joe came to OSU to discuss his store, Plain City Druggist sounded like a great opportunity to learn how an independent pharmacy operates. I have an interest in having my own independent pharmacy later in my career.
Secondly, my father is from Plain City, Ohio, so I have been in town a few times to visit a few of the places he enjoyed growing up. I thought it would be nice to work in the community where he was raised.
When I am not doing anything pharmacy related, such as rotations or work, I am usually trying to stay active. I enjoy going to the gym a few times a week and playing volleyball and basketball at least once a week. I started playing volleyball about 3 years ago and since then have pretty much been playing year-round (indoor and outdoor).
Well, I hope this gives you an idea of who I am. I am excited to meet all of you and help in any way I can!
Have you ever experienced a panic attack?
People who have had a panic attack describe it as the scariest experience of all time. During a panic attack, these people believe they are going to die within the next few minutes. They think something serious is happening, such as a heart attack. These grave thoughts about dying are due to both the physical and psychological symptoms of the attacks.
What can you do if you have a panic attack?
To combat a panic attack, try to breathe out slowly as this will stop hyperventilation. Most people breathe fast during a panic attack and take in too much oxygen. The hyperventilation then leads to a blood acidity imbalance and makes a person feel lightheaded and as if they are going to faint.
Knowing that you will get through a panic attack and be okay afterwards will help you calm down. Having a panic attack cannot physically hurt you; it can only make you very fearful.
Panic attacks lead to a panic disorder when you have multiple panic attacks or are constantly worrying about having them for more than a month.
The most effective way to treat panic disorder is through a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and medications.
Usually, the first choice of medications for panic disorder are in a drug class called “selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors” or SSRIs. SSRIs cause an increase of serotonin in the brain which helps to relieve anxiety. These drugs include fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), and sertraline (Zoloft).
Quick acting benzodiazepines, anti-anxiety medications that are also used as sleep aids, can also be used at the time of a panic attack to help stop the symptoms. Alprazolam (Xanax) and lorazepam (Ativan) are examples of benzodiazepine drugs that are typically used for short term therapy.
If you have a panic disorder and want to do something about it besides behavioral therapy and medications, regular exercise has been found to help. A recent study showed that aerobic exercise may prevent the frequency of panic attacks.
You also need to continuously educate yourself about panic attacks and broaden your knowledge. Through constant education, you will learn facts that will allow you to distinguish between a heart attack and a panic attack.
Finally, give yourself plenty of time to recover from the panic attack after it happens. Panic disorders do not go away in a couple of days, so don’t be discouraged if you have another attack.
Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas. This inflammation is a rare, but serious disease that can either be a short or long term problem.
The pancreas is a small organ associated with digestion and regulatory hormones. The hormone side is responsible for releasing insulin and glucagon, which help your body regulate the amount of sugar in the blood. The digestive side releases enzymes to help the body break down the fats, carbohydrates, and proteins you eat throughout the day.
What causes pancreatitis?
Pancreatitis happens when your body doesn’t release the digestive enzymes correctly, causing them to remain in the pancreas. This can result in the pancreas breaking itself down from the inside. There are two major causes of pancreatitis: gallstones and alcohol.
To remember the causes of acute pancreatitis, use the mnemonic: I GET SMASHED. Each letter stands for a cause of acute pancreatitis. To read what each letter means, go HERE. Also take a look at the chart at the bottom of this posting.
Gallstones are the #1 cause of acute (short term) pancreatitis. Gallstones can get lodged in the duct system that transports the enzymes and fluids from the pancreas to the intestines.
Alcohol is the #1 cause of chronic (long term) pancreatitis. Chronic pancreatitis is a slow developing disease that can be caused over years of excess alcohol use. Alcohol is also the #2 cause of acute pancreatits.
What are the symptoms of pancreatitis?
The most common symptoms of pancreatitis are severe pain in the stomach or abdomen.
For acute pancreatitis, the pain is often a sharp pain that comes on quickly. Other symptoms include nausea and vomiting.
For chronic pancreatitis, symptoms are also abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. These symptoms can be worse after eating. More advanced chronic pancreatitis can also cause weight loss and poor nutrition, since your body cannot break down and absorb the nutrients from the food you eat.
Treatment for both acute and chronic pancreatitis requires medical attention. Patients will need IV fluids and nutritional support. Most patients also receive pain medication to help with the abdominal pain. Antibiotics are rarely used and only if there is an infection around the tissue of the pancreas.
Treatment can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on how severe the pancreatitis is. An important part of treating pancreatitis is finding out the cause and working to prevent a reoccurrence. If the cause is due to gallstones, a procedure to remove the gallstones or the gallbladder may be required. If the cause is due to alcohol, counseling and abstinence is required. Similarly with the other causes, other solutions may be available to prevent pancreatitis from happening again.
As a follow-up to Ericka’s blog posting, here is a bit more information on Heart Month.
The month of February this year is the 50th anniversary of American Heart Month. The tradition began 50 years ago by President Lyndon Baines Johnson. February was designated as heart month to make people aware that heart disease is the nation’s number one killer. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), heart disease takes more lives than all types of cancer put together. And, according to President Obama, “Cardiovascular disease is responsible for one out of every four deaths in the United States.”
To make the impact of heart disease easier to understand, among the estimated 83.6 million American adults, one person has a coronary event about every 34 seconds and one American will die from heart disease approximately every 83 seconds.
However, don’t be discouraged, because you can follow the AHA’s “Life’s Simple 7” to keep your heart healthy.
Here are the American Heart Association’s “Life’s Simple 7.”
1. Get Active
Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day five times a week. Exercise can be as simple as walking and this will be a good start. Those who exercise regularly have better moods, less stress, and more energy. If you exercise at least 150 minutes a week, then your risk for heart disease goes down.
2. Control Cholesterol
What do the numbers mean when you measure your cholesterol level at your doctor’s office? There are two types of cholesterol. The good cholesterol is HDL and the bad cholesterol is LDL. If there is too much bad cholesterol (LDL), then it can lead to blockages in veins and arteries. The total cholesterol consists of HDL, LDL, and other lipid components. It would be desirable to have the total cholesterol level below 200.
If the total cholesterol is 200mg/dL or higher, then set a goal to lower your total cholesterol by avoiding foods that contain high levels of cholesterol, trans, and saturated fats.
In order to control your cholesterol, schedule an appointment to find out what your current level is. If your doctor has prescribed a cholesterol medication for you, it’s important to take the medication for your benefit.
3. Eat Better
This means consuming foods HIGH in fiber, lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. Try to eat fish at least twice a week, because recent research shows fish may help lower your risk of death from coronary artery disease. Don’t like fish? Try a fish oil supplement. We can help you choose one here in the pharmacy. Or ask your doctor.
People find it difficult to change their diets. Start one step at a time and you will increase your chance for feeling good and healthy.
4. Manage blood pressure
Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80. When blood pressure is in the normal range, it keeps you healthier longer, because there is less strain on your heart, arteries, and kidneys. Don’t forget to take your blood pressure medication if your doctor has prescribed one.
5. Lose Weight
Obesity is a major independent risk factor for heart disease. If too much fat accumulates at one’s waist, then a person has a higher risk for multiple health problems. Losing as few as 5 ~ 10 pounds can make a difference in lowering blood pressure.
6. Reduce Blood Sugar
If you have diabetes, check your blood sugar levels regularly as your doctor has recommended. High levels of uncontrolled blood sugar can damage your heart, kidneys, and nerves.
7. Stop Smoking
Cigarettes will shorten your life. Smoking increases a risk for coronary heart disease and damages your entire circulatory system. If you need help to quit smoking, stop by the pharmacy and talk to a pharmacist. In the meanwhile, you can visit the website www.smokefree.gov.