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The Honest Apothecary

Pharmacy sued in prior authorization case

Jason Poquette RPh, BS Pharm

A recent Massachusetts Supreme Court decision is serving to remind pharmacies and physicians that communication about medications that are not covered is critical. The case involved the tragic death of a 19 year old girl with epilepsy whose insurance (MassHealth) denied a prescription for a seizure drug known as Topamax back in 2009. Because MassHealth denied the prescription, the woman could not obtain the medication which she had been taking regularly before, and this resulted in a series of seizures leading to her death.

New chronic migraine medication approved

Jason Poquette,
BPharm, R.Ph

It was Ben Franklin who quipped that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Thanks to advances in medical science, prevention can now be measured in milligrams rather than ounces. This is the case with a newly approved medication to prevent migraine headaches, a 70mg once-monthly injection which patients can administer themselves.

Some prescription medications hard to stop

By Jason Poquette RPh, BS Pharm
A widely read New York Times article published in April 2018 entitled “Many People Taking Antidepressants Discover They Cannot Quit” has caused concern among patients. Antidepressants, which include prescription medication like fluoxetine (Prozac), citalopram (Celexa), or paroxetine (Paxil) and many others, are frequently prescribed. In fact, as many as 1 in 9 Americans are reportedly taking an antidepressant of some sort. Stopping these medications suddenly, or even slowly, can sometimes be difficult.

Is Ibuprofen really better than Oxycodone?

Jason Poquette,
BPharm, R.Ph

For years the medical community has turned to opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone to treat patients for severe, chronic back, knee or hip pain, particularly when other medications have failed. But a new study published in March 2018 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests opioids may actually be no better than non-narcotic alternatives. At least that is what many of the national newspapers reported.

But has the media gotten it right?

Allow me to explain.

Science confirms the Man Flu

Jason Poquette RPh, BS Pharm

For years it seems men have been accused of exaggerating their cold symptoms. Recently I read a medical satire article about a new hospital “emergency wing” opened exclusively for treating cases of man flu. The comical journalist quipped “It is well known, that this group are particularly severely affected by colds, and therefore need intensive care in order to save their lives.”

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?