This week we have mined the brains trust to get some expert knowledge on some common Pharmacy questions as well as some interesting queries from our contractors and staff.
Our Pharmacist on hand, Justine Siedner from Ipswich Medical Centre Day and Night Chemist, has kept us up-to-date with our general enquiries but as always with these topics please speak to your own doctor or pharmacist for any specific advice.
Are there any medicines that we CAN flush down the toilet? Or should all unused medicines be returned to the pharmacy?
The simple answer is no, you should make a habit of returning all unused/unwanted medicines to your pharmacist for proper disposal. Medicines that are broken down in water are difficult to remove in sewage treatment and can have an adverse effect on marine ecosystems so you definitely shouldn’t flush them.
Similarly, medicines that are thrown in the bin run the risk of being eaten by pets or other animals. They can also deteriorate in landfill and chemicals that are harmful to plant and animal life can seep into the soil.
The best option is to have a pharmacist correctly destroy your medication for free in a way that is safe for the environment. Think about doing a medicine clean out once a quarter.
If you have hay fever and allergies should you change the brand and type of antihistamines regularly to keep them effective?
Yes, people who suffer from hay fever can build up a tolerance to using the same antihistamine over extended periods of time. Changing up your antihistamines should help keep them effective but you only need to do this once every allergy season. Say your allergies flare up in spring, at the start of the season speak to your pharmacist about an antihistamine that’s right for you, and use that same one for the duration of the season. Next time spring rolls around switch to a different antihistamine and you will avoid building up a tolerance.
If you can’t swallow large tablets is it OK to break them up or crush them? If not, why? And which ones are fine to break down?
If you have trouble swallowing pills you should always speak to your pharmacist before crushing or breaking your medicine.
Some medicines are built to have a timed release in your body and crushing or breaking them can ruin the effect of the timed release. Other medicines have a special enteric coating that stops them being broken down in the stomach. Different medications have enteric coating for different reasons, some can be harmful to the stomach, and others can be broken down by stomach acids and become non effective. Crushing or breaking the pill removes its protective seal. In short, make sure you speak to a pharmacist to find a workable solution if you have trouble swallowing pills.
I’ve heard that you shouldn’t have Nurofen on an empty stomach, but Panadol you can – is this correct? Why?
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as Nurofen can cause damage or ulceration to the stomach lining because they attack the enzyme that protects the stomach lining from stomach acids. Taking Nurofen with food reduces the risk of stomach issues occurring.
Panadol uses a completely different active ingredient which works in a different way so it can be taken with or without food.
Our next expert in the running is a Naturopath and with holiday season fast approaching now is a fantastic time to send through any questions you have had at the back of your mind and we will finally be able to answer the age old query; chia seeds or quinoa – which is the superior superfood? And is either of them worth the hype?
October continues as National Safe Work Month so as always, please let me know if there are any particular topics you would love us to look into or you have any queries or concerns.
You can call me on 03 9963 4832 or email me directly.