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The Honest Apothecary

Treating lower back pain – new guidelines!

By Jason Poquette,
BPharm, R.Ph

Of all the types of pain that pester patients, lower back pain may be the most pestering of them all. Nearly 30% of American adults admit to having some degree of lower back pain in the past 3 months. Lower back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide. And Americans spend a lot of green backs treating bad backs, upwards of $50 billion each year.

Sweet dreams: Insomnia options appear elusive

By Jason Poquette, BPharm, R.Ph

William Shakespeare appears to have understood the discomfort of chronic insomnia when he wrote “O sleep! O gentle sleep! Nature’s soft nurse, how have I frighted thee that thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down?” But you don’t need to be a poet to appreciate the value of a good night’s sleep. According to information provided by the National Institute of Health, depending on your definition, upwards of 30% of adults have some degree of insomnia.

Weight loss help from the pharmacy?

By Jason Poquette, BPharm, R.Ph

So how are those New Year’s Resolutions coming along?  If you are like millions of other Americans you have included some sort of weight loss goal on your list.  This isn’t surprising.  According to statistics from the National Institute of Health, nearly two-thirds of adults are overweight and one-third qualify as obese based on BMI (body mass index). This results in numerous health-related concerns like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

Could a trip to the local pharmacy offer any help? 

Do genes determine your response to drugs?

By Jason Poquette, BPharm, R.Ph

Brad Pitt reportedly claimed to be “one of those people you hate because of genetics.” I’m not sure about that, but I do know that genetics determine much more than our good looks or acting talent.  In fact, they have a profound impact on the way individual patients respond to drugs. This field of study is known as pharmacogenomics, and understanding the unique genetic characteristics of a patient should sometimes influence how and what we prescribe.

Anger Erupts Over Soaring EpiPen® Prices

By Jason Poquette, BPharm, RPh

Drug manufacturer Mylan Labs has come under severe fire lately for the steep price increases for their prescription-only product known as the EpiPen®.  The EpiPen®, a life-saving auto-injection of the drug epinephrine, is used by children and adults at risk of anaphylaxis from severe allergic reactions caused by things like insect stings or food allergies.  The EpiPen® is intended to be carried in case of emergency by at-risk individuals.  The full retail price for this medication has risen from about $100 in 2007 to over $600 today.

What is a Naloxone Rescue Kit?

Currently hundreds of pharmacies across Massachusetts carry something known as a Naloxone Rescue Kit.  At many locations these can be obtained without a prescription due to something known as a “standing order.”  The pharmacy that I personally manage has these kits available for any patients who request one.  They save lives, as attested to by many news stories like the one a few days ago about a New York City police officer who used the kit to revive an otherwise unresponsive individual after a drug overdose.  But in spite of various attempts at advertising, these kits remain larg