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Insights from a PHS Pharmacist

October is “American Pharmacist” and “Talk About Your Medications” Month – so who better to ask about the topic than one of our PHS Pharmacists? Steve LaFond, Pharm. D., was kind enough to give helpful answers to medication questions as well as some intriguing insights into the pharmaceutical world. Our pharmacists have extensive experience in medication therapy for newborns, children, and adolescents – you can read more about our recently expanded infusion pharmacy here

Expired Pain Medications

Have you ever wondered if it is safe to take an expired pain medication? According to Steve, medication expiration dates are similar to those of food since they degrade more rapidly post-expiration.  Aspirin will give off a distinct strong vinegar odor, but ibuprofen will have no outward sign. The good news is taking an expired ibuprofen may not be harmful; but you might not get as much pain relief as usual, since the dose has lost its potency.

The Best Medication? Prevention.

BC1_9410When it comes to long-term medications, the best medicine is prevention in the form of proper nutrition and regular physical activity. Medications, with the exception of antibiotics, will treat symptoms and suppress disease, but will not cure disease and will not reverse the already   damaged body system.

Steve adds, “I would love to see the pharmacy profession be as much about the prevention of common ‘lifestyle’ diseases as it is about ensuring proper medication use. This might mean sacrificing the number of prescriptions dispensed, but I believe it would be worth it for a healthier population.”

That being said, you should always take your medication as prescribed, as this will ensure the maximum benefit is achieved. If you are experiencing side effects from your medication, let your provider know rather than just stopping. Some meds cannot be stopped abruptly and your provider can help determine a safe course of action.

But What’s With the Coats?

New PHS PharmacyAnd while Pharmacists are medical experts and the most highly educated health professional in the area of medication, they don’t know it all.

When asked why Pharmacists wear a white coat, Steve replied, “Well doctors and butchers wear them, so why not Pharmacists? Actually I have no idea why we wear them. It could be protection from coffee stains and the variety of pink solutions that seem to find their way onto one’s clothing.”

Thank you for a look behind the pick-up counter, Steve!

Originally published: October 9, 2014