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Archive for June, 2021

Advancement of Pharmacy Practice: Point-of-Care Testing. By Our Student Pharmacist, Aaron Reed.

What can your Pharmacist do for you? More and more each day!

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacies have played an integral role in providing front-line care to patients when many primary care providers closed their offices during quarantine. With the development of COVID-19 vaccination and testing programs, pharmacies showed how important their services were to the healthcare industry, offering an alternative, highly accessible destination for care.

As healthcare continues to evolve, pharmacists have gained tremendous traction towards their evolution into healthcare providers. In addition to dispensing and managing medications, pharmacists have the knowledge and skills to provide many preventative and diagnostic healthcare services similar to COVID testing with the help of point-of-care testing (POCT).

Point-of-care testing empowers healthcare providers to use effective, fast technology to aid their decision-making to improve patient health. With tests that offer near immediate results outside of laboratories, pharmacies are increasingly offering this public health service to promote prevention, early detection, and disease management.

There are a number of tests that can be performed by pharmacies under the collaboration with physicians. These physicians develop an agreement, called a collaborative practice agreement, with pharmacists, giving pharmacists the authority to provide these additional patient care services like point-of-care testing.

Additional opportunities for POCT, outside of COVID-19, include:

  • HIV/Hepatitis B
  • Influenza A + B
  • Strep throat
  • Diabetic A1c
  • Cholesterol monitoring

Pharmacists can provide rapid responses following these tests by offering prescription treatments, such as antivirals for influenza, or referring patients to their primary care physicians for further chronic disease care.

Ultimately, the role of the pharmacist in patient care has broadened during the pandemic, and the community pharmacy has become a destination for patients with a variety of needs.

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How does this benefit you?

Developing these services increases your access to better care. Nowadays, community pharmacies greatly outnumber primary care physician clinics, giving patients options for care when access to physicians is not available especially in the rural or remote areas. Pharmacies are well-positioned to provide POCT to enhance disease state understanding and management.

There are many other ways in which these programs can benefit you including:

  • Rapid test results in minutes instead of hours
  • Reduced number of physician visits
  • Lower healthcare costs
  • Optimized drug treatment
  • Improved quality of life

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Everyday new tests and technologies become available to aid in the advancement of healthcare for all.

One new and emerging topic in pharmacy that can expand the role of point-of-care testing and individualized medicine is pharmacogenomics. Pharmacogenomics encompasses the study of how our body’s genes affect the ways in which drugs work and our response to them. Although these tests are not used extensively, pharmacists have the expertise in this area to help physicians develop an individualized medication regimen that will be most effective based on the results. How cool!

Your Ohio Apothecary Pharmacies are in the process of implementing these services in the near future! Stay tuned for further updates.

The Basics on Insulin Administration. By Our Student Pharmacist, RJ Rosia.

Insulin injections can be confusing and dangerous if you are unsure on how to properly give the injection. Insulin is a very effective medicine to lower blood sugar for people with diabetes. Because it works so well, however, there are some risks with using insulin.

Having too much insulin can lower your sugar levels below the desired amount and can cause you to not feel like yourself.

Symptoms of low blood sugar are:

  • dizziness
  • shakiness
  • mood swings
  • increased hunger

Because of these symptoms, it is important that everyone knows how to use their insulin correctly to help limit these symptoms from happening.

Injection technique:

It is important to inject insulin under the skin and to not inject directly into the muscle. Pinching the skin can help with making sure the needle does not reach all the way to the muscle.

The best areas to inject are:

  • the abdomen area around the belly button
  • the thighs
  • the back of the upper arms

Make sure to rotate injection sites so the area doesn’t become too sore from multiple injections.


You can inject directly at a 90-degree angle as long as the needle length is short enough. Some needles are very short and don’t require pinching of the skin.

A new needle or syringe should be used with every injection. Reusing the same needle can cause the injection to hurt more. The needle is also no longer sterile after being used once.

Having a sharps container at home is also a great way to prevent needles from poking people. These containers can be bought at most drug stores. Another option for a homemade sharps container is to use an old milk jug or laundry detergent bottle to discard the used needles.

Once the sharps container becomes full, it can be sealed with tape and labeled SHARPS and can be placed in the normal garbage in Franklin county.

Steps to inject using vials:

  • Wash hands before starting.

  • Roll bottle if necessary (cloudy insulin).

  • Use an alcohol swab to clean the top of the vial every time it is used.

  • Using the syringe plunger, pull back the desired number of units before the needle is put into the top of the vial.

  • Place the needle into the vial. Go straight into the vial, not at an angle.

  • Push the plunger down to inject the air from the syringe, then pull back the desired amount of insulin.

  • Once the syringe is at the correct amount, remove from the vial. Make sure to remove air bubbles. Usually a tap at the end of the syringe can help remove any bubbles.

  • Use an alcohol swab on the site you are injecting. Pinch the skin and inject the insulin.

  • Once all of the insulin is injected, remove the needle and dispose of it in a sharps container.

Steps to inject using pens:

  • Wash hands before starting.

  • Remove cap from insulin pen and wipe the stopper at the end with an alcohol swab.

  • Take out a new pen needle and attach it to the end while screwing the needle into place.

  • Remove the outer shell around the needle.

  • Prime the insulin pen accordingly to make sure insulin is coming out of the needle.

  • Dial the insulin dose desired and wipe the area you plan to inject with an alcohol swab.

  • Inject the insulin under the skin and hold for about 10 seconds to make sure the full dose has been given.

  • Once the injection is complete, place the cap back on the needle and remove. Then place into a sharps container.

Types of insulin:

There are many different types of insulin available and each one works slightly differently depending on when the insulin releases in your body. It is important to take the correct insulin dose at the correct times or there is a chance that your blood sugar could go too low.

Rapid acting insulin works very quickly, within 15 minutes, and lasts for about three hours. This type of insulin is taken before a meal. This insulin is also called “bolus insulin”.

 Products available are:

  • Humalog, Admelog (insulin lispro)

  • Novolog, Fiasp (insulin aspart)

  • Apidra (insulin glulisine)

Long-acting insulin provides insulin coverage for 24 hours and can be given one or two times a day. This insulin starts to take effect in about two hours and maintains a steady supply of insulin throughout the day. This insulin is also called “basal insulin”.

Products available are:

  • Lantus, Basaglar (insulin glargine)

  • Levemir (insulin detemir)

  • Tresiba (insulin degludec)

Short-acting insulin works similarly to rapid-acting, although it lasts for a little longer in the body. This insulin starts to take effect 30 minutes after injecting and can last up to six hours, but the peak of effect is about 2-3 hours after injection.

Products available are:

  • Humulin R (insulin regular)

  • Novolin R (insulin regular)

Intermediate-acting insulin works like long-acting, but does not last the whole day. Two doses are usually needed throughout the day. This insulin lasts for about 10-16 hours.

Products available are:

  • Humulin N (insulin NPH)

  • Novolin N (insulin NPH)

Pre-mixed insulin has a combination of two different types within one vial or pen. Pre-mixed insulin contains fast-acting as well as intermediate-acting in a fixed ratio. A patient usually take two doses a day, before breakfast and dinner.

Products available are:

  • Novolog Mix 70/30

  • Novolin Mix 70/30

  • Humalog Mix 75/25 and 50/50

  • Humulin Mix 70/30 and 50/50


Insulin pens and vials should remain in the fridge until they are ready to be used. Once a vial or pen is in use, it is okay to leave it out of the fridge, but it must be used within 28 days or it will expire and not be safe to use (Levemir lasts up to 42 days once it has been punctured).

Do not leave pens or vials in areas where they can get hot, such as your car or outside in warm weather. Do not freeze them.

When to use each one?

Fast acting insulin should be taken before food following the directions from your prescriber.

Long-acting insulin can be taken either in the morning or at bedtime.

The premixed insulins should be taken before breakfast AND before dinner to get complete coverage throughout the day.

If you have any more questions or concerns about insulin, you can always stop by your local pharmacy and a pharmacist or intern can help you with the best way to administer the insulin.

There are also other medications that help lower your blood sugar. Talking to your doctor about the different options available is the first step to controlling diabetes.








June is Recognized as National PTSD Awareness Month with June 27 being Recognized by the Senate as National PTSD Awareness Day. By Our Student Pharmacist, Aaron Reed.

PTSD 2 -Awareness-Month

PTSD Basics

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder that can be developed after experiencing or witnessing life-threatening, extremely fearful, or emotional events, like combat, a natural disaster, sexual assault, or physical/medical illness.

Over the past year with the outbreak of COVID-19, individuals throughout the world have experienced extremely life-changing events, many of which could have a long-lasting impact. Normally individuals who experience similar events can have upsetting memories, experience anxiety, or have trouble getting back to their normal lives. Typically, these symptoms subside after a few weeks or months; however, in some occasions, these symptoms can last longer and may possibly develop into a post-traumatic stress disorder.

Anyone can develop PTSD at any age, from any situation or at any time, with some events lasting for years and symptoms that may come and go. Thankfully, as the awareness for PTSD continues to rise, the access to and development of treatments has exponentially increased allowing the individuals suffering to find relief. 

History of PTSD

PTSD in some form or another has long been documented in history. The earliest known record of the disorder dates all the way back to 50 BC where Hippocrates, the great physician considered to be one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine, described a soldier who had experienced PTSD-like combat flashbacks from a traumatic battle event. Since then, PTSD has been consistently mentioned, notably during many American Wars, The Great Depression, and even the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1919.

As history went on and more research began to be conducted into the causes of PTSD, the development of treatments coincided with the increases in research.

Today, post-traumatic stress disorder is considered highly treatable with the use of two main types of treatment: psychotherapy (also referred to as counseling or talk therapy) and medication. Sometimes combining psychotherapy and medication can be useful in some patients.

Signs and Symptoms of PTSD

PTSD is a very complicated mental condition and many times it can be challenging to officially diagnose, as patients can have a very hard time discussing past traumas. With that being said, it is prevalent in approximately 4% of the population affecting almost 8 million individuals nationwide. Being able to recognize the signs and symptoms of PTSD, whether in yourself or others, can minimize time to diagnosis and increase early access to treatment. Symptoms of PTSD can come and go, returning when people are under stress or see or hear something that reminds them of the trauma.

These signs and symptoms include:

  • Reliving the trauma through thoughts and feelings ( i.e upsetting memories, nightmares, or flashbacks – “seeing” or feeling the trauma over and over again).
  • Avoiding certain people, places, or activities to reduce triggering a remembrance event.
  • Becoming “numb” to the world around them. They might not enjoy activities they used to enjoy or feel part of the world around them.
  • Having intense feelings, such as anger, fear, or worry. They might frighten or startle more easily. Many people have trouble sleeping.

Unfortunately, these symptoms affect the everyday lives of these individuals leading to negative effects on their mental, social, emotional, and professional well-being. If you believe that you or someone close to you suffers from signs or symptoms like these, encourage the pursuit of treatment to begin the road to recovery.


Raise PTSD Awareness

We hope that you learned a little about the signs and symptoms of PTSD, and examples of what it can look like. Educating yourself on the resources and treatments that can be offered to someone struggling can help them find the treatment they need to recover.

After you are familiar with the illness, try going to the National Center for PTSD’s website and take the pledge to raise PTSD awareness.






June 14 is World Blood Donor Day! By Our Student Pharmacist, RJ Rosia.

June 14 is World Blood Donor Day!

This year’s slogan is: “Give blood and keep the world beating.”

Did you know the World Health Organization (WHO) dedicates June 14 as the World Blood Donor Day? This day is dedicated to increasing awareness of the need for blood throughout the world and to make sure it is obtained properly and safely from individuals.

Blood transfusions are needed to save lives and are needed in every country. Everyone who can donate blood should do so to help those who are in need. You could save someone’s life!

The specific objectives of this year’s campaign are to:

  • Thank blood donors in the world and create wider public awareness of the need for regular, unpaid blood donation.

  • Promote the community values of blood donation in enhancing community solidarity and social cohesion.

  • Encourage youth to embrace the humanitarian call to donate blood and inspire others to do the same.

  • Celebrate the potential of youth as partners in promoting health.

Do you know the different blood types?

There are four primary blood types that exist. The types are:

  • O
  • A
  • B
  • AB

Blood type is passed down from your parents and is determined by genetics.

Blood type determines what antigens are present on your red blood cells. If someone is Type A, they have the A-antigen present. This person would also produce antibodies for the B-antigen. These antibodies would “attack” any red blood cells that present with this antigen, which is why it is super important that a person receiving blood is matched with the correct blood type.

There is also another factor that determines blood type, called the Rh factor. The Rh factor determines why some people are denoted as either + or – after their blood type. Rh factor is similar to blood types and if someone is positive, that means they have the Rh antigen present on their cells.

Universal donors are O negative. Universal acceptors are AB positive.

Blood type is almost evenly spread across all races around the world. AB- blood type is the rarest blood type and it is especially important for people who are AB- to donate blood when they can!


Donating blood is a simple process.

In the US, there are certain guidelines on who can donate blood and when:

  • Must be at least 17 years old (16 with parental consent)

  • Must weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health

  • Must wait at least eight weeks from last donation

Certain disease states and criteria can exclude people from donating blood, such as:

  • Fever

  • Taking blood thinner (other than Aspirin)


  • Men who have sex with men (must be three months at least since last intercourse)

  • Certain medications

Even if you can’t donate blood but still want to help out, there are many ways people can, such as volunteering at a donation drive.

Go to https://www.redcrossblood.org/ for more information and where you can sign up!








Seasonal Allergies. By Our Student Pharmacist, Aaron Reed.

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Seasonal Allergy Basics

As the end of spring approaches and the summer heat begins to rise in Ohio, plants, trees, and flowers reach full bloom. This increase in plant growth also means drastic increases in the production of pollen. If you are one of the millions of individuals who suffer yearly from seasonal allergies, you have been suffering from what seems to be never ending sneezing, congestion, itchy and watery eyes, and many other bothersome symptoms.

Allergic rhinitis, or what is more commonly referred to as seasonal allergies or hay fever, can turn any day into a miserable one. Before deciding to stay inside for the rest of the summer, try these simple strategies to get your symptoms under control and get you back out the door doing the things you love to do!

Reducing Exposure

One of the best ways to overcome seasonal allergies is to reduce the amount of exposure to things that may trigger your allergy symptoms, also called allergens. Allergy symptoms can flare up when there is a lot of pollen in the air, with the most prevalent time being in the early morning. Avoiding outdoor activities in the early morning can help reduce your exposure to pollen. Local TV, radio, and weather stations forecast the predicted levels of pollen on a daily basis. Checking these levels should always be your first step before heading outdoors.

Other ways to reduce your pollen exposure are to stay indoors on dry, windy days, close doors and windows when pollen counts are high and use air conditioning when possible in your car and home.

If using central air conditioning in your home, make sure that high-efficiency filters are routinely changed to keep the indoor air clean.

Lastly, delegate outdoor tasks such as lawn mowing, weed pulling, and gardening which can severely stir up pollen around you. Thankfully as summer rolls around, so does the increase in summer storms which help to clear pollen from the air giving some symptoms relief after a good rain.

Allergies 2Best Over-the-counter (OTC) Remedies

If allergen avoidance isn’t efficient or not a viable option in your daily routine, there are several types of over-the-counter medications that are available to help ease your seasonal allergy symptoms. Any pharmacist possesses the expertise about these over-the-counter options and can help you find the medication best suited to relieve your symptoms.

Below are the best options to relieve even your worst allergy symptoms:

  • Nasal Corticosteroids – Nasal sprays such as Flonase, Nasacort, or Rhinocort are first-line treatment options to help reduce symptoms of seasonal allergies by reducing the body’s inflammatory response to allergens.
  • Oral antihistamines – the most common treatment for seasonal allergies. Medications such as Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra help to relieve the itching, sneezing, and runny nose symptoms. If one of these medications doesn’t work the best for you, try another. These medications are interchangeable and sometimes have different responses in different people.
  • Eye allergy relief – if you experience itchy, watery eyes in addition to your other allergy symptoms, OTC eye drops such as Zatidor or Pataday eye allergy relief are great options to reduce irritation.
  • Decongestants – These medications work to relieve the nasal pressure and congestion that can cause headaches or discomfort in addition to other allergy symptoms. They are commonly called Pseudoephed products. WARNING! Oral decongestants elevate blood pressure and are not appropriate for people with high blood pressure or certain heart conditions.
  • Combination medications – Oftentimes, medications are combined to include oral antihistamines and decongestants in one convenient dose. Products like Claritin-D, Allegra-D or Aleve-D cold and sinus offer these combination products. These are great pharmacist directed options available through the pharmacy to combat many allergy symptoms at once!
  • Non-medicated nasal irrigation – options such as Neti-Pot or other saline irrigation symptoms are great non-medication options to help rinse the sinuses of accumulated pollen and other allergens.

When OTC products are just not enough!

If you still seem to be suffering from seasonal allergies following allergen avoidance or pharmacist directed therapy, don’t give up! It may be time to visit your primary care doctor. If your allergies are bad enough, your physician is able to run skin or blood allergy tests to find out the exact cause of what is producing your symptoms. Identifying this specific allergen can help you develop a plan to avoid it.

For some people, however, even allergy testing and avoidance are not enough. If you think you are one of those people, referral to an allergy specialist can provide access to allergy immunotherapy (allergy shots) that help to reduce your body’s response to your specific trigger over time.

Always remember, relief is just a Happy Druggist away!