October 19th, 2017

Flu Shot at London Drugs

Reminder to Healthy Individuals: Getting Your Flu Shot
Protects the Vulnerable and Saves Lives

For every flu shot administered at London Drugs this year, a lifesaving vaccine will be donated to help protect the world’s most vulnerable children from vaccine-preventable diseases.


September 29th, 2017

London Drugs and QuitNow Offering 10 Dedicated Smoking Cessation Clinics in the Lower Mainland in October

*April Age software used during London Drugs’ Smoking Cessation Walk-In Clinics demonstrates a patient’s age progression as a smoker.

Personalized quit plans, coaching and financial support for nicotine replacement therapy will be offered to those eligible care of the B.C. Government Smoking Cessation Program  

During the month of October, tobacco users in the lower mainland will have a new support resource to help them kick their habit and lead healthier lives. The BC Government’s QuitNow program, in conjunction with the BC Lung Association, has partnered with London Drugs to host smoking cessation walk-in clinics in 10 BC Lower Mainland London Drugs pharmacies from October 2nd to October 20nd.

During the smoking cessation clinics, London Drugs’ Certified Tobacco Educators (CTEs) will:

  • Discuss practical tips and advice to help people reduce/quit tobacco
  • Develop personalized quit plans to help people stop smoking
  • Conduct age progression examples on the long-term effects of smoking using *April Age software (photo below)
  • Offer BC smoking cessation program for nicotine replacement

QuitNow health promoters will be in attendance, conducting carbon monoxide testing and offering education on tools and resources available to help people to quit. Each attendee will also receive a Smoking Cessation Kit which includes tips on coping with withdrawal symptoms, getting rid of the tobacco smell, and also key factors to consider when it comes to teens and smoking.

“There is an ongoing need for our pharmacists to have an active role in helping people to quit smoking and tobacco use,” says Chris Chiew, general manager, pharmacy, London Drugs. “Joining together with QuitNow on this 10-clinic initiative allows us to work together to build awareness that resources and coaching ARE available to people, and at no cost. We sincerely hope those who are considering quitting smoking will visit us at one of these 10 clinics in October.”

Partnering with QuitNow is a natural progression in London Drugs’ ongoing efforts to help British Columbians quit smoking. Since 2014, London Drugs pharmacists have conducted more than 126,000 smoking cessation consultations.

“QuitNow is pleased to be able to work together with London Drugs to help the public understand the dangers of tobacco use and the tools available to help people to quit,” says Tracey Jirak, QuitNow. “Patient counseling is an integral component to any smoking cessation program and smokers who receive professional guidance and support have a much greater chance of successfully quitting.”

For clinic dates and locations, visit here: Smoking Cessation Clinics for more information.

September 8th, 2017

Hundreds of thousands of Canadians needlessly fracture bones each year due to osteoporosis

London Drugs’ Osteoporosis Screening Clinics to aid in prevention

Dubbed the ‘silent thief’, bone loss from osteoporosis occurs without symptoms – until the first fracture. According to Osteoporosis Canada, fractures from osteoporosis are more common than a heart attack, stroke or breast cancer combined, and yet over 80 per cent of fracture patients are never offered screening or treatment post fracture . Around 30,000 Canadians each year suffer from hip fractures, and many more suffer osteoporotic fractures affecting the spine, wrist, shoulder, and pelvis .

London Drugs offers Osteoporosis Screening Clinics to help patients determine their risk of developing osteoporosis, before a fracture occurs. Using the World Health Organization’s FRAX assessment tool and Sunlight Omnisense® device, Patient Care Pharmacists scan and measure the patient’s bone strength and assess their risk for falls and fractures. The consultation takes about 45-minutes.

Post-screening, patients are given an assessment of their vitamin D and calcium intake, lifestyle factors, and existing medical conditions as they relate to fracture risk. Each patient is then provided with tips on how to minimize their risks, and a personalized action plan to fit their wellness goals.

“Since osteoporosis often has no noticeable symptoms, routine screenings are crucial to help you stay informed about the changes that happen in the body during the aging process. We can develop an action plan to help improve bone health and minimize your risk,” explains Lily Liang, a Patient Care Pharmacist at London Drugs.

Osteoporosis Screening Clinics can be booked online or by calling the pharmacy.

September 1st, 2017

Fat and fit

So if you are overweight but you are also fit, do you erase the added risk of heart disease that carrying extra weight is said to add to your life?

No, according to a study from Imperial College London’s School of Public Health and published in the August 14 issue of the European Heart Journal.  

In this study that covered participants from several different European countries for more than 12 years follow-up, researchers compared 10,000 people who didn’t have heart problems with slightly more than 7600 people who had known cardiovascular disease, and the researchers concluded that excess weight is a problem for your heart no matter how fit you think you are.

In other words, no matter how many or how few risk factors these study participants had for heart disease – they had high blood pressure, for example, or abnormal cholesterol levels, or diabetes, and so on – those people who were overweight had a higher chance of suffering a heart attack or dying suddenly from a heart problem than people with similar cardiac risks but who were also thin or at normal weight.

Bottom line: although some studies have claimed to show that if you are fat you are still OK in terms of your heart – so long as you also maintain a good level of cardiovascular fitness – this study found that is likely not true.

September 1st, 2017

Drug Dosages for Kids

For a parent or a caregiver with a sick kid who requires some type of medication, the best advice I can give you is: make absolutely sure you know what dose of that drug to give your child.

Unfortunately, according to a recent study in the journal Pediatrics, too many parents don’t heed that warning.

So, in this study of 491 parents of children under the age of 8, the researchers found that 5 in 6 parents (83%) parents made at least one “dosing error”, that is, a mistake in how much of a particular drug to give a child.

However, when given available tools to help them accurately measure the right dose, far fewer parents made dosage errors.

Two key considerations to always keep in mind if you’re in charge of a child’s medications.

  1. Drug doses in kids often depend on a child’s weight, so the dose of a drug that you give your 10-year-old is rarely the same dose you’d give your 4-year-old
  2. You should not rely on household do-it-yourself measuring devices, so a teaspoon from your cutlery tray is not a good way to figure out how much of a 5 ml dose of a drug your child requires – get the exact measuring tools that your child’s drugs require you to use.

And as, your pharmacist can be a terrific help if you’re at all unsure of how much of a drug your child needs.

August 23rd, 2017

Study shows fewer than half of children with severe allergies receive life-saving epinephrine

Reminder: Check expiration dates and replace expired epinephrine auto-injectors before children head back to school

When children with life threating allergies experience anaphylaxis, parents, teachers and other caregivers often fail to administer epinephrine, according to a study published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in July. The study showed that less than 40 per cent of kids — even those who had previously experienced anaphylaxis and been prescribed an epinephrine auto-injector — received a dose of the drug before they got to the emergency room or an urgent care clinic after experiencing a reaction.

London Drugs Pharmacy Manager, Gianni Del Negro says that the research suggests a need for more anaphylaxis education and awareness.

“While awareness in schools about allergies has grown in recent years, there is a lag in understanding when it comes to using auto-injectors such as the EpiPen. It is critical for anyone working with school-age children to be able to recognize the symptoms of anaphylaxis and understand how to use auto-injectors,” he says.

Within minutes, an allergic reaction can turn into a life-threatening situation. Using epinephrine immediately after exposure to an allergy trigger can help reverse the symptoms.

“Reaction times and symptoms are different for each child and there is no way to predict the severity of a reaction because the signs may not be the same for each occurrence. If a child has a known risk for anaphylaxis and caregivers suspect they may be experiencing a reaction, it is better to administer an injection rather than wait for paramedics or emergency care,” says Del Negro.

Since the effects of epinephrine can wear off and children can have subsequent allergic reactions, caregivers are advised to call 911 or take the child to the emergency room immediately after using an auto-injector.

He suggests that parents of children with severe allergies 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.

The start of a new school year is an important time to check expiration dates since epinephrine auto-injectors expire. Expired products can be properly disposed of at any London Drugs location and pharmacists are available to counsel patients on how to properly administer them. Prescriptions are not required for epinephrine auto-injectors; however, some insurance plans cover them if the patient has a prescription.

 Signs and symptoms of a life-threatening allergic reaction may include:

  • Hives
  • Nausea, cramping, diarrhea, or vomiting
  • Swelling of the face and throat
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Flushing
  • Headache
  • Seizures


August 15th, 2017

Alcohol Abuse

Although other substances get much more attention both from the media and the public, a report just out from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) starkly reminds us that the most problematic and costly substance in our culture is without any question alcohol.

Among the many near-term dangerous problems associated with alcohol abuse, there are these obvious ones: much higher levels of being involved in homicides, suicides, accidents (in the workplace, at home, and of course, on the road), poor judgement decisions (unsafe sex, and use of other dangerous substances, for example), mood changes, and a host of others.

As for the long-term costs of alcohol abuse, the huge list includes outstanding ones such as much higher levels of cardiovascular disease, psychological changes, liver disease, sleep disorders, and cancer since alcohol use (even at low and moderate intake levels) has been linked to a higher risk of a host of cancers including esophageal cancer and breast cancer.

And those long-term consequences don’t even address the other awful long-term negative effects that alcohol abuse delivers to a drinker’s family, workplace, community, and country (the incredible cost of dealing with alcohol abuse).

Bottom line: a little bit of alcohol might lead to some positive health effects and might improve some social situations (I can’t really picture going to certain parties unless I could nurse a glass of wine throughout) but anything beyond that carries potential significant health risks.


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