STI Outbreaks and Antibiotic-Resistance Prompt Safe Sex Reminder from Pharmacists

London Drugs pharmacists are providing free condoms on World Sexual Health Day, September 4th

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are on the rise in Canada as illustrated by several provincial outbreaks over the last year in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan as well as a significant surge in BC. The increases are a result of multiple factors including inconsistent condom usage as well as antibiotic resistance which has made some of the most common STIs, such as gonorrhea and syphilis, more difficult to treat.

Now more than ever, because of antibiotic resistance and the increasing prevalence of STIs, pharmacists are sending a timely reminder about the importance of safe sex.

London Drugs pharmacies will be providing free condoms as part of World Sexual Health Day on September 4th.

It’s part of an effort both to encourage safe sex practices and to highlight the role pharmacists can play in helping individuals make informed choices about their sexual health – from aiding in the prevention of unwanted pregnancies, to providing information about the best contraceptive options, and reviewing symptoms with patients, recommending STI screening or referring to doctors when necessary.

“There is still a lot of stigma surrounding the topic, but if we look at sexual health as simply a part of overall health, we can create a more open, accepting environment. No one should be afraid to ask questions about their health,” says London Drugs Pharmacist, Lily Liang.

Pharmacists are easily accessible without an appointment and they are used to discussing a wide range of topics, including sexual health. Private counselling booths and consultation rooms are available at most pharmacies for added confidentiality and discretion.

In recent years, London Drugs has expanded their sexual health offerings to include more than just traditional prophylactics with the addition of personal lubricants, massagers and other intimacy products. Order-online-pickup-instore, self-checkouts, and home delivery options at London Drugs make purchasing these items convenient and discrete.

Free Durex condoms will be available until supplies last at all London Drugs pharmacies on World Sexual Health Day which is observed annually on September 4th in an effort to promote greater social awareness on sexual health.

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.

 

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!

Hepatitis C screening now offered at five Calgary London Drugs locations

 

Hepatitis C screening now offered at five Calgary London Drugs locations

Unique collaboration between doctors and pharmacists expands access to
hepatitis C screening and treatment in Calgary

Hepatitis C screening now offered at five London Drugs locations in Calgary, helping to make testing and treatment for the potentially liver-destroying virus more accessible. Patients can now undertake a simple finger prick test at the pharmacy to check if they have been exposed to hepatitis C virus (HCV).  The test, called the OraQuick HCV rapid antibody test, is more than 99 per cent accurate at detecting HCV antibodies and provides results in 20 minutes.

According to Alberta Health Services (AHS), an estimated 24,000 Albertans live with chronic hepatitis C and many are unaware they harbor the blood-borne virus because it can take decades before symptoms become evident.

“You can carry this infection for decades in your liver and actually have no symptoms at all – until the end stages of the disease. That’s why screening and early diagnosis is critically important,” says Dr. Matthew Sadler, a physician at the Foothills Medical Centre’s Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and clinical assistant professor at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine. “Offering hepatitis C screening in the community helps increase awareness of the disease, and expands access to treatment by offering a point-of-care testing option that some, such as those without a family doctor, may find more convenient,” he says.

Recent guidelines published by the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver recommend that all Canadians born between 1945 and 1975 get tested.

“Making hepatitis C screening quick and convenient right in the pharmacy and working collaboratively with doctors, we can ensure those who test positive will get the treatment and follow-up care they need,” says Aaron Lo, Pharmacy Manager at London Drugs.

“There is a lot of misinformation about hepatitis C. The cure rate is above 95 per cent now and the treatment is relatively simple. It involves taking antiviral medications daily for eight to 12 weeks,” says Lo.

Hepatitis C screening is available at the following London Drugs locations in Calgary. Patients should call the pharmacy to book an appointment. The cost of the test is $24.

 

First Calgary SE

4701 – 130th Avenue. SE

Calgary, Alberta, T2Z 4J2

 

Pharmacy: (403) 257-6850

London Town Square

3545 – 32nd Avenue NE

Calgary, Alberta T1Y 6M6

 

Pharmacy: (403) 250-8492

 

Beddington Towne Centre

8120 Beddington Blvd NW

Calgary, Alberta T3K 2A8

 

Pharmacy: (403) 275-4804

 

Stephen Ave LD Express

230 – 8 Avenue SW

Calgary, Alberta T2P 1B5

 

Pharmacy: (403) 351-0645

 

London Place West

5255 Richmond Road SW

Calgary, Alberta T3E 7C4

 

Pharmacy: (403) 240-1235

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

London Drugs Survey: Most Western Canadians Planning to Get the Flu Shot This Season

Western Canadians largely believe in the benefits of getting flu shots, with the majority of residents planning to get theirs this flu season.

Three-in-five (59%) Canadians in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba say they are likely to get the flu shot for the 2018/2019 season, including nearly all of those (98%) who received last year’s vaccine—a number that is consistent across all of the provinces. While this number seems promising, there is still a large proportion (37%) who aren’t planning on getting this year’s vaccine.

Common misconceptions prevent many from getting the flu shot

While seven-in-ten Western Canadians (71%) report having gotten the flu shot in the past, the most common reason provided among those unlikely to get immunized this year, is the belief that the vaccine is ineffective or only works for previous strains of the virus (38%, a number that that climbs to 45% in Saskatchewan).

“This is an unfortunate and potentially deadly belief. The vaccine is always updated to protect against the viruses that health experts believe will be circulating during the upcoming season and protects against multiple strains. By getting the flu shot, you not only protect yourself, but you protect others who could have life-threatening complications from catching the flu,” says Gianni Del Negro, a Pharmacist at London Drugs.

This year’s seasonal flu vaccine protects against multiple strains of both influenza A (H1N1 and H3N2) and influenza B.

More than a third of Western Canadians also believe that healthy people don’t need the flu vaccination (37%).

“It’s a myth that if you are a healthy person then you don’t need a flu shot. Even if you are in good health, it’s important to get immunized to prevent the spread of illness to high risk individuals such as newborns, young children, pregnant women, and adults with chronic medical conditions,” says Del Negro.

Almost one in four (36%) believe you can catch the virus from the flu shot. Those in Saskatchewan are more likely to agree that you can contract the flu from the vaccination (47%) than those in Manitoba (38%), Alberta (33%) and British Columbia (26%), and that you can catch the virus from it (36%).

Seven-in-ten (70%) also agree that the vaccination can have negative side effects. British Columbians are significantly less likely to believe this (60%) than their Western counterparts: Saskatchewan (68%), Manitoba (71%) and Alberta (71%).

“It is impossible to contract the illness from the vaccine itself because they are made with viruses that have been inactivated and are therefore not infectious. Most people don’t have reactions to the flu vaccine; those who do may have minor soreness, redness or swelling at the injection site,” says Del Negro.

Most agree that getting the flu shot is important to protect those most vulnerable

Despite these misconceptions, at least three-in-four Western Canadians agree that it is important to get the flu vaccination every year in order to help protect those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness (76%) and feel that getting the flu vaccination each year is a responsible way to take care of both your own health and the health of others around you (75%).

However, many Western Canadians are unaware of how devastating the influenza virus can be. Only half (49%) knew that the flu causes approximately 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths in Canada each year.

Knowledge and awareness about flu shots is high

Overall, Western Canadians are highly aware of several facts related to flu vaccinations. Almost nine-in-ten know that flu vaccinations are available free of charge for many Canadians (89%), are available at most pharmacies (88%), and that Health Canada recommends Canadians protect themselves from the flu by being vaccinated each year in the fall (also 88%). More than three-in-four are also aware that pharmacists can administer the flu vaccine (85%) and that the vaccine helps prevent hospitalizations and saves lives (78%).

Flu shots are widely available, by appointment or walk-in, across Canada. Western Canadians who are likely to get vaccinated this season are largely planning to get theirs at a pharmacy (41%), public flu clinic (16%), or doctor’s office (13%).

“Simply by getting a flu shot at London Drugs you can make a global impact, providing life-saving vaccinations to children worldwide, while taking care of your own health needs and potentially saving the lives of people in your own community as well,” says Del Negro.

For every flu shot administered at London Drugs pharmacies this year, a lifesaving vaccine will be donated to UNICEF Canada to immunize children in another country. The vaccination donation campaign is in partnership with I Boost Immunity (IBI), an online immunization advocacy network.

Flu shots are conveniently available seven days a week by appointment or on a walk-in basis at any London Drugs location. To learn more about getting the flu shot at London Drugs, visit: LondonDrugs.com/flu

 

ABOUT THE SURVEY

Results are based on an online study conducted by Insights West from September 14th to 26th, 2018 among a representative sample of 2,144 British Columbia adults.  The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 2.12 percentage points. Discrepancies between totals are due to rounding.

 

You get, you give: Get your flu shot and help boost immunity around the world

I Boost Immunity and London Drugs partner to help protect the world’s most vulnerable children in support of UNICEF Canada

With influenza season fast approaching, London Drugs and I Boost Immunity (IBI) are once again reminding everyone that one of the best reasons to get vaccinated against influenza is to protect yourself, as well as those around you who are most at risk. And since vaccination benefits all of us, for every flu shot administered at any one of 80 London Drugs pharmacies, a second lifesaving vaccine will be donated to UNICEF Canada through I Boost Immunity to immunize a child in another country.

Since 2016, I Boost Immunity has donated over 730,000 vaccines for children through UNICEF by rewarding visitors to its website with vaccines for doing online quizzes about vaccine health.

“Our goal is to increase awareness about the importance of getting vaccinated against diseases like influenza to improve immunization rates both here in Canada and across the globe,” says Shannon Turner, Executive Director of the Public Health Association of BC. “Teaming up with London Drugs provides a wonderful example of global citizenship in action. The simple act of getting your flu shot has a multiplier effect by also helping vaccinate children around the world at the same time.”

Getting vaccinated against influenza is crucial for individuals at high-risk for developing flu-related complications such as newborns, young children, pregnant women, and adults with chronic medical conditions.

“Many people mistakenly believe there’s no need to get a flu shot because they are healthy,” says Gianni Del Negro, Pharmacist at London Drugs. “But good health is not an excuse to skip the vaccine, especially if you may be in close contact with people may be vulnerable to influenza. Not only that, but anyone who receives the flu shot at our pharmacies will be making a global impact, providing life-saving vaccinations to children worldwide, while taking care of their own health needs and potentially saving the lives of people in their own community as well,” says Del Negro.

Take an influenza quiz and to earn vaccines for UNICEF at www.boostimmunity.com.

To learn more about getting the flu shot at London Drugs, visit: http://www.LondonDrugs.com/flu.

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