June 16, 2015

US Confirms CIPA Approved Canadian Pharmacies Safe Option for Prescription Drugs

Happy smiling Customer With A Pharmacist

A survey conducted by the Canadian International Pharmacy Association explores reasons behind Americans continuing to utilize online licensed Canadian pharmacies when ordering prescription medications.  Nearly 2,700 Americans participated in the study with 64 percent say they purchase maintenance medications from pharmacy options outside the United States due to prescription fill costs.

Nearly 22 percent who participated claimed their insurance coverage didn’t cover some medications. On average for regular prescription medication orders Americans are spending roughly $250 per month with Canadian pharmacies.  Research has shown this option has helped thousands of Americans avoid suffering severe health concerns. Those who participated in the study attributed the following 3 reasons why they import prescription medicines from Canada:

  1. Unable to afford prescription fill costs (lack of funds).  About 11 percent say they could not purchase any prescription medicine at all if acquired from a U.S pharmacy.
  2. Prescriptions not covered in their insurance plan. About 32 percent say their healthcare coverage doesn’t cover all of their medications.
  3. Dramatic rise in medication costs. Roughly 57 percent of respondents claim they are responsible for paying their health insurance.  They also pay all of their medication costs.

Maintenance medications offered in Canada are cheaper. Customers have reported saving roughly 50 percent or almost $250 on a 90-day supply from Canadian pharmacies.  Having an affordable alternative such as this has helped reduce risk factors previous studies have researched. This includes issues of patients skipping doses, abruptly stopping medication use and even putting personal health at higher risk.

Seniors on Medicare include growing number of patients who utilize online Canadian pharmacies for maintenance prescription fills.  Most respondents who participated in the study are aged 55 and older.  Strategies such as lower-cost medication options, skipping doses, taking less medication, delaying prescription refills and not taking medicine as prescribed are risks many face due to lack of proper health care coverage.  Many without insurance coverage were more likely to ask about lower-cost alternatives than those with private healthcare coverage or Medicaid.

National Health Interview data published in 2013 showed common ways American’s sought to cut drug costs.  Close to 20% of adults aged 18-64 and roughly 20.3% of seniors 65 and older say they discussed lower-cost medication options.   Almost 13% of adults 18-64 admit they did not take prescription medicine as prescribed. Nearly 6 percent of adults 65 and older admitted to the same action.

CIPA offers American medical patients with pharmaceutical and maintenance medication options (excludes controlled substances) through 90-day supply options with valid prescription information.

June 15, 2015

Zoloft vs Prozac

Pills drugs whiteZoloft and Prozac are drugs that fall into the group of anti-depressants. While they work similarly, there are some individual differences that you should take note of. For instance, Prozac comes available as a tablet or liquid, while Zoloft comes as a concentrated solution that needs to be mixed with liquid before consumption. In the following sections, we’ll learn more about how these two anti-depressants differ.


Both Prozac and Zoloft should be taken as prescribed by your doctor. They work best when taken daily, and because of their delayed response time, it may be up to a month before their effects actually start to kick in. Both medicines should also be stored at room temperature, as well as be kept away from heat and moisture.

Tablet Form

Zoloft should be consumed with an ample amount of water, and can be taken with our without food. When taking Prozac, it is imperative that you don’t chew, open, or brake the pill with your teeth upon swallowing. This is because the pill is designed to digest and breakdown slowly in your body. Breaking the pill would force too much of the drug into your system at one time.

Liquid Form

Both Zoloft and Prozac come available in a liquid solution. However, it is important to note that Prozac can be taken as is while Zoloft must be mixed thoroughly into another liquid before digestion. A single dose of Zoloft should be mixed with a minimum of four ounces of water or orange juice. Both drugs should never be taken with alcohol.

Common Side Effects

As with most anti-depressants, both Zoloft and Prozac come with their fair share of side effects. However, few of these are actually life-threatening, and can be avoided if you follow the directions given to you by your doctor or primary physician. Some of the more common side effects include allergic reactions such as skin rashes, swelling in the lips, face, or tongue, and even difficulty breathing.

There are more serious side effects, however, that you should become aware of. These can include radical changes in your mood, panic attacks, anxiety attacks, trouble sleeping, an overwhelming feeling of restlessness, hyperactivity, and even frequent suicidal thoughts. In rarer cases, you may experience an even greater amount of depression accompanied by aggression or hostility.

When Should Medical Assistance Be Sought?

Keep in mind that medical help should be sought after should you experience worsening symptoms including the following:

  • – Seizures or convulsions
  • – Shivering, tremors, or stiffness in the muscles
  • – Problems maintaining coordination or balance
  • – Confusion, sweating, fast heartbeat, or quickly-triggered agitation

Other less serious side effects that you may experience are changes in appetite, difficulty having an orgasm, a decreased sex drive, and occasional nausea accompanied by drowsiness. Sore  throat, headaches, flu symptoms, changes in weight, and red blisters around the mouth have also been seen in both drugs.


Remember that both drugs should be taken in accordance to what was originally prescribed from your doctor. Otherwise, more serious side effects can occur.

June 2, 2015

Findings of Commonwealth Fund Survey on Patient Care for Older Adults

 Worried senior woman caring with sick husband

General view

A survey was carried out among older people from 11 different countries and it revealed that adults in the U.S are sicker compared to those living abroad. In addition to that, the study showed that U.S sick adults have a higher chance of facing problems with regard to paying their medical bills and accessing the health care they need. It went ahead to report that these patients faced a challenge of accessing emergency departments when they required care from primary care physicians.

The main concern

The national health systems worldwide must care for the aging especially because they are normally faced with disability and various chronic illnesses. Older people are particularly exposed to many of the flaws found in the health care system due to the fact that they receive care from many providers, are required to take numerous prescriptions and have an intricate care regimen to follow. This puts them at a higher risk of both physical harm and expensive costs of health care. The survey funded by commonwealth was carried out on adults of 65 years old and above from 11 different countries with the aim of gaining a better understanding of how the health systems operate with regards to providing care to older adults. It also aimed at understanding the areas with performance gap and the various policy reforms that can be put in place to improve the situation.

Main Findings

  • -The United States had the biggest percentage of chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes and so on. 87% of older adults living in the U.S were diagnosed with at least one chronic disease while 68% had two or more.
  • -U.S adults aged 65 and above almost certainly reported difficulties in covering their care expenses in spite of having Medicare coverage. 19% of them which made up a fifth of the surveyed population said they couldn’t visit a doctor, afford the recommended treatment or even go for a medical test due to inability to cover the costs involved.
  • -11% of the U.S survey respondents almost certainly had problems clearing their medical bills. Only 1% of the surveyed population in both Sweden and Norway made the same claim.
  • -Respondents from Norway, Canada, U.S, and Sweden had the least chances of getting a same day or the next day doctor’s appointment. They are also the ones who had the most difficulties in getting after-hours care with no help from the emergency department.
  • -Older adults in every single country faced problems of care coordination and safety. 35% of the older adults in the U.S experienced at least one problem related to care coordination. Examples of these problems include failure to get a recommended medical test, lack of or inadequate communication between a specialist and a primary care doctor, getting contradicting medical information from different doctors and so on. At least one fifth of older adults in every country except France can testify to at least having one of these challenges.

June 1, 2015

How Having An Up-To-Date Prescription Medication List Prevents Harm

Filling Out FormsWhen it comes to taking prescription drugs, as scary as it sounds, you’re the only one who knows best what you’re taking and how you’re medications are affecting you.  Having an up-to-date medication list that outlines what and how you’re taking your medication that you share with your healthcare team such as your doctor, pharmacist, dentist, nurse, specialist and caregivers, like family and friends who help out—will significantly reduce harm when it comes to adverse drug interactions inadvertently happening when medications are accidently mixed together. It will take some effort on your part in making a list of prescription and non-prescription medications but it’s actually the most simple and often overlooked strategy for better health and will prevent injury or harm to you or your loved one.

Why does having an accurate patient shared medication list so important?  Based on a medical survey, only about 25% of physicians could easily generate a list of an individual patient’s medications.  A systematic review by Dr. Ed Etchells and his colleagues published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found up to two-thirds of the time, there was an error in medications at the time of admission. They also discovered that 41% of these errors were clinically important, and 22% had a potential to cause harm during the patient’s admission. When you combine the fact that two-thirds of seniors are on five or more prescription drugs, often prescribed by different healthcare providers, the cause for concern rises, because of the high opportunity of errors happening.  However, there is also the great opportunity to prevent errors by creating an up-to-date medication list to ensure proper patient care.

Other issues that arise begin before patients take medication.  In 2014, a study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine by Dr. Robyn Tamblyn and it revealed that 31% of the patients didn’t even fill their prescriptions in the first place.  This happens quite frequently in the province of Quebec where they have a generous program of government coverage for medications, especially for lower income people, and you’d think that people with rather severe illnesses, recent hospitalizations, or emergency visits would be more likely to take their medications to prevent getting even sicker—but that’s not often the case.

People with chronic diseases, especially ones that are considered “silent” and we don’t notice many of the symptoms such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol—about 1 out of every 2 people actually discontinue taking their medications after a year.  At least 50% of people not taking their medications are missing out on the chance of decreasing their susceptibility of having heart attack or stroke by around 25%.  It’s also important to take note that there are some medications, like antidepressants and other examples, where stopping them suddenly is definitely not a good idea. How you are taking your medications can be as important as what you’re taking.

The adherence to taking your prescribed medication is so important because it could be a choice between preventing a heart attack or stroke—and taking the risk of not following what your healthcare provider has prescribed may lead to further complications or even death.  The approach to explaining to patients on medication adherence must be explored.  It’s not enough to say that:  “This medication lowers your blood pressure”.  Taking more time to say “I’m prescribing this medication because I want you to decrease your chances of having a stroke or heart attack and go on to explain that, “when your blood pressure is high, your heart has to work harder, and it becomes more bulky and stiff.  We don’t want a muscleman for our heart; we want a long distance runner.  So by lowering your blood pressure, we make things easier for your heart, and your brain, and your kidneys too.”

The patient’s role in owning up to medication adherence is the first simple step in gathering an accurate and updated medication list.  Developing the good practice of asking your local pharmacist for advice and working together in reviewing your medication list is a crucial step in reducing patient harm when it comes to taking multiple medications.  Make it easier for yourself by getting all your medication from the same pharmacy.  This helps decrease the potential of overprescribing, adverse drug interactions, and so on.