September 30th, 2016

Five Ways to Reduce Your Chances of Getting Sick this Cold & Flu Season


With a handful of flu cases already reported this year, pharmacists are advising patients to take preventative measures to avoid getting sick.

All London Drugs pharmacies will be offering this year’s flu vaccine but in addition to getting a flu shot, Pharmacists offer the following advice to help you reduce your chances of getting sick.


September 28th, 2016

How’s Your Bone Capital?


Your bones are like your bank accounts: the more you put into them when you’re still young, the more “bone capital” you have to draw on when you get older and you need harder bones.

And the reason you need to make your bones as hard as you can while you’re still young – this is done through eating well and doing weight-bearing exercise such as jumping and skipping and running, activities that come naturally to kids who are allowed to just play. Something that is becoming rarer and rarer, alas, in this new overly-scheduled, wired and connected era – is that bones start to get steadily weaker (we often refer to this as softening) from the age of about 25 on.

And if the bones weaken enough, you end up with osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis should never be ignored because bone fractures – no matter where they occur – can leave you with a pile of huge problems including lifelong pain (such as in fractures of the spine, for example), loss of function of parts of limbs (in wrist fractures, for example), loss of independence (such as through fractures of the hip) and even premature death.

In fact, one study found that any fracture in a person over the age of 50 doubles the risk of premature death, although no one is sure about why there is that link.

One other very important thing of note about osteoporosis: it is often referred to as a women’s disease but in fact, men get it, too, although not quite as frequently.

The bottom line is that you need to do something – actually a few things – about osteoporosis if you don’t want to suffer some if its potentially debilitating effects.

This starts with prevention, of course: weight-bearing exercise throughout life, healthy diet, not smoking, knowing which medications can raise your risk, and so on.

And if you already have osteoporosis, it’s very important to inform yourself about a few issues: the extent of the condition, what you can do on your own to slow down its progress, what you must do to prevent falling, which is of course, the major reason that bones break, and most important, the pros and cons of the medications you might be asked to consider taking.

Take a proactive approach to protecting your long-term bone health by attending a London Drugs Osteoporosis Screening Clinic*. During the 45-minute, one-on-one consultation, your Patient Care Pharmacist will provide you with a one-on-one screening to measure your bone strength with an ultrasound bone measuring device and assess your risk for falls and fractures. You will be provided with an assessment, tips on how to minimize your risks and a personalized action plan to fit your wellness goals.

Book your appointment online at London Drugs’ NEW pharmacy website.

*A small fee applies for this service, for which a tax deductible receipt will be issued.


September 23rd, 2016

World Pharmacists Day – September 25, 2016


World Pharmacists Day is designed to raise awareness about the role of pharmacists in providing care to the public. This year’s theme is “Pharmacists: Caring for you”. The theme reflects the increasing role pharmacists play in the provision of health care services and the tangible benefits they bring as health care providers. Pharmacists are the most accessible health care providers for Canadians, yet many are still unaware of the range of health services they are able to provide.

For many years, pharmacists have been taking on expanded roles in the Canadian health care system. Today’s pharmacist is highly respected as the medication management expert of the health care team. They collaborate with patients, their families and other health care providers to deliver a range of innovative services, including medication reviews, chronic disease management, immunization services and wellness programs.

London Drugs Pharmacists: Caring for you

World Pharmacist Day is an opportunity to remind Canadians about the health care services easily accessible through their pharmacists. At London Drugs, these services include:

  • Medication reviews to ensure drug therapy is appropriate and effective. Pharmacists are trained and knowledgeable about medication issues.
  • Administration of vaccines by Certified Injection Pharmacists, including the Zostavax vaccine for Shingles.
  • Individualized diabetes management programs withour Certified Diabetes Educators.
  • Chronic illness management.
  • Ability to prescribe for minor ailments/conditions (in select provinces).
  • Renew and/or extend prescriptions (some medication restrictions apply)
  • Assisting patients find solutions to everyday health issues around allergy, cough & cold, pain management, stomach health and eye care.
  • A variety of Health Clinics offered at select times throughout the year, including:

London Drugs pharmacists are committed to being an important part of our customers’ health care team. To learn more, speak with a pharmacist at any location or visit our NEW pharmacy website.

September 22nd, 2016

Have a sick kid at home? Make sure you’re giving them the right dose of medication.


A new research study has found that four in five parents are administering the wrong dose of liquid medications — in some cases more than twice as much as instructed.

Through a series of experiments to test whether 2,100 parents could follow common dosing instructions, over 80 per cent of participants made at least one mistake while measuring, and 68 per cent of the time that mistake was an overdose.

“Many parents rely on the small plastic cup that often comes included with liquid medication or use a spoon from home to administer liquid medication,” explains Pharmacy Manager Jason Chan-Remillard. “Unfortunately, these methods make it easy to inaccurately measure a child’s dosage.”

In fact, the study indicated parents are four times more likely to give their children either too much or too little medication when using a plastic cup. The researchers suggest using a syringe instead of a cup or spoon could prevent many dosing errors.

“If parents are using a plastic cup, it should be placed on a level surface and the measurement should be confirmed at eye level,” says Chan-Remillard.

Dosage confusion also stems from the fact that instructions for liquid medications are often found in an assortment of measurements, from millilitres to tablespoons, and are often based on the weight – in pounds or kilograms – of the child. This leaves room for calculation errors which could result in an overdose, or the child not receiving enough medication. If the child receives too little, their illness could go untreated.

Chan-Remillard encourages parents to ask for dosage guidance from pharmacists even for common over-the-counter medications.

“Giving children the right dosage is just as important as giving them the right medication. Don’t be afraid to seek advice from pharmacists. There are no silly questions. We are here to provide parents with general education about dosage or even specific recommendations tailored to the individual child. We can also provide appropriate dosing tools such as syringes and instructions about how to use them accurately.”


Reference: Liquid Medication Errors and Dosing Tools: A Randomized Controlled Experiment

September 16th, 2016

Reminder to parents and caregivers – check the date of your auto-injectors for Back to School


If you or your child has severe allergies, an auto-injector such as EpiPen is a lifeline for potentially life-threatening anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis awareness, preparedness and access to treatment is critical for children with severe allergies now back at school.

At London Drugs, the price for EpiPen remains constant and the important allergy medication is fully stocked at all of our 78 stores.

For children with severe allergies, the start of a new school year is an important time to check expiry dates and update their prescriptions, including any anaphylactic medications. Our London Drugs pharmacists suggest parents ensure they have an emergency plan in place, after a study found a ‘worrisome increase’ in anaphylaxis cases among children.

The study revealed that the percentage of emergency department visits due to anaphylaxis doubled over the four-year research period. Only slightly more than half of children in the study who visited the emergency department due to anaphylaxis used an auto-injector prior to their arrival.

“While awareness in schools about severe allergies has grown, there is a lag in understanding when it comes to using auto-injectors such as EpiPen,” says London Drugs Pharmacist Jason Chan-Remillard. “Parents, caregivers and teachers should be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis and know how to initiate treatment. Understanding how to administer epinephrine in an emergency is just as important as other lifesaving skills like CPR or the Heimlich maneuver.”

Parents of children with severe allergies should work with teachers and caregivers at the start of each school year to create an action plan with an explanation of the child’s allergy triggers, what to do in case of reaction, where they have access to epinephrine and how to administer emergency anaphylactic treatment.

“It’s especially important for lunchroom personnel to be aware of children’s health status. Often times, that requires the parents to speak with them directly about their child’s allergy triggers,” adds Chan-Remillard.

There is sometimes a misconception that peanuts are the only trigger for severe food allergies. In actuality there are nine food allergens commonly associated with allergic reactions; eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, sesame seeds, soy, sulphites, tree nuts, wheat and other cereal grains that contain gluten.

Epinephrine auto-injectors expire so it’s important to check dates and update prescriptions when necessary. Expired auto-injectors can be properly disposed of in the sharps disposal bin at London Drugs pharmacies and our pharmacists can provide re-education about how to self-administer EpiPen.

September 16th, 2016

Are you at risk for Osteoporosis?


Osteoporosis is often called the ‘silent thief’ because bone loss occurs without symptoms unless one has fractured. According to Osteoporosis Canada, hundreds of thousands of Canadians needlessly fracture bones each year because their osteoporosis goes undiagnosed and untreated.

Take a proactive approach to protecting your long-term bone health by attending a London Drugs Osteoporosis Screening Clinic*. During the 45-minute, one-on-one consultation, your Patient Care Pharmacist will provide a one-on-one screening to measure your bone strength with an ultrasound bone measuring device and assess your risk for falls and fractures. You will be provided with an assessment, tips on how to minimize your risks and a personalized action plan to fit your wellness goals.

Book your appointment online at London Drugs’ NEW pharmacy website.

*A small fee applies for this service, for which a tax deductible receipt will be issued.

September 8th, 2016

Understanding Your Medications


There’s been a lot of emphasis the last few decades on the issue of “polypharmacy”, that is, patients who are taking too may drugs.

This is especially a concern, of course, for the elderly, who cannot tolerate most drugs as well as younger people can, and who also tend to develop far more complications from their drugs than younger people do, in part because seniors like me tend to have multiple health problems, and those problems can often affect how a particular medication works in us.

medicationPlus, because seniors are often on a lot of medications, many seniors don’t fully understand how to take their meds, when to take them, when not to mix their pills, and so on, which also leads to a lot of preventable medication-related problems.

To illustrate how much of a problem this can be, in a recent study published in the journal Age Aging, over 750 “patients aged 60 and over who were taking five or more prescribed drugs simultaneously were asked about their medication”.

Only 15 % of these patients fully understood the nature of their medication use, and no surprise here, men, those taking the most meds, and the most elderly were the worst at knowing all they should know about their drugs.

So if you have to take any drugs regularly, even if it’s only 2 or 3, here’s a strategy that really cuts down on the potential pitfalls from using those meds: make your pharmacist into a very good friend.

It’s what I do: whenever I have to start on a new drug – I have had to change my blood pressure medication several times over the last couple of years, for example – I always try to ask my pharmacist about that new drug such as what are the likely side effects, what are some of the less common but more serious side effects I should look out for, when should I take my pills, with what can I take them, and how will this new pill react with the ones I’m already on, and so on.

In fact, if you’re taking 5 or more medications, there is a program called the Medication Review Service which specifically aims to answer all those questions – and some you haven’t even thought of – to help educate you about the drugs you are taking.

And one other useful medication-taking strategy that can be help a lot of people is the blister- packing service, which can help those of us who are somewhat forgetful about when to take our pills to actually take them at the time we’re supposed to.

See your pharmacist today to make sure you’re on the right track with your prescriptions.

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