August is National Drug Drop-Off Month: Tips for Cleaning Out Your Medicine Cabinet

Many prescription drugs that have a high potential for misuse come from the medicine cabinets of friends and families

If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned out your medicine cabinet, now is the time to dig out those old pill bottles. In support of the second annual National Drug Drop-Off Month, this August London Drugs is joining Drug Free Kids Canada to encourage all Canadians to secure their prescriptions and return all unused or expired medications to pharmacies.

As communities throughout the province grapple with the devastating effects of the opioid crisis, this month-long campaign highlights the problematic use of prescription drugs by teens and emphasizes the need for safe disposal to reduce the instances of abuse, overdoses as well as accidental poisonings.

While our pharmacy accepts unused medication for safe disposal every day, National Drug Drop-Off Month reminds us that everyone has a role to play in reducing the potential harms of prescription drugs on our communities.

Cleaning out your medicine cabinet and safely disposing of unused and expired medications at the pharmacy is a simple way we can all help reduce the potential harms of prescription drugs. Many prescription medications, over-the-counter products and health supplements remain in medicine cabinets and kitchen drawers long after their expiry date, while others are simply unused. Properly disposing of these drugs as well as medical sharps is important not only for the safety of loved ones but also for the environment.

 Follow these helpful tips for cleaning out your medicine cabinet

 

Many prescription drugs that have a high potential for misuse come from the medicine cabinets of friends and families. Whether intentional or accidental, ingestion of these prescription drugs is a very real risk to the health of our communities. Once you’ve collected your unused and expired medications, find your closest London Drugs location to drop off them off for safe disposal.

  1. Check expiration dates and remove products that are expired.
    Pharmacists recommend cleaning out your medicine cabinet annually since virtually every medication – from vitamins, to prescription medications, to over-the-counter products – have expiry dates. Keep in mind that some products can expire before the date on the label once opened. When in doubt, ask a pharmacist.
  2. Remove any medication not in its original container.
    If you can’t remember what a medication is for or who it was for, get rid of it. As much as possible, keep your medication in its original packaging. Mixing different medications in the same container or storing them outside of their original packaging increases the likelihood of accidental overdose or poisonings.
  3. Place unwanted and expired drugs in a clear plastic bag.
    Medications in blister packs and forms of liquid and cream medications can also be included in the plastic bag.
  4. Drop off your unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications at any London Drugs.
    These medications will be safely incinerated, preventing them from being abused, entering landfills or the sewer system. London Drugs also recycles medication bottles, lids and medication vials. Please be sure to remove personal information by taking off the label.
  5. You can bring your medications to the pharmacy year round.
    Unwanted and expired drugs are accepted every day at any London Drugs location. Instead of flushing pills or throwing medical sharps in the garbage, bring them to the pharmacy for safe disposal. Approved sharps containers can also be purchased to dispose of medical sharps.

Many prescription drugs that have a high potential for misuse come from the medicine cabinets of friends and families. Whether intentional or accidental, ingestion of these prescription drugs is a very real risk to the health of our communities. Once you’ve collected your unused and expired medications, find your closest London Drugs location to drop off them off for safe disposal.

 

Sun Safety Tips to Know Before You Head Outside this Summer

Now that summer is officially here, you may be tempted to hit the pool, beach or a patio to soak up some of that summer sun. Before you do though, it’s important to make sure you’re protected from the sun’s harmful rays. In the video below, Patient Care Pharmacist Mike Athanassakis shares some helpful tips for sun safety and care, including why tanning really isn’t good for you, and how much sunscreen you should be applying.

Sun Safety Tips to Follow

Everyone needs to be proactive about protecting themselves from sun damage, by wearing sun-shielding clothing and sunglasses in addition to being cautious about the length of time spent in the sun, with frequent reapplications of sunscreen.

If your sunscreen is a cream, lotion, or gel, use at least 2 tablespoons of product. Regardless of what type you use, even a stick or a spray, make sure you apply sunscreen evenly to all areas of exposed skin. And apply a lip balm with sunscreen on your lips, too. Sunscreen naturally rubs off through perspiration and activity, so reapply at least every 3 to 4 hours, and after 40 minutes if you’ve been in the water.

In addition, try to stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm. The UV index in Canada can be 3 or higher during those times – the higher the index, the higher the risk of sun damage.

While applying sunscreen and staying out of the sun during peak times is a good start, there are several factors that still may be keeping you from adequately protecting yourself from severe sunburns or rashes, including sun-sensitizing medications, and inferior sunscreen products.

Misleading High SPF Values

SPF 50 Sunscreen

It’s not enough to simply be applying sunscreen. You should consider the efficacy of the sunscreen products you choose.

Two-thirds of sunscreen products offer inferior protection or contain worrisome ingredients, according to researchers at the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Their research found that claims of high SPF values are on the rise and can mislead people into thinking they are entirely protected from sunburns and long-term skin damage.

Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. However, don’t let a very high SPF value fool you – the SPF value on product labels only indicates the level of UVB protection, so it’s critical that you also look for the label ‘broad spectrum’. That will ensure you are protected from both harmful UVA and UVB rays. And look for the label ‘water resistant’.

Sunscreens with broad spectrum protection help prevent sunburns which can result from ultraviolet B rays, as well as shield the skin from possible melanoma and skin ageing which can result from ultraviolet A rays.

Sun-Sensitizing Medications

There are other factors to consider as well, like prescription medications, which can put you at high risk of sunburns or rashes while you’re out enjoying the sun.

Commonly-used prescription medications – including antibiotics such as tetracycline and ciprofloxacin, sulfa-containing drugs in some diabetes and heart medications, and acne treatments such as Accutane and Retin-A –can make the skin more vulnerable to sunlight, increasing the risk of sunburn, and in some cases, make the skin photosensitive. This photosensitivity can cause photoallergic or phototoxic reactions to the sun’s UV rays, in the form of painful and itchy rashes, or even blisters and sunburns.

Check with your pharmacist to find out if any of your medications could make your skin more prone to damage with increased exposure to the sun. If your pharmacist determines your medications are sun-sensitizing, they can provide advice to reduce your likelihood of a reaction.

Discover London Drugs’ wide range of suncare products online, or visit your local London Drugs to talk to a pharmacist about how to best protect yourself from the sun this summer.

Hepatitis C screening urged for all Canadians born between 1945 and 1975

London Drugs now offers accessible hepatitis C screening at locations in BC and Alberta

London Drugs Pharmacist. Get tested. Get Treated. Get Cured. Hepatitis C Screening Clinics.

Nine in ten people living with viral hepatitis are unaware that they have the life-threatening infection because it can take decades before symptoms become evident. New testing guidelines recommend that all Canadians born between 1945 and 1975 get screened. There is an elevated risk among that age group due to inferior infection prevention and control practices, and blood products that went unscreened prior to 1992.

Anyone can now be screened for hepatitis C with the simple finger prick test at London Drugs locations throughout BC and Alberta.  The test, called the OraQuick HCV rapid antibody test, is more than 99% accurate at detecting HCV antibodies and provides results in 20 minutes. The cost of the test is $24.

In the case of a positive antibody result, pharmacists will notify the patient’s family physician so that a confirmatory blood test can be ordered.  In the case of a positive result, the patient is referred to a specialist for further evaluation and treatment.  Pharmacists provide education about the curative therapies available and support patients throughout their journey from treatment to cure. The treatment is relatively simple; it involves taking antiviral medications daily for eight to 12 weeks. Current therapies can cure over 95% of people with hepatitis C.

In an effort to improve access to testing and treatment for the potentially liver-destroying virus, and reduce the stigma associated with the blood-borne illness, London Drugs is hosting hepatitis C screening events at London Drugs locations leading up to World Hepatitis Day on July 28th, 2019. Hepatitis C Educators will be at stores to help increase awareness about the need for screening. These specially trained pharmacists will be offering expert advice and encouraging testing, particularly among higher-risk populations. A complete list of event times and locations can be found here.

New Tech & Tips to Relieve Menstrual Cramps

No more pain. Period.

Menstrual Pain


Menstrual pain, also known as dysmenorrhea, can range from slight discomfort to complete agony. While many women have experienced the latter, the pains are often dismissed or suffered through in silence, without recognition of just how debilitating the pain can be. That began to change, however, when Professor of reproductive health at University College London, John Guillebaud, was quoted in Quartz saying that the level of pain many women experience during their period each month can be almost as painful as a heart attack.

The story has prompted a larger discussion about period pain and the extent to which some women suffer.

London Drugs Patient Care Pharmacist, Lily Liang isn’t surprised. She says she sees many patients coming into the pharmacy, looking for relief from extremely painful menstrual cramps.

“For many women, the severity of the abdominal pain caused by menstruation makes it difficult for them to perform regular tasks, at home or at work. If this is the case for you, it’s worth speaking with a health professional to see if there are ways to manage the pain.”

Liang says that pain may also be accompanied by nausea, headache, diarrhea or constipation, or other symptoms. Premenstrual symptoms may include irritability, abdominal bloating and fatigue, and can persist throughout the menstrual period.

What Causes ‘Period Cramps’

There are two types of menstrual pain – primary and secondary. Most women experience primary menstrual pain which may start with the first period and continue throughout their life. Primary menstrual pain has no underlying condition. Secondary period pain is caused by an underlying condition in the uterus, such as endometriosis, fibroids or pelvic inflammatory disease.

“It’s best to speak with your doctor first to find out which kind of menstrual pain – primary or secondary – you’re suffering from,” says Liang.

Hormone-like substances, called prostaglandins, are what trigger the uterus to contract. Higher levels of prostaglandins can cause that intense period cramping and pain that many women experience. Usually, period pain decreases with age, however there are many factors that can exacerbate it, like intrauterine birth control devices and tampons. Lifestyle choices such as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption can also make period pain worse.

Over-the-Counter Pain Management

Some symptoms can be relieved by taking vitamins and supplements. Calcium and magnesium may reduce cramping and fluid retention, while Vitamin E may reduce the breast tenderness some women experience during their period.

There are also over-the-counter medications easily accessible in the pharmacy for women who experience pain during their periods.

“If you’re suffering from mild pain, an over-the-counter medication with acetaminophen should be sufficient. For more moderate menstrual pain, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen may be recommended,” explains Liang.

Your pharmacist can counsel you on possible side effects of OTC medications, as well as advise on non-drug treatment options. For example, medications like ibuprofen should be taken with food, and may not be recommended for patients with kidney disease, gastric ulcers or bleeding disorders.

“Getting enough sleep and regular exercise will help with menstrual pains. Good nutrition can also help. Limit your caffeine and sodium intake, as caffeine can interfere with sleep, and salty foods can result in bloating.”

Wearable Tech that Manages Pain

 

Woman wearing Livia

 

Beyond medications, there are also new, technology-based solutions that promise to help effectively alleviate menstrual pain. Livia, which has just launched at London Drugs, is a new wearable tech device that stimulates the nerves to offer drug-free relief from menstrual cramps. Cosmopolitan Magazine, has even gone so far as to say, “this machine could put an end to your period pain FOREVER!”

While some over-the-counter and prescription medications can take 30 minutes or more to alleviate pain, Livia provides instant relief from the second you turn it on. The technology transmits external pulses to essentially keep the nerves ‘busy’ and block the signals that cause painful menstrual cramps. The device, which is only 55mm x 55mm, comes with a micro USB charging cable and two electrode flower pads which have a pre-applied gel. The plus and minus buttons on the device allow the user to control the intensity. Best of all, Livia can be easily hidden under clothes, so that it can be discreetly worn while out in public.

Livia can be found at London Drugs in both the feminine hygiene and pain relief sections in store as well as online. Between now and July 11th, 2019, when you buy a Livia device at London Drugs, you receive free gel pads.

Need help finding pain relief that is right for you? Come visit us in the pharmacy to speak to a pharmacist!

Well Told Health Facebook Contest – WIN ‘6’ Well Told Health Supplements

Well Told Health Supplements Product Photo

WIN ‘6’ Well Told Health Supplements – NO fillers, NO synthetics, NO isolates, NO dairy, NO soy, Gluten-free, Vegan. That’s the Well Told truth.

Well Told Facebook Contest Terms & Conditions

To Enter, comment on the Facebook post Well Told Health Facebook Contest’ : Why Do You Take Supplements?

Contest is open to all residents of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba who, as of the date the prize draw is made: (i) have not won a London Drugs contest since June 10, 2018; (ii) have reached the age of majority in the province in which they reside as of June 10, 2019; (iii) are not employees of London Drugs, their respective advertising and promotional agencies, the independent judging organization (if any), or any family member living with any such employee.

No purchase necessary. Limit one (1) entry per person. Entries must be received no later than 11:59 PM Pacific Time on June 23, 2019. London Drugs is not responsible for entries that become lost or misdirected. All entries become the property of London Drugs Limited and will not be returned.

One (1) winner will be randomly chosen (see dates below) in Richmond, British Columbia, from all eligible entries received per contest. To win, selected entrants must correctly answer a skill-testing mathematical question and must sign London Drugs’ declaration and release confirming compliance with the contest rules and acceptance of the prize(s) as awarded, releasing London Drugs from liability in association with the contest and prize and consenting to the use of their name, photograph, voice and statements for promotional and publicity purposes.

There will be one (1) prize consisting of six (6) Well Told supplement products. Estimated retail value is $180.00 CAD.

See details and contest date below. Prizes must be accepted as awarded, are non-transferable and no substitutions are permitted. Prizes will be awarded at the closest London Drugs location to contest winners.

Contest dates – Friday, June 21, 2019 – Sunday, June 23, 2019, 11:59 PM Pacific Time

Draw date – Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Only one prize may be won by any one person and household. In the event that any selected entrant incorrectly answers the skill-testing question or is otherwise unwilling or unable to comply in full with these rules, a new entry will be drawn.

Selected winners will be contacted by Facebook Messenger. No correspondence will be entered into except with selected entrants. If the winners do not respond then they will be notified for the second time, 3 (three) days after the first notification. If the winners still do not respond within 3 days of the second notification, a new winner will be chosen in the same manner until a winner is successfully contacted.

The chances of winning a prize will depend on the number of eligible entries received. Decisions of the judges in respect of all aspects of this contest including, but not limited to, eligibility of entries and correctness of answers given to the skill-testing question, are final.

London Drugs and their respective advertising and promotional agencies, the independent judging organization, and their respective agents are not liable to an entrant in any manner relating to the contest or the awarding and use of the prize(s).

This contest is subject to all federal, provincial, and municipal laws and regulations. By entering the entrant consents to the collection of all personal information included on their entry and agrees to the use and disclosure of such information by and between London Drugs, an independent judging organization, and their agents. The winner(s) also agrees to the collection, use, and disclosure of their name, entry, photographs, voice, and statements for London Drugs’ publicity purposes without further compensation. All personal information collected from entrants will be used only for the purposes of administering the contest and for marketing and promotional purposes as contemplated by these rules; under no circumstances will any personal information be sold or rented to third parties. All personal information collected by London Drugs will be kept in accordance with the privacy policy of London Drugs, which can be viewed at www.londondrugs.com, and in accordance with all applicable privacy laws.

The right is reserved by London Drugs to terminate this contest, in whole or in part, and/or modify, amend or suspend the contest, and/or these rules in any way, should any cause beyond the reasonable control of London Drugs or its agents affect the proper administration thereof.

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with Facebook.

For more information on Well Told Health Supplements visit:  https://welltold.com/ca_en

Tips for Cleaning out Your Medicine Cabinet

Tips for Cleaning Out Your Medicine Cabinet

Cleaning and decluttering has been all the rage this year thanks to Marie Kondo, but most people think only about decluttering clothing, toys, and housewares.

The bathroom is another important space to declutter, and in particular, the medicine cabinet. When was the last time you cleaned out yours?

London Drugs pharmacy manager Lily Liang says cleaning out your medicine cabinet regularly is important because expired medication might not be effective — and can even cause health problems if used.

When to Dispose of Old Medications

Liang uses the following rules for determining when to toss old meds. Get rid of it if:

  • The medication is unmarked or you don’t know what it is or what it’s used for
  • It’s starting to smell, taste or look different
  • There is no expiry date

Liang adds that the best practice if there’s no expiry date on your medication is to use it for one year, then toss it.

Safest Way to Dispose of Old Meds

Decluttering old medication isn’t as easy as tossing it in the trash. Liang says it’s never okay to throw it out or send it down the drain as you risk polluting the environment or causing potential health hazards.

Instead, put the meds into a resealable plastic bag (including their packaging such as bottles and tubes). Be sure to peel off the label first, and shred it if it contains personal information. Then bring the bags to your local pharmacy for safe disposal. London Drugs works with a medication removal service that ensures safe disposal of old medication.

The Best Place to Store Medication

Now that your medicine cabinet is cleaned out and ready for new products, ask yourself if it’s actually the best place to store your medication.

Liang says it’s best to keep medications in a cool and dark place. She suggests a bedroom drawer instead of the bathroom cabinet.

For more information about storing and disposing of medications, consult your local London Drugs pharmacy.

Getting Your Blood Pressure Checked Could Save Your Life

World Hypertension Day

Even though high blood pressure produces no symptoms, it puts millions of Canadians at risk of health problems including heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure. That’s why hypertension is often referred to as the ‘silent killer’, and it’s the leading risk factor for death worldwide. Nearly one-quarter of Canadian men (24%) and women (23%) have the condition, according to the latest stats. Fortunately, a simple blood pressure screening can prevent serious health risks and even death.

May 17th is World Hypertension Day

With World Hypertension Day on May 17th, London Drugs pharmacists are reminding us all to get checked. This small action could be lifesaving if you’re one of the 7.5 million Canadians who have hypertension, or the 7.4 million more who have high blood pressure that will lead to hypertension without preventative action.

“Diagnosis and awareness of hypertension is critical to preventing future stroke, heart attack, and premature death,” says Gianni Del Negro, a Pharmacist at London Drugs. “A simple five-minute blood pressure check, easily accessible in the pharmacy, could help avoid the serious and deadly complications associated with hypertension.”

Detection of Hypertension is Easy

Luckily, detection of hypertension is straightforward and treatments are simple yet effective. London Drugs pharmacies offer complimentary blood pressure screening via in-store blood pressure kiosks, and pharmacists are available to discuss the results and answer any questions patients may have. They can also offer suggestions to minimize risk factors, which may include discussing changes to diet, fitness or lifestyle.

“Pharmacists are the most accessible health-care providers and we can offer advice for those who have high blood pressure or who are at risk,” explains Del Negro. “The sooner people are screened, the sooner we can begin working with them, and their physician, to find ways to reduce their risk.”

Home Monitors for Hypertension

Sharing readings from a home monitor with a pharmacist or physician is another way to monitor your health. At-home blood pressure monitors including those from Homedics, LifeSource, and Omron can help track your readings. Omron’s arm blood pressure monitor and wrist blood pressure monitor can even wirelessly transfer readings and track results with the free Omron Wellness App on your mobile device.

If you think you’re too young to start tracking your blood pressure, think again. New research shows that the vast majority (84%) of Canadians who have hypertension, are aware that they have the condition. Yet the research revealed the need for more awareness among younger Canadians; those aged 20 to 39 were much less likely to be aware of being hypertensive (65%) than those in older age groups. They were also less likely to be treated (55%) or to have their hypertension controlled (51%).

“This information underlines the importance of hypertension awareness and accessible blood pressure screenings to ensure Canadian adults, young and old, get their blood pressure checked,” says Del Negro.

To receive your complimentary blood pressure screening or to discuss your blood pressure results, simply visit the London Drugs pharmacy.

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