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Archive for October, 2021

October is Healthy Lung Month. By Our Student Pharmacist, Fatima Shah.


Every October is Healthy Lung Month where healthcare organizations and communities strive together to increase awareness and education on lung health.

Our lungs play a huge role in regulating our body. They provide our body with oxygen which in turn sustains us for our daily needs and activities. Our body has a natural defense system which protects the lungs from germs, allergens, and pollutants. However, there are some ways to reduce the risk of lung complications or diseases in the future.

  1. Stop Smoking:

Cigarette smoking is a major cause of lung cancer and respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Smoking can limit daily activity and cause difficulty breathing. Smoking cigarettes can narrow the lung’s airway passages due to inflammation of the lungs. Cigarettes also contain carcinogens that can further lead to lung cancer.

There are a variety of smoking cessation products available that can help individuals quit smoking. Your doctor or pharmacist can guide you with appropriate prescription medications or over-the-counter products for smoking cessation.

  1. Avoid exposure to indoor and outdoor pollutants:

Minimizing exposure to secondhand smoke, chemicals, and allergens can help prevent lung diseases and stop the worsening of some lung conditions.

  1. Prevent Infections:

It is important to prevent respiratory illnesses and infections especially during the pandemic since this puts a strain on the lungs.

There are several things you can do to protect yourself:

  • Wash hands regularly with soap and water.
  • Avoid crowded areas especially during the flu season.
  • Get vaccinated every year against the flu. Talk to your healthcare provider if you need a pneumonia vaccine. Also, the covid-19 vaccine is an option to protect yourself from covid-19.
  1. Exercise:

Being physically active can help strengthen your lungs and keep them healthy. It is recommended to exercise at least 30 minutes a day for 5 days per week.

  1. Get Regular Health Screenings:

Regular check ups with your doctor can help prevent diseases. Getting your lungs and breathing checked with your healthcare provider is important even if you are feeling well.


Tips to keep your lungs healthy. Tips to Keep Your Lungs Healthy | American Lung Association. https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/wellness/protecting-your-lungs. Accessed October 25, 2021.



COVID Booster Vaccines. By Our Student Pharmacist, Fatima Shah.

On October 21, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that certain people are eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster shot, including those who received Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccines.

The Director, Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., endorsed the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation for a booster shot of COVID-19 vaccines in certain populations.

Here are the updates:

For individuals who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot at 6 months or more after their initial series:

  • 65 years and older
  • Age 18+ who live in long term care settings
  • Age 18+ who have underlying medical conditions:
    • Cancer
    • Chronic Kidney Disease
    • Chronic Liver Disease
    • Chronic Lung Diseases such as Asthma, COPD, etc.
    • Dementia or other neurological diseases
    • Diabetes (Type I and II)
    • Down Syndrome
    • Heart Conditions
    • HIV infection
    • Immunocompromised individuals
    • Mental Health Condition
    • Overweight and Obesity
    • Pregnancy
    • Sickle cell disease or thalassemia
    • Smoking, current or former
    • Solid organ or blood stem transplant
    • Stroke or cerebrovascular disease
    • Substance use disorder
    • Tuberculosis
  • Age 18+ who work or live in high risk settings:
    • First responders (e.g., healthcare workers, firefighters, police, congregate care staff)
    • Education staff (e.g., teachers, support staff, daycare workers)
    • Food and agriculture workers
    • Manufacturing workers
    • Corrections workers
    • U.S. Postal Service workers
    • Public transit workers
    • Grocery store workers

For Individuals who received J&J/Janssen vaccines, booster shots are also recommended for those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated two or more months ago.

Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. The CDC is now permitting mix and match dosing of boosters.

Here is the FDA’s recommendation on how to “mix and match” on booster doses:

A single booster dose of any of the available COVID-19 vaccines may be administered as a heterologous booster dose following completion of primary vaccination with a different available COVID-19 vaccine. The eligible population(s) and dosing interval for a heterologous booster dose are the same as those authorized for a booster dose of the vaccine used for primary vaccination.

We are still awaiting official recommendations/guidelines from the ACIP.

IF you are eligible and want to make your appointment for a booster vaccine (or check to see if you are eligible), go to:
Answer the questions there and make your appointment. Put in your zip code and you can find places that offer each of the types of vaccines.
We have Johnson and Johnson at Plain City (43064), Mechanicsburg (43044), and West Jefferson (43162).
Happy Druggist Karl Road has Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson and Johnson (put in zip code 43229 and they should come up first to choose).


Screenshot 2021-10-22 at 7.12.54 PM



Indian Lentil Soup. By Our Student Pharmacist, Fatima Shah.


Lentils are a good source of fiber, protein, folate, potassium, and polyphenols that contain antioxidant activity. They contain slow digesting resistant starch which slows down the absorption of carbohydrates which in turns helps control blood sugar levels.

Here is a classic family recipe of lentil soup which is also known as “Dhal”.

Red lentils are consumed in many regions of India and are used in a soup that is served with rice or bread.


  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Cayenne pepper to taste or spice preference
  • Salt to preference
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 5 plum tomatoes
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish
  • Sliced lemons with seeds removed.


  1. Rinse the lentils and drain, then combine the lentils with three (3) cups of water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to simmer for about 15 minutes until the lentils are soft. Make sure to stir regularly so the lentils are cooked uniformly.
  2. In a separate pan, heat olive oil and sauté the mustard and cumin seeds until lightly browned. Add the chopped onions, garlic, and ginger until golden. Add the spices and roast for about 30 seconds.
  3. Finally add the tomatoes and cover the pan until the tomatoes are softened and formed into a sauce.
  4. Transfer the tomato mixture to the pot with the lentils and simmer the lentils for about five minutes. Mix regularly for lentils to not stick on the bottom of the pot and the soup to cook uniformly.
  5. Serve soup in bowl and add cilantro for garnish. Serve with freshly cut lemons squeezed into the soup.



October 19 is National Pharmacy Technician Day. By Our Student Pharmacist, Joe Raney.


Beginning in 1991, pharmacies began to recognize the third Tuesday in October as National Pharmacy Technician Day.

The American Association of Pharmacy Technicians first suggested this day and since then other pharmacy organizations have spread the message, as well. The message that is being sent is that pharmacy technicians are an invaluable part of any pharmacy team whether that is in the community retail setting, a hospital, or other non-traditional pharmacy settings.

Pharmacy technicians are often not given the recognition they deserve. As any pharmacist who has lost a great pharmacy technician will tell you, their work can dramatically change the landscape of a pharmacy.

The responsibilities of a pharmacy technician are vast. A pharmacy technician must be willing to work fluidly between different responsibilities to keep the pharmacy running smoothly. In addition to the fluid work environment, a pharmacy technician must also work accurately. Processing and filling prescriptions prior to the pharmacist checking them must be done accurately and efficiently. Pharmacies can fill hundreds of prescriptions per day so any errors will slow down the process of getting patients their medications. Without pharmacy technicians, it would probably take several days to get your medicine instead of several minutes!

Pharmacy technicians work in many different settings outside of a traditional retail pharmacy. The second most common job for a pharmacy technician is in a hospital. The responsibilities of a hospital pharmacy technician are different than community pharmacy technicians, but there is still a requirement for accurate and efficient work.

In hospital pharmacy, the technicians must prepare medications using aseptic technique. This means pharmacy technicians must work carefully and intentionally to make sure there are no contaminants from the air that would enter the IV bags. Additionally, they must work as a team to produce medications in the pharmacy and make sure they are being delivered to the correct location in a timely manner.

Outside of a hospital, pharmacy technicians can work for insurance companies, drug wholesalers, compounding pharmacies, and government agencies. Their unique experiences in pharmacy make them valuable members of any team.

In conclusion, this day was started by pharmacy technicians to bring attention to all the hard work pharmacy technicians do to keep patients safe and satisfied. A pharmacy technician has to be flexible and fill many roles in the pharmacy. A pharmacy without technicians would not be able to function.

Pharmacy technicians fill so many more roles than the traditional retail pharmacy job. With that, be sure to let your pharmacy technicians know you appreciate the work they do on October 19.

National-Pharmacy-Technician-Day (1)


Pharmacogenomic Testing. By Our Student Pharmacist, Fatima Shah.

With the advancing of pharmacogenomic testing, it is currently possible to use the test to observe how patients respond to their psychiatric medications.

Every individual’s genes code for enzymes and receptors in their bodies. These enzymes are what help medications in the body metabolize and different medications bind to different receptors.

Most medications, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers, are metabolized in the liver and encounter one of the CYP450 enzymes.

Depending on the speed and strength of metabolism, medications may concentrate in plasma, causing more side effects than expected. Also, they may be cleared out very quickly, needing higher doses than usual compared to the standard doses.

Pharmacogenomics test kits are currently able to look at genes responsible for cytochrome P450 (CYP450) enzymes and at genes responsible for serotonin and dopamine receptors. These test results may be useful to healthcare professionals when choosing appropriate psychiatric medications for patients.

Gene Sight Psychotropic testing kit:  

Gene Sight Psychotropic Kit is used in patients that have been diagnosed with mental health conditions and failed at least one medication.

It is important to work with your doctor in analyzing the results and the results will inform the doctor on your genes that may affect your metabolism in response to certain medications.


How does it work?

1. At the doctor’s office a swab of the patient’s DNA is collected
2. The sample is sent to the lab for analysis.
3. The test comes back within two business days.
4. The doctor reviews results and manages your medications.

The website provides resources to make the test accessible and affordable for patients. It is important to keep in mind that not all insurances cover the test and the company does provide financial assistance programs and payment plans to help customers. This option may be beneficial cost wise if patients are failing multiple therapies , having multiple relapses, hospitalizations, and doctor visits.


Rakesh G, Sumner CR, Alexander JL, Gross LS, Pine J, Slaby A, Garakani A, Baron D. Pharmacogenomic Testing in Psychiatry: Ready for Primetime? J Nerv Ment Dis. 2020 Feb;208(2):127-130. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000001107. PMID: 31895226.
Genetic testing – personalized treatment. GeneSight. https://genesight.com/gene-test-mental-health  Accessed October 11, 2021.