Skip to main content

The Honest Apothecary

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

New Opioid Laws for Massachusetts

By Jason Poquette, BPharm, R.Ph

From a legislative perspective, no one could accuse Massachusetts of ignoring the growing opioid addiction and overdose epidemic.  Now, in the latest effort, Governor Baker signed into law several new measures to try and stem the tide of this growing problem.  Deaths due to opioid overdose (drugs such as oxycodone and hydrocodone) have been climbing for years in our state.  Nearly 1,100 confirmed opioid overdose deaths occurred in 2014, up 63% since 2012.  The data for 2015 was tracking for yet another sad increase.

Zika Myths go Viral

It was Mark Twain who quipped that “a lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.”  Maybe lie is a bit too strong a word for some of the uncertain information about Zika virus that is spreading online. Claims that the virus is being transmitted by, or linked to, genetically modified mosquitoes released in Brazil in 2012 have been widely publicized. But other organizations committed to separating truth and fiction—like—have debunked the theory.

Massachusetts and the Opioid Overdose Epidemic

By Jason Poquette, BPharm, R.Ph

Medical professionals, law enforcement and politicians are scrambling to address what has been called an “opioid overdose epidemic” in Massachusetts.  Deaths related to the misuse of prescription pain relievers like hydrocodone and oxycodone are on the rise.  In 2012 we saw 668 documented cases of opioid-related overdose deaths.  Last year the number was 1089.  And according to some early research, 2015 looks like it will be even higher.

‘Tis the season...for Medicare Part D!

By Jason Poquette, Bpharm, R.Ph

Soon our green-garbed summer trees will be putting on their golden autumn apparel and covering our dying grass with a blanket of brilliant colors.  We can feel a bit of the nip in the air already.  Fall has arrived, bringing with her all the wonderful things we have come to expect of this time of year in New England: foliage, football and family fun.  And for our seniors, and anyone else eligible for Medicare, this time of year also introduces the enrollment period for Medicare’s prescription drug program, known as Medicare Part D.