Ross Valley Pharmacy develops medication management, diabetes counseling initiatives

7/27/2009

LARKSPUR, Calif. Ross Valley Pharmacy, an independent, locally owned pharmacy in Marin County, Calif., on Monday announced the availability of personalized medication management and diabetes counseling programs.

The MM program is designed to help local residents understand and reduce risk and side effects associated with taking multiple prescription and nonprescription drugs, supplements and vitamins.

Ross Valley Pharmacy’s counseling programs offer consumers the ability to create a profile that captures key information such as prescription and non-prescription drugs, vitamins, supplements, blood glucose levels, medical conditions, symptoms, height, weight and food by entering information on a customized version of TheCarrot.com’s popular, easy-to-use online platform. Once consumers, their family or caregivers enter the requested information, Ross Valley Pharmacy will assess the medication and/or diabetes profile and will schedule a one-on-one counseling session to educate and provide guidance on how to improve health outcomes. Patients with diabetes will be scheduled to see a Certified Diabetes Educator who evaluates blood glucose levels, medications and diet, the independent pharmacy stated.

“Many people often leave their doctor’s office not understanding why or how they should take prescribed medications,” stated Paul Lofholm, president of Ross Valley Pharmacy. “They look to a pharmacist to fill in communication gaps, but unfortunately, a pharmacist often doesn’t have all the information needed to provide comprehensive patient counseling. For example, at least 25% of medications consumed are over-the-counter drugs … these drugs, alone or when combined with other medications, vitamins and supplements, can produce harmful side effects. Our goals are to evaluate the aggregate effects of all the drugs an individual takes, educate consumers to better manage their health and arm them with the knowledge they need to ask their physicians the right questions.”

Examples of commonly unrecognized medication problems/issues include:

  • The decongestant pseudoephedrine can raise blood pressure;
  • There is an increased risk of liver damage when taking acetaminophen with Vicodin or Percocet;
  • Combining non-prescription Prilosec with such similar prescription stomach acid reducers as Aciphex or Protonix limits absorption of other medications and can lead to anemia;
  • Anti-depressants can trigger poor balance and falls;
  • People with epilepsy need to eat proteins because seizure-controlling drugs must bind to protein to work effectively;
  • Beta blockers, used to control blood pressure, can lower blood sugar;
  • Grapefruit juice slows the body’s ability to metabolize cholesterol-lowering Lipitor, leading to elevated blood levels of the drug; and
  • Calcium supplements halve the effectiveness of thyroid medications.

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