15 Most Frequently Asked Questions in the Pharmacy 2021

written by Dr. Bolanle Aina - Jan 31, 2022
medically reviewed by Dr. Tolulope Olabintan, MD - Mar 2, 2022

Photo Credit: by @CANPharmaWorld
Photo Credit: by @CANPharmaWorld

1) How can I boost my immunity?

Because of the ongoing pandemic, many people are curious to know various ways they can boost their immunity and prevent going down with infections or illnesses. You can boost your immunity by following these tips and tricks: eat healthy and balanced diet; get enough sleep; get regular exercise; take a probiotic, take a multivitamin.

2) What can I take for cold and cough?

With the presence of Covid-19 pandemic, one of the common questions asked at the pharmacy in 2021 is to know what to use for cold, nasal congestion and cough. Because of the extensive overlap between symptoms of Covid-19 and those of cold and flu, it may be difficult to tell the difference. Performing a Covid test is the only way to confirm if it is Covid-19 or not. Regardless, there are a number of cold and flu products that can be used to manage the symptoms such as cough expectorant for wet coughs, cough suppressant for dry cough, nasal decongestants for congestion, and analgesics for the accompanying headache. Some of these medicinal ingredients are combined into one tablet. Be sure to read the labels carefully to confirm which ingredients are present and whether you need the ingredients for your specific symptoms.

3) How long to wait between Covid-19 vaccine and other vaccines?

Initially when Covid-19 vaccines were new, it was advised to separate Covid-19 vaccines from other vaccines by at least 2 weeks. This is mainly to identify and separate the side effects of Covid-19 vaccines from side effects of other Vaccines. Currently, such 2-weeks interval is no more required, you may choose to take a Covid vaccine together with another vaccine if you so wish, as long as you are aware of the possible side effects.

4) What are the side effects of Covid-19 vaccines?

The most commonly reported side effects of vaccines are sore arm, painful site of injections, tiredness, headache and sometimes fever. Other side effects may vary based on the specific type of vaccine taken.

5) How long to wait after Covid-19 infection to get vaccinated?

It is recommended to take whichever dose of Covid-19 vaccine you are due for as soon as you are fully recovered from Covid-19. Although it is expected that you will have some antibodies circulating in your system, better and stronger antibody response is obtained from getting vaccinated.

6) Can my pharmacy deliver my medications?

Due to the pandemic there has been a lot of digital revolution in all sectors of the economy, healthcare inclusive. Most patients are looking for access to healthcare and pharmacy services remotely to avoid going into the clinics and pharmacies in person. There is certainly more demand for medications to be delivered to homes and virtual counselling done by the pharmacists. More pharmacies are providing this option to their patients. Online pharmacies such as Canadian Pharmacy World can fill your medications virtually and deliver it to your home.

7) What can I use for my maskne?

Maskne is the new term to describe acne or skin irritation on the face induced by the constant use of face masks. While this may not be totally avoidable, it can be easily managed by taking the following precautions: wash/cleanse your face twice daily to remove germs; change your mask about every 4 hours or as soon as it feels too wet or moist; wear a clean mask each time; do not pick on the acne; avoid touching your face; moisturize your face before wearing a mask.

8) What can I use for my dry hands?

Frequent hand washing and use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers can cause a lot of irritation on the palms and make it very dry and crusty. To avoid this, use a hand moisturizer every time you wash your hands. If the palms become too itchy, you can use an over-the-counter mild steroid cream to calm the irritation.

9) Can I drink alcohol while on antibiotics?

Alcohol is not generally recommended if you are sick and down with an infection. Some antibiotics e.g. Metronidazole should not be taken with alcohol to prevent serious side effects.

10) Which allergy pill is the best?

There are various allergy pills available on the market. Allergy pills primarily belong to the group of drugs called antihistamines. Diphenhydramine is a 1st generation antihistamine and usually causes significant drowsiness. While second generation antihistamines such as cetirizine, loratadine, desloratadine are less drowsy options. In terms of which allergy pill is the best. It is difficult to say. You may want to stay away from diphenhydramine to avoid drowsiness. Other than that, each allergy pill works differently for different individuals. Therefore, you may just want to try one or the other until you find what works best for you.

11) Which iron pill is best for me?

Most people come to the pharmacy to ask for iron pill, as per advice from their doctors. Sometimes all they have is a vague idea of how low their iron is. Iron pills are available in various doses, so it is important to know how low the iron levels are based on lab tests and then your pharmacist will use this information to determine which iron to choose. In terms of side effects, the higher the dose, the higher the likelihood of side effects such as constipation and stomach upset.

12) Does my new medication interact with my other medications?

Drug interactions are more common than we think. If you are taking more than one medication at a time, ask your pharmacist how the drugs may be interacting with each other. Sometimes your pharmacists will tell you what to watch out for regarding the interaction. And sometimes you may need to separate the medications from each other to manage the interactions. Other times you may have to avoid the combination all together. Talk to your pharmacist and determine how severe the interactions may be.

13) Are generic medications the same as the brand name?

Many patients get concerned when generic products are dispensed to them at the pharmacy, wondering if the generics will work the same way as the brand name. Generic medications have been tested to be safe and effective, and proven to be comparable to the brand name products by regulatory authorities. Because generic manufacturers do not have to invest so much money on the research and marketing, generic products are usually much more affordable. Generic products contain the same active ingredients as brand name but may contain different fillers and inactive ingredients.

14) Can I split my medication into half?

Most medications can be safely split into part depending on the formulation. Extended release tablets which have been formulated within a special matrix may not be splited so as not to tamper with the special release mechanism. Enteric coated tablets, which are coated to be released in specific portion of the gastrointestinal tract, should not be broken or crushed. If you are ever in doubt, ask your pharmacist.

15) Can I take my medication with or without food?

Some drugs need to be taken with food to avoid the stomach upset and nausea side effect e.g. Metformin. Some other drugs needs to be taken on an empty stomach to ensure they are properly absorbed e.g Alendronate and Levothyroxine.



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While the above article is based on thorough research, we do not claim to offer a substitute for medical advice from a qualified healthcare provider. The article was written for information and educational purposes only. We aim to provide helpful information to our readers, but cannot provide a treatment, diagnosis, or consultation of any sort, and we are in no way indicating that any particular drug is safe or appropriate for you and your individual needs. To receive professional medical attention, you must see a doctor.