quarantine weight gain

By Karen Eisenbraun, CHNC

The coronavirus pandemic has upended our lives in ways that most people wouldn’t have imagined just a few weeks ago. Many of us are finding ourselves stuck at home for the foreseeable future — whether under quarantine or shelter in place order. 

While it may be tempting to abandon all of your good habits until you’re able to leave the house again, maintaining a healthy routine can help bring a sense of normalcy to these uncertain times. And, many of the same habits that support your weight and overall health can also help strengthen your immune system and alleviate stress and anxiety. 

Follow these tips to keep your weight and your health goals on track during a quarantine. 

Develop a Routine

It’s OK if your new routine doesn’t look at all like your old routine. The important thing is to develop a somewhat consistent schedule in order to foster a sense of normalcy even while you’re stuck at home. 

Try to stick to a consistent sleep schedule and get up at the same time every day. Don’t stay up too late or sleep too much. 

If you’re working from home, designate set work hours and stick to them as much as possible. It’s easy to allow work to overflow into non-work hours, and before you know it, spend all your time in front of the computer, either at your desk or on the couch. 

Set Up a Standing Desk

Speaking of sitting all day, that much sedentary time can be detrimental to your waist and your overall health. Even if you get in some exercise later, sedentary behavior is linked to obesity. One study found that obese individuals spent, on average, two more hours sitting than lean individuals. 

If you’re working from home, create a workspace that allows you to stand for at least part of the day. Work at the kitchen countertop or convert your desk into a standing desk with a laptop stand. 

Stay Active Throughout the Day

It can be difficult to work exercise into your day if you’re used to working out at the gym. How do you stick to an exercise routine when you don’t have weights, a treadmill, or a stationary bike? 

Be willing to change up your routine a little. There are plenty of things you can do from home that are still beneficial. The important thing is to move your body.

Have you been wanting to try yoga? Now is the perfect time. Find some beginner yoga videos on YouTube. Yoga can help relieve stress and anxiety, promote better sleep, improve flexibility, increase strength, and promote healthy eating habits that aid in weight loss. 

You can also do body weight exercises, such as push-ups, squats, lunges, and planks. If you have small hand weights, hold a weight in each hand while you do walking lunges.

Getting your daily 10,000 steps may also be a challenge during this time, but it’s not impossible. If you’re working or binge-watching your favorite shows, set an alarm to get up and walk around the house at least once an hour. And you can still go for a walk or a run outside — just stay at least six feet away from others. If the sun is out, you’ll get the added bonus of getting some vitamin D, which helps fight respiratory infections

Eat Mindfully

When you’re stressed and stuck at home, it’s easy to lose track of what you’re eating. Avoid falling into the habit of eating whatever you want, whenever you want. Plan and prepare meals just like you normally would.  

Get a handle on snacking by storing surplus food out of sight. If you have cookies, candy, and potato chips sitting out on the counter, it’s all too easy to grab some every time you walk by. When you do snack, put a single portion into a bowl instead of sitting down with the entire bag. 

Manage Stress

Chronic stress leads to elevated cortisol levels, which can cause weight gain, particularly in the abdominal region. It’s perfectly normal to feel stress, anxiety, and even grief in these uncertain times. Our lives have changed, and even though we know it’s temporary, we don’t know when things will go back to normal.

Make self-care a priority and give yourself some grace if you can’t accomplish everything you want to in a day. Yoga can help with stress, as can meditation. Sit in a quiet space and breathe deeply. If you’re feeling anxious, anchor yourself in the present moment by looking around the room and naming five things you can see, four things you can hear, three things you can feel, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. 

Set aside some time every day to engage in an activity that helps relieve stress, whether that’s reading, journaling, or doing something creative. 

Refill Important Prescriptions

Don’t let important prescriptions run out during this time. ScriptSave® WellRx makes it easy to manage your prescriptions and save money on medications, even during a quarantine. Easily locate the lowest price for your medications at more than 65,000 pharmacies nationwide. Even pharmacies across the street from each other can have huge price differences. Our aim is to bring transparency to prescription medication pricing, helping consumers keep more money in their pockets. ScriptSave has been helping consumers save on their prescriptions for 25 years.

Creating a ScriptSave account is free and easy, doesn’t require a credit card, and you can cancel at any time. Learn more

Karen Eisenbraun is a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant. She holds an English degree from Knox College and has written extensively about topics related to holistic health, clinical nutrition, and weight management.

References: 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15681386/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3485681/

https://www.bmj.com/content/356/bmj.i6583

https://hbr.org/2020/03/that-discomfort-youre-feeling-is-grief

5 common rx questions - wellrx blog image

By Rosanna Sutherby, PharmD

Many people have questions and concerns about their medications. Part of my work as a pharmacist involves helping patients navigate the complexities of their medication regimens. The following are the five questions that I hear most commonly at the pharmacy.

1. Can I Drink Alcohol While Taking My Medication?

Many medications interact with alcohol. Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant and can increase the drowsiness effect of some medicines. It can also cause nausea and vomiting with some medications, and increase the risk of bleeding with others. Because it is metabolized by your liver, alcohol can interact with other medicines that are also processed through the liver. Mixing alcohol with these medicines can decrease their effectiveness as well, or even make them toxic.

You should avoid drinking alcohol if you are taking any the following medications:

  • sleeping pills, such as zolpidem (Ambien), eszopiclone (Lunesta), and temazepam (Restoril)
  • anxiety medication, such as alprazolam (Xanax), lorazepam (Ativan), and diazepam (Valium)
  • antidepressants, such as fluoxetine (Prozac), citalopram (Celexa), and venlafaxine (Effexor)
  • attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications, such as methylphenidate (Concerta, Ritalin) and amphetamine/dextroamphetamine (Adderall)
  • warfarin (Coumadin)
    Related: Losing the War on Warfarin
  • muscle relaxants, such as cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril) and Carisoprodol (Soma)
    Related: Medications to Treat Low Back Pain
  • seizure medicine, such as gabapentin (Neurontin), topiramate (Topamax), and lamotrigine (Lamictal)
  • antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), loratadine (Claritin), and cetirizine (Zyrtec)
  • nausea medicine, such as meclizine (Antivert) and promethazine (Phenergan)
  • opioid pain medication, such as hydrocodone and oxycodone
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve), meloxicam (Mobic), and celecoxib (Celebrex)
  • acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • diabetes medication, such as glyburide, metformin, and glipizide (Glucotrol)
  • metronidazole (Flagyl)

This list does not include all medicines that may interact with alcohol. Talk with your pharmacist or healthcare provider about the effect of alcohol on your medication.

2. Should I Take My Medication With Food?

It is wise to take some medications with a meal to prevent upset stomach; however, not all drugs should be taken with food. Some medicines work better when taken with a meal, while others require an empty stomach to obtain the best effect.

  • Antibiotics: Take antibiotics with food to minimize diarrhea and upset stomach. Do not take fluoroquinolones (ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, moxifloxacin, gemifloxacin, and ofloxacin) with milk or other products that contain cations (e.g., calcium, magnesium, and aluminum).
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol): You can take acetaminophen with or without food; however, the medication is absorbed faster when taken on an empty stomach.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Always take NSAIDs with food to decrease the risk of stomach bleeding.
  • Antihistamines: Antihistamines, such as fexofenadine (Allegra), loratadine (Claritin), and cetirizine (Zyrtec) work better if you take them on an empty stomach.
  • Antidiabetic medications: To prevent episodes of low blood sugar, you should take medication to treat diabetes with your first meal of the day or 30 minutes before meals.
  • Thyroid medicine: Thyroid medication, such as levothyroxine (Synthroid, Levoxyl, Unithroid) should be taken first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
  • Medication for osteoporosis (porous, brittle bones): Bisphosphonates (drugs that slow down bone loss), such as alendronate (Fosamax), risedronate (Actonel), and ibandronate (Boniva) must be taken on an empty stomach with a full glass of water 30 to 60 minutes before eating or taking any other medication.
  • Iron supplements: Iron is absorbed better in an acidic environment; therefore, take it on an empty stomach for maximum absorption. However, if you cannot tolerate iron on an empty stomach, you can take it with food.

3. Can I Take Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen With My Antibiotic?

Generally, you can take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to reduce fever or pain while taking most antibiotics. However, you should avoid ibuprofen and other NSAIDs if you are taking a fluoroquinolone antibiotic, such as the following:

  • ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
  • levofloxacin (Levaquin)
  • moxifloxacin (Avelox)
  • gemifloxacin (Factive)
  • ofloxacin (Floxin)

4. I Forgot to Take My Medicine! What Should I Do?

Generally, if you forget to take your medicine, you can take your medication as soon as you remember if it is not close to the time for your next dose. Do not double your dose, except in the case of oral contraceptives. You can take two birth control pills if you miss one dose. If you miss more than one dose, follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Talk to your pharmacist for more specific instructions on what to do if you forget to take your medicine.

5. Does My Insurance Cover My Medication?

Insurance plans have formularies that help determine what medications will be covered. Often, these formularies are further divided into tiers that represent different out-of-pocket pricing for the medicines. The cost of your medication may depend on your coverage and the tier in which it falls.

If your insurance does not cover your medication or if your medicine falls into a high tier, prescription discount cards can offer prescription savings.

What Are Prescription Discount Cards?

Prescription discount cards, or prescription savings cards, help you obtain the lowest prescription price for your medication. If your insurance does not cover your medication or the cost is too high on insurance, a free Rx savings card may save you up to 80% or more off the retail price. You can use the ScriptSave WellRx discount card for the best prescription savings at a pharmacy near you.

Rosanna Sutherby is a freelance medical writer who has been a practicing pharmacist in her community for close to 20 years. She obtained her Doctor of Pharmacy from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. She utilizes her clinical training in the pharmacy, where she helps patients manage disease states such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and many others. Dr. Sutherby reviews and recommends drug regimens based on patients’ concurrent conditions and potential drug interactions.

References:

https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/harmful-interactions-mixing-alcohol-with-medicines

www.wellrx.com/hn/us/assets/health-condition/insomnia/~default/

www.wellrx.com/hn/us/assets/health-condition/anxiety/~default/

www.wellrx.com/hn/us/assets/health-condition/depression/~default/

www.wellrx.com/hn/us/assets/health-condition/epilepsy/~default/

www.wellrx.com/hn/us/assets/health-condition/motion-sickness/~default/

www.wellrx.com/hn/us/assets/health-condition/type-2-diabetes/~default

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3191675/

www.wellrx.com/prescriptions/

www.wellrx.com/family-prescription-savingswww.wellrx.com/prescription-discount-card

peripheral neuropathy treatment - wellrx blog image

By Elizabeth Binsfield, BA, RN

Neuropathy is a disease or malfunction affecting nerves. Many people suffer the discomfort of neuropathy, which causes tingling, weakness, numbness, and even pain, due to damage to nerves. It can also lead to dysfunction in organs, causing issues with waste elimination and sexual function.

There are four classifications of neuropathy, but the one most commonly experienced is peripheral neuropathy, which primarily affects the hands and feet. While it can be caused by traumatic injury, infection, chemotherapy, metabolic issues, or even heredity, it’s most often caused by diabetes. The loss of sensation caused by neuropathy can result in problems with muscle tone in the feet or hands, and left untreated, can even result in infection due to inability to feel an injury. For this reason, people suffering from peripheral neuropathy need to inspect affected areas often.

How Neuropathy is Diagnosed

Doctors look for common similar complaints related to neuropathy, so your doctor will want to do a thorough assessment and examination of your nerve reflexes. Being able to describe your symptoms clearly will help tremendously. There are additional blood, imaging, and nerve function tests that your doctor may order to obtain more information to help with diagnosis. Further testing may be done by obtaining biopsy samples of nerves or skin.

What Can Alleviate Neuropathy?

Once neuropathy is diagnosed, your doctor will want to determine the cause. If there’s no apparent underlying cause, they may want to wait to see if the neuropathy will resolve on its own. If the neuropathy is related to diabetes, your doctor will want you to stabilize your diabetes before treating the neuropathy. Diabetic neuropathy can’t be cured, but you can prevent it from worsening.

Natural Relief

Sometimes neuropathy responds to simple natural treatments, such as vitamin supplementation. The B vitamins are crucial for nerve health, as is vitamin D.

An ingredient in cayenne pepper, capsaicin, has been found to be helpful for some people in relieving various inflammatory pains. Some add cayenne to their diets, some take capsaicin supplements, and others use topical analgesic gels that are available over the counter.

Talk With Your Doctor

Regardless of the over-the-counter treatment you choose to try, it’s crucial to first discuss it with your doctor. Even over-the-counter medications and treatments can cause other problems for people with certain medical diagnoses, or interact with prescription medications. Although a substance may be “natural,” it can still have the potential to cause problems for some people, depending on their health history and prescribed medications.

Smoke Out

If you’re a smoker or a vaper, quitting smoking will improve your circulation. Smoking increases clotting in your blood, which can inhibit proper circulation and even cause dangerous clots. Smoking also causes diabetes to progress more rapidly in those who do smoke. Smoking causes your skin, organs, and other tissues to receive far less oxygen-rich and nutritious blood, leading to unhealthy looking skin, organ dysfunction, and other issues. And those suffering from neuropathy particularly need healthy blood circulation to supply their nerves with vitamins and pain medication, where applicable.

Warm baths and compresses can help with neuropathic pain as they stimulate circulation, thus reducing the discomfort. However, be careful with bath temperature if you’re not sensitive to temperature due to neuropathy; water that’s too hot can be harmful.

Neuropathy Treatment Options

Neuropathy is treated medically with a variety of medications. Some of those include:

  • Pain relievers, including nonprescription over-the-counter pain analgesics such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, may offer some relief from the discomfort of neuropathy. For greater discomfort, your doctor may prescribe something stronger.
  • Medications containing narcotics can lead to dependence and even addiction, so doctors avoid prescribing these unless nothing else provides relief.
  • Anti-seizure medications, such as those developed to treat epilepsy, may help alleviate nerve pain.
  • Topical treatments, including capsaicin, as mentioned above, and lidocaine cream or patches may help with discomfort, but some people may not be able to tolerate them.
  • Antidepressants are being used more commonly to relieve pain with good results for many people.

Treatments and Therapies

Therapies for neuropathy include the use of a TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) machine. A TENS machine is a small device with electrodes that attach to the skin. There isn’t a tremendous amount of research on TENS use for neuropathy, and not everyone receives relief with this therapy, but those who do find it worthwhile.

Physical therapy can benefit neuropathy sufferers by reducing neuropathic pain and decreasing blood sugar. According to the Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy, a comprehensive plan for exercise is best; it should incorporate aerobic, flexibility, strength training, and balance exercises.

Support for Neuropathy Sufferers

It can be helpful to speak with others who also have to manage neuropathic pain. Support groups offer an opportunity to share ideas and experiences with other people who understand your situation. You can search for groups in your area or learn how to start your own group.

Elizabeth Binsfield, RN, is a Richmond, Virginia, based registered nurse and freelance healthcare writer, who has more than 20 years of experience in medical-surgical acute care nursing, wound care, geriatrics, and home and hospice care. She received her nursing degree from Northern Virginia Community College.

References:

https://www.emedicinehealth.com/neuropathy/article_em.htm

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14737-neuropathy

https://www.everydayhealth.com/neuropathy/guide/symptoms/

https://www.emedicinehealth.com/neuropathy/article_em.htm#4_types_of_neuropathy

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/peripheral-neuropathy

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/peripheral-neuropathy/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20352067

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/peripheral-neuropathy/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20352067

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/peripheral-neuropathy

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-benefits-of-cayenne-pepper#section6

https://www.healthline.com/health/smoking/effects-on-body#1

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/peripheral-neuropathy/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20352067

https://www.wellrx.com/prescriptions/acetaminophen/20986%20woodmere%20drive,%20leonardtown,%20md,%20usa

https://www.wellrx.com/prescriptions/ibuprofen/20986%20woodmere%20drive,%20leonardtown,%20md,%20usa

https://www.wellrx.com/prescriptions/capsaicin/20986%20woodmere%20drive,%20leonardtown,%20md,%20usa

https://www.wellrx.com/prescriptions/lidocaine%20plus/

https://www.patientcareonline.com/diabetes-type-2/tens-diabetic-peripheral-neuropathy-efficacy-and-drawbacks

https://www.foundationforpn.org/living-well/lifestyle/exercise-and-physical-therapy/

https://www.foundationforpn.org/

https://www.foundationforpn.org/living-well/support-groups/

erectile dysfunction - wellrx blog image

By Libby Pellegrini MMS, PA-C

When it comes to medications to treat erectile dysfunction, Viagra and Cialis are the consistent brand leaders. These medications were traditionally only available at extraordinarily high price points, in the range of $60 to $70 per tablet. However, as patents have expired and generic competitors have entered the field, they have become more affordable.

Read on to learn more about Viagra, Cialis, and their generic equivalents.

What Is a Generic Medication?

A generic medication is mandated by the FDA to possess the same active ingredients and to function in the exact same manner as its branded equivalent. In this way, generic medications and branded medications are essentially identical in terms of dosages, administration routes, quality, and performance. There may be subtle differences, such as the coloring or shape of the tablet, but these do not affect the function.

Despite the increased competition offered by generic medications, prices for prescription erectile dysfunction medications still tend to vary wildly. In fact, pharmacologic research has focused on the erectile dysfunction medication category specifically, as this class of medications is notorious for differential pricing.

Viagra or Generic Viagra (Sildenafil)?

In the case of Viagra, colloquially known as “the little blue pill,” its generic equivalent, sildenafil, is not blue-colored, but white.

Both Viagra and sildenafil affect the user’s response to sexual stimulation by inhibiting the breakdown of chemicals that relax the smooth muscle of the penis and increase penile blood flow. These medications do not cause erections, but they do prolong erections when they are achieved in the traditional manner.

Both Viagra and sildenafil should be taken once daily as needed, about one hour before sexual activity. Neither should be taken if a user is taking any form of nitrate for chest pain. These medications may also be prescribed for other indications, such as pulmonary arterial hypertension, or even premature ejaculation.

There are no significant differences in the function of these two medications; however, there can be significant differences in the price of Viagra and sildenafil. The patent for Viagra, manufactured by Pfizer, expired in 2017, meaning that a flood of generic competitors entered the market, driving down generic pricing. At a single pharmacy, the cost for one pill of Viagra may be $70, whereas the cost for a pill of sildenafil is $4.

Don’t get overwhelmed by these stunning discrepancies. It can be difficult to navigate the prescription drug landscape, but you don’t have to do it alone. You can use a ScriptSave® WellRx savings card to find the lowest price for your medication, down to the level of your own zip code. On the ScriptSave WellRx site, you can easily compare the prices of these two medications, Viagra and sildenafil, to see which option may be more suitable for you.

Cialis or Generic Cialis (Tadalafil)?

Another population option in the treatment of erectile dysfunction in men is Cialis. In 2018, a generic version of Cialis, tadalafil, entered the US market, driving down the price of this blockbuster medication.

Both Cialis and tadalafil have the same mechanism of action as Viagra and sildenafil; they prevent the breakdown of the chemicals that are responsible for the smooth muscle relaxation and increased penile blood flow that trigger an erection during sexual stimulation. They have similar contraindications too, meaning that they should not be combined with nitrates for chest pain. Cialis and tadalafil may also be prescribed for other indications, such as pulmonary arterial hypertension and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

Cialis and tadalafil differ from Viagra and sildenafil in their dosing. At a low dose, they can be taken daily, without specific regard to planned sexual activity. They can also be taken on an as-needed basis, at least 30 minutes before sexual activity.

If your healthcare provider prescribes you one of these two medications, make sure to visit ScriptSave WellRx. You can realize up to 80% in prescription savings by comparing the price of Cialis and tadalafil.

Some people save a little, and some people save a lot. But, for erectile dysfunction medications in particular, there can be vastly different prices—which means it is definitely worth your while to investigate prior to heading to your local pharmacy.

References:

US Food and Drug Administration. Generic Drug Facts.

Journal of Sexual Medicine. Variability in Prices for Erectile Dysfunction Medications-Are All Pharmacies the Same?

International Journal of Impotence Research. Sildenafil/Viagra in the treatment of premature ejaculation.

Libby Pellegrini is a nationally certified physician assistant. She currently works in emergency medicine where she sees and treats a broad spectrum of illnesses across all age ranges. She holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University.

covid-19 blog image

Due to the recent spread of COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus), people across the United States are being urged to stay home to help control this highly contagious disease. Social distancing and self isolation have led to concerns about accessing basic necessities, including prescription medications. 

Here’s what you need to know about getting your medications during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Medications to Buy in Preparation for Coronavirus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a two-week supply of your prescription medications to prepare for potential isolation. Some healthcare experts suggest getting as much as a 90-day supply.

Ready.gov also advises everyone to have over-the-counter medications on hand while distancing themselves from the public. Consider buying OTC medicines that you might need in case of illness, such as pain relievers and cough and cold medications.

Obtaining an Emergency Supply of Rx Medications

Many people are concerned about running out of their medications while staying at home. In response to this, insurance companies are modifying their policies. Many insurers have waived their early refill limits on 30-day prescriptions. Some have also waived co-pays for certain services such as testing for COVID-19.

If your insurance policy hasn’t exempted you from the refill limit, ask your doctor to write you a 90-day prescription so that you have enough medication to last through an extended period of social distancing. Note, this may not be possible for certain medications such as opioids and other controlled substances. 

If you have a prescription that cannot be refilled early or extended, have a conversation with your doctor about getting an emergency Rx refill in case of COVID-19 quarantine.

Refilling your prescription? Don’t pay full price.

How to Get Your Prescriptions While in COVID-19 Isolation

If you are isolating yourself at home due to Novel Coronavirus and you need Rx medication, there are several ways to get your prescriptions safely.

  1. Have prescription drugs shipped to you. Some pharmacies, including Walgreens and CVS, are waiving prescription delivery fees amid the COVID-19 crisis.
  2. Order your medication from a mail-order pharmacy covered by your insurance plan.
  3. If your pharmacy doesn’t offer home delivery or mail-order services, you can transfer your Rx to a different pharmacy that provides these options.
  4. If you must physically go to the pharmacy for your medication, use the drive-through to minimize exposure.

Using Rx Discount Cards with Pharmacy Home Delivery

Patients utilizing pharmacy home-delivery services can still use drug discount cards on their Rx orders. To do so, simply provide the ID, BIN, PCN, and/or GROUP number displayed on your savings card when submitting a prescription request online or over the phone. 

Several major retail pharmacies, including CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid, are already offering medication delivery services to customers across the U.S. Some are even providing this service for free during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Use our drugstore locator to view a complete list of nearby pharmacies accepting the ScriptSave WellRx card.

What If I Need My Doctor to Write a Prescription While in Isolation?

In light of COVID-19, doctor’s offices are asking patients to call ahead if they have a fever or are experiencing symptoms of a respiratory illness. Many healthcare providers are advising patients to stay home if symptoms can be effectively managed at home. These new policies may disrupt some of your routinely-scheduled doctor’s appointments. However, you should still be able to obtain the prescriptions you need.

Call your doctor and ask about getting a new prescription if you need it. They can call the prescription into the pharmacy for you. Be sure to let your doctor know if you’ve switched pharmacies to take advantage of mail-order services. 

You could also use a telehealth platform to consult with a doctor over the internet. However, keep in mind that not all drugs can be prescribed via telehealth, and laws about telehealth vary by state.

Could Pharmacies Close Due to Coronavirus?

As of this article’s publication date March 22, 2020, there has been no news of pharmacy closures in the U.S. due to Coronavirus. In countries such as Italy where the confirmed presence of COVID-19 is more widespread, pharmacies have remained open along with grocery stores, as these businesses are considered “life sustaining.”

There have also been fears of drug shortages, especially for medications that are made in China or have ingredients from China. As of the writing of this article, the FDA has reported only one drug that is facing shortages due to Coronavirus. The FDA did not name the drug, but stated that there are alternatives to this medication available. The agency is actively monitoring the supply of prescription medications and medical devices.

Related: What to Know About Coronavirus


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Researchers and doctors are working to find an effective treatment for the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19. The latest studies have been looking at several existing prescription drugs as a potential treatment. Many of these drugs are affordable and easily accessible.  

It’s important to note that none of these medications have been approved for treatment of COVID-19, and the results of these existing studies are inconclusive. Furthermore, it is imperative to understand that such medications, when used without a prescription and supervision of a healthcare provider, can cause serious health consequences, including death.

Nevertheless, although the study results presented here are for informational purposes only – there is still no cure for COVID-19 – they present opportunity for new (and relatively rapid) avenues of exploration as pharmaceutical companies across the globe pour resources into finding effective treatments for patients showing symptoms of this pandemic.

Hydroxychloroquine

Hydroxychloroquine is currently used to treat and prevent malaria. Recently, French researchers used this drug in a trial of 24 patients. The study found that 90% of the patients who were given a placebo still carried the virus after six days, while only 25% of patients that took hydroxychloroquine still carried the disease.

In the United States, the University of Minnesota started a hydroxychloroquine trial with 1,500 people. The trial is studying whether the drug can be used for prevention or to reduce severity of symptoms.

Chloroquine

Like hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine is used to treat malaria. It is also prescribed for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Clinical trials conducted in China indicate that Chloroquine may be effective and safe for treating COVID-19 associated pneumonia, but this has not been confirmed.

Expanded Access to Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine in the U.S.

President Trump has announced that both chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine will be available by prescription “almost immediately.” Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Stephen Hahn clarified that the drugs would be available for compassionate use only, which is different from FDA approval.

Compassionate use is mainly for terminally ill patients. However, Hahn said that the FDA would gather data from compassionate use of these drugs to see if they could be an effective treatment for COVID-19.

Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned against using chloroquine phosphate to treat coronavirus in official guidance, after the agency learned that the substance killed one person and left another critically ill. CDC said, “Clinicians and public health officials should discourage the public from misusing non-pharmaceutical chloroquine phosphate (a chemical used in home aquariums).”

Have you been prescribed Hydroxychloroquine or Chloroquine?

Lopinavir-ritonavir

Patients in a trial at Jin Yin-Tan Hospital, Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, were given either standard care for COVID-19, or standard care plus the drug lopinavir–ritonavir. Pharmaceutical manufacturer AbbVie donated the medication (which they manufacture under the brand Kaletra). 

The results indicated no benefits to using lopinavir–ritonavir. However, some researchers believe that lopinavir–ritonavir could be more effective if administered earlier on; the participants in the trial had already been symptomatic for two weeks.

Remdesivir

The National Institutes of Health reported that the antiviral remdesivir is being used in a trial of adults hospitalized for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) in Omaha. It is still too early to tell what, if any, results will come from this trial.

 Related: Getting Your Prescriptions While in COVID-19 Isolation 

Losartan

The University of Minnesota also started a trial of a hypertension drug called losartan to see if it can help prevent organ failure in COVID-19 patients. They are also testing whether it can prevent patients from needing to be hospitalized.

Researchers have looked at losartan because it is an angiotensin receptor 1 (AT1R) blocker. This could potentially block an enzyme COVID-19 uses to bind to cells. 

While there is still no cure or vaccine for novel coronavirus (COVID-19), researchers are working diligently to find a safe, effective treatment. Some of these common prescription medications showed promising potential in clinical trials and studies. Though the results are not conclusive, they give hope that there will soon be a commonly available treatment for COVID-19 (although it is imperative that individuals do not attempt to self-medicate with these, or any other, prescription medications. Rather, all Rx drugs should only ever be taken after consultation with, and following guidance from, a licensed doctor and pharmacist).

Related: What to Know About Coronavirus

ScriptSave WellRx Response to COVID-19

At ScriptSave WellRx, we are committed to helping people access their medications, regardless of insurance coverage. We provide prescription discounts at tens-of-thousands of pharmacies across the United States, and we will continue to do so in the midst of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Patients with or without insurance can read detailed information about the various medications they or their loved ones are prescribed (including details about adverse interactions with other medications and/or lifestyle interactions), without cost or obligation, by visiting the WellRx.com website or mobile app. Furthermore, while using our free tools, all patients can also get an instant second opinion on their out-of-pocket prescription costs, without obligation.

While no medicine has yet been approved as a treatment for COVID-19 at the time of writing this article, staying healthy and keeping your immune system in top shape are important during stressful times. The free Grocery Guidance module within the ScriptSave WellRx mobile app can help.

ScriptSave WellRx Grocery Guidance

Designed to automatically translate the information contained in the nutritional facts panel of most food labels, patients who use ScriptSave WellRx Grocery Guidance can get an immediate assessment of how well their preferred food products align with their desired health outcomes.

The technology in the ScriptSave WellRx mobile app uses peer-reviewed nutritional research and clinical data to connect health conditions (and related nutritional guidelines) to the nutritional product attributes of hundreds-of-thousands of grocery items on sale across the U.S. By doing so, this sophisticated nutrition and wellness tool can help take the guesswork out of reviewing a food label for patients who need to translate the label-data to their own personal health condition.

The mobile app presents users with an easy-to-interpret ‘Food Index’ that shows how well each product aligns with personal nutritional goals, as well as presenting alternative food suggestions for consideration, under a ‘Better-For-You’ heading.

In short, ScriptSave WellRx Grocery Guidance provides universal access to a highly advanced (but simple-to-use) tool that allows any grocery shopper the ability to interpret a standardized food label in a personalized way – instantly.

This puts ScriptSave WellRx in a unique position to provide help to those wanting to get on a path to healthier eating and grocery choices, at a time when staying healthy and keeping the immune system in top shape are more important than ever.



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low back pain relief - blog image - wellrx

By Libby Pellegrini MMS, PA-C

Low back pain is one of the most common conditions that bring people in to see their healthcare providers, and about 40 percent of adults will experience low back pain at some point in their lives.

When it comes to treating low back pain, the numbers talk. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that low back and neck pain accounts for the largest amount of healthcare-related spending in the United States compared to 153 other health conditions, with Americans spending more than $134 billion dollars annually on these conditions.

Some treatment options, such as muscle relaxants and other medications, can be less expensive than more invasive therapies like targeted injections and other procedures.

Read on to learn more about muscle relaxers and other medications used to treat low back pain.

Muscle Relaxers

A muscle relaxant medication targets the skeletal muscles, which are the types of muscle cells at issue when it comes to low back pain. Muscle relaxants can provide both analgesia (pain relief) and a degree of muscle relaxation, which can reduce muscle spasms.

Many types of muscle relaxants are available. Common muscle relaxers include cyclobenzaprine, methocarbamol, carisoprodol, baclofen, metaxalone, and tizanidine. Generally, a muscle relaxant is prescribed in addition to a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication, and it is usually used as second-line therapy after an initial trial of just an NSAID.

Muscle relaxants can cause sedation, so they are generally not prescribed in combination with other sedating medications. If you are taking a muscle relaxant, you should not operate heavy machinery (including a motor vehicle) or perform other activities that would be dangerous if you were to fall asleep. This side effect tends to be more pronounced in older adults, so muscle relaxants are used with extreme caution in those 65 years of age and older.

If you are prescribed a muscle relaxant to help with low back pain, make sure to use ScriptSave® WellRx to save up to 80% at the pharmacy.

NSAIDs

An NSAID, also known as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, is one of the initial mainstays of treatment of low back pain. Commonly used NSAIDs include ibuprofen and naproxen. These medications are available over the counter, and they can also be prescribed. Make sure to take them with food, and in coordination with any other guidelines from your healthcare provider, as they can have significant renal, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal side effects.

When it comes to treating low back pain, other non-NSAID over-the-counter pain relievers, such as Tylenol (acetaminophen or paracetamol), have not shown much success. However, if no other medication can be safely taken because of allergies or other health problems, a medicine like acetaminophen may still be worth a trial.

Stronger pain medications, such as opiates, or tramadol, have historically been used to treat low back pain; however, the evidence for their effectiveness is mixed. Many clinicians no longer prescribe opiates for low back pain because of the profound risks involved with the entire medication class.

Topical Medications

A topical medication that is applied to the skin, instead of being taken by mouth, may also sometimes be used for treatment of low back pain. These medications can be useful because they provide targeted therapy at the exact site of the pain and may not have as many associated side effects as medications that are taken by mouth and processed by the liver.

Topical NSAIDs, such as diclofenac (Volteran) gel, have been found to be efficacious in helping improve low back pain. Other topical medications, such as capsaicin cream, or lidocaine (Lidoderm) patches, may also be effective.

Putting It All Together

The above medications, paired with heat/cold therapy, massage, gentle activity, and avoidance of bed rest, can be very effective at managing low back pain. Most low back pain will resolve before 6 weeks. If you have back pain that persists beyond this or worsens, or if you have new concerning associated symptoms (such as a fever, weight loss, numbness or weakness of the legs, problems walking, or bowel or bladder changes), check in with your healthcare provider immediately.

Libby Pellegrini is a nationally certified physician assistant. She currently works in emergency medicine where she sees and treats a broad spectrum of illnesses across all age ranges. She holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University.

References:

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25395111

jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2762309

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103716/

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=27271789

www.health.harvard.edu/blog/opiates-no-solution-back-pain-201606209821

jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2492858?widget=personalizedcontent&previousarticle=2762309

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21104944

medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002119.htm



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pantoprazole vs. omeprazole - wellrx blog image

By Rosanna Sutherby, PharmD

What is the difference between pantoprazole and omeprazole? Is one better than the other? We often hear these questions in the pharmacy. Pantoprazole (Protonix) and omeprazole (Prilosec) are both medications used to treat heartburn and other stomach conditions. They are in the same category of drugs and work similarly; however, there are a few differences between the two. Before you head to a pharmacy near you for stomach acid relief, read the following comparison of pantoprazole and omeprazole.

What Type of Medication Are Pantoprazole and Omeprazole?

Pantoprazole and omeprazole both fall in the category of drugs known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). PPIs help reduce stomach acid by working directly in the stomach to decrease acid production.

What Do Pantoprazole and Omeprazole Treat?

Pantoprazole can be used in patients 5 years and older and is indicated for the following conditions:

  • Treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition in which the muscle in the lower esophagus (the tube that connects your throat to your stomach) is weakened, allowing stomach acid to pass into the esophagus. The stomach acid causes heartburn and irritation in the esophagus
  • To help heal erosive esophagitis (inflammation and irritation of the esophagus) in patients with GERD
  • Treatment of Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, a condition in which the stomach secretes too much acid

Omeprazole can be used in patients 1 year and older and is indicated for the following conditions:

  • Treatment of GERD
  • To help heal erosive esophagitis in patients with GERD
  • Treatment of Zollinger-Ellison syndrome and other conditions in which your stomach secretes too much acid
  • Part of a treatment regimen to treat stomach or intestinal ulcers caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)

How Fast Do Pantoprazole and Omeprazole Work?

  • Pantoprazole: You may start to see the effects of pantoprazole about two and a half hours after taking your first dose; however, it may take about seven days to feel the full impact of the medication. The effects of pantoprazole can last for up to seven days after you stop the medicine.
  • Omeprazole: You may start to feel the effects of omeprazole one to two hours after taking the medication, but you may not feel full relief until you have been taking omeprazole for about four consecutive days. The effects of omeprazole can last for up to five days after you stop the medicine.

What Are the Side Effects of Pantoprazole and Omeprazole?

Pantoprazole and omeprazole generally have similar side effects. The most common side effects of both drugs include the following:

  • headache
  • diarrhea
  • stomach pain
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • gas

In addition, osteoporosis-related bone fractures have been associated with long-term use of all PPIs.

Pantoprazole can cause dizziness, joint pain, dry mouth, and blurred vision.

Omeprazole has been associated with diarrhea related to Clostridium difficile (C. diff), an infection that causes watery diarrhea accompanied by fever and stomach cramping.

This list does not represent all possible side effects. A conversation with your pharmacist will help you understand the side effects of your medications.

What Medications Interact with Pantoprazole and Omeprazole?

The choice between pantoprazole and omeprazole may be affected by drug interactions with other medications that you are taking. Some medicines interact with both pantoprazole and omeprazole, and others interact with one and not the other.

Both pantoprazole and omeprazole interact with the following medications:

  • antifungals, such as ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), and voriconazole (Vfend)
  • atazanavir (Reyataz, Evotaz)
  • iron supplements
  • methotrexate
  • nelfinavir (Viracept)
  • warfarin (Coumadin)

In addition, pantoprazole can produce false-positive results in urine tests for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Omeprazole can also interact with the following medications:

  • anxiety medications, such as diazepam (Valium)
  • citalopram (Celexa)
  • clopidogrel (Plavix)
  • cyclosporine (Neoral, Gengraf, Sandimmune)
  • diuretics (water pills)
  • rifampin (Rifadin, Rifamate)
  • St. John’s wort
  • tacrolimus (Prograf)

The above is not a complete list of drug interactions. Talk with your pharmacist or a health care provider for more information about drugs that may interact with your medication.

Does Pantoprazole Work Better Than Omeprazole?

Generally, pantoprazole and omeprazole are equally effective. Studies comparing pantoprazole and omeprazole have found pantoprazole as effective as omeprazole in treating GERD as well as treating stomach ulcers.

How Much Do Pantoprazole and Omeprazole Cost?

The cost of pantoprazole and omeprazole varies based on your insurance coverage, where you live, and where you shop. Some insurance plans may not cover omeprazole because it is available over the counter. When you compare prescription prices, the average retail cost for thirty pantoprazole 40-mg tablets is about $69. The average retail cost for thirty omeprazole 20-mg capsules is about $46. If your insurance does not cover your medication, you can use a prescription discount card to get the lowest prescription price at a pharmacy near you.

How Do Prescription Discount Cards Work?

Prescription discount cards, or prescription savings cards, help you obtain the lowest prescription price for your medication. If your insurance does not cover your medication or the cost is too high on insurance, a free Rx savings card may save you up to 80% or more off the retail price. You can use the ScriptSave® WellRx discount card for the best prescription savings at a pharmacy near you.

Rosanna Sutherby is a freelance medical writer who has been a practicing pharmacist in her community for close to 20 years. She obtained her Doctor of Pharmacy from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. She utilizes her clinical training in the pharmacy, where she helps patients manage disease states such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and many others. Dr. Sutherby reviews and recommends drug regimens based on patients’ concurrent conditions and potential drug interactions.

References:

https://www.wellrx.com/pantoprazole%20sodium/drug-information/

https://www.wellrx.com/omeprazole/drug-information/

https://www.wellrx.com/hn/us/assets/health-condition/gastroesophageal-reflux-disease/~default

https://www.wellrx.com/hn/us/assets/health-condition/peptic-ulcer/~default

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7766739

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10705625/

pneumonia vaccine - update - scriptsave wellrx blog image

By Jina Sung, Pharm.D. Candidate, Class of 2020, The Ohio State University

There are 1.7 million people in the United States visiting emergency departments with pneumonia as the primary diagnosis, according to an annual National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, and about 50,000 people die every year due to pneumonia. This is why it’s essential for vulnerable populations to protect themselves from this disease, especially older adults.

Updates to Pneumonia Vaccine Recommendations for Adults over 65

There are two types of vaccines against pneumococcal disease: pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV 13) and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23). PCV 13 is available under the brand name Prevnar 13 and PPSV23 is sold as the brand Pneumovax 23. For all adults aged 65 years or older, CDC used to recommend a routine series of Prevnar 13 and Pneumovax 23 vaccines. However, due to the decline of pneumococcal disease among seniors as a result of vaccinations, guidelines have changed. 

In June 2019, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) decided that for healthy adults aged 65 or older, the vaccine may not be necessary. ACIP now recommends that patients have a conversation with their doctor to decide whether to get Prevnar 13. However, older adults who have a high risk for pneumococcal disease should still receive both Prevnar 13 and Pneumovax 23. Additionally, Pneumovax 23 is still recommended for all adults over age 65.

Old Recommendation for Older Adults New Recommendation for Older Adults
For all adults 65 years old or older*:
Administer 1 dose of PCV 13 first, and give 1 dose of PPSV23 at least 1 year later 
For adults 65 years old or older who do not have immunocompromising condition*:
Administer 1 dose of PPSV23

For adults 65 years old or older with an immunocompromising condition, cochlear implant, or cerebrospinal fluid leak*:
Administer PCV13 first, and give PPSV23 at least 8 weeks

* For more information, visit CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/pneumo/downloads/pneumo-vaccine-timing.pdf

Should Adults Over 65 Get Prevnar 13?

PCV13 (Prevnar 13) is still a safe and effective vaccine, especially if you have medical conditions or live in a place with high risk of exposure to pneumococcal strains, such as a nursing home or long-term care facility. Doctors and their patients need to consider both the exposure risk and personal risks for each patient to decide whether Prevnar 13 is necessary. If you have questions about either vaccine, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Find discounts on pneumonia vaccines from ScriptSave WellRx.

According to the CDC, only about 70% of adults aged 65 and older ever receive a pneumococcal vaccination, either PCV13 or PPSV23. Hopefully, the new recommendations will encourage more people to get vaccinated since healthy adults now only need a single dose rather than two doses.

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection mostly caused by streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs. People with the infection may experience cough with phlegm, fever, and difficulty breathing. The severity of pneumonia can range from mild to life-threatening. People with health problems, such as asthma or COPD, or weakened immune systems have a higher risk of getting more severe pneumonia. 

Who Should Get Pneumonia Vaccines?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends routine pneumococcal vaccinations for children younger than 2 years old or adults 19 and older. There are additional pneumonia vaccine guidelines for people with certain medical conditions or weakened immune systems.

Find Discounts on Prevnar 13 and Pneumovax 23

Without insurance, pneumonia vaccines can be expensive. Find discounts from ScriptSave WellRx on the out-of-pocket cost of Prevnar 13 or Pneumovax 23.

dry skin and medications - wellrx blog image

By Libby Pellegrini, MMS, PA-C

Whether it is prescription strength or available over the counter, virtually every medication carries a risk of side effects. Even medications as seemingly benign as daily vitamins and basic pain relievers can cause unintended symptoms.

One of the most obnoxious medication side effects is skin dryness. Skin dryness happens when moisture is lost from the top layer of the skin, which is known as the epidermis. This loss of hydration can cause pesky symptoms such as skin flaking, itching, tightness, or burning. 

Read on to learn more about which medications can cause skin dryness and how to manage this symptom.

Diuretics

A diuretic is a medication typically prescribed to lower blood pressure or to help the body manage excess fluids or edema. Diuretics work by increasing the amount of fluid that the kidneys filter out of the body through the urine. This decrease in the body’s overall water content can have the side effect of skin dryness. 

Examples of diuretics that can cause skin dryness and other related skin conditions include:

  • hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide)
  • furosemide (Lasix)
  • chlorthalidone (Thalitone)

Talk to your healthcare provider if you are experiencing skin dryness with a diuretic. You may be counseled to change the medication or dose. Make sure not to drastically increase your water intake in an effort to combat the skin dryness because this will typically be counterproductive.

Topical Acne Medications

Topical acne medications, even those that are available over the counter, can cause skin dryness. This medication side effect is actually part of the mechanism of action of these medicines because acne drugs help remove excess oil, or sebum, from the skin’s pores.

Common acne medications that can cause skin dryness include formulations with benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. These are available in various forms, such as ointments, creams, and washes. While they do work to remove excess oil from the skin, they should not cause extreme dryness.

If you are experiencing excessive dryness while using a topical acne medication, try adding a noncomedogenic, fragrance-free moisturizer to your skin care regimen. If you continue to have skin dryness, try reducing the frequency of the medication (i.e., instead of using a medicated acne face wash twice a day, just use it at night). You can also experiment with a formulation that has a lower strength — this is generally represented as a lower percentage of the active ingredient.

If you are still having excessive skin dryness after trying these modifications, make sure to follow up with your healthcare provider. 

Isotretinoin

Isotretinoin is a vitamin A–derivative medication that is included in a class of medications known as retinoids. These oral medications are used to treat severe acne that has been unresponsive to topical regimens. Retinoids can cause excessive skin dryness and skin sensitivity. 

Common retinoid medications include:

  • Accutane
  • Zenatane
  • Claravis
  • Amnesteem

If you are having intolerable skin dryness after starting a retinoid medication, make sure you are properly washing and moisturizing your skin. Check out these tips from the American Academy of Dermatology. If the dryness persists, follow up with your healthcare provider.

Chemotherapy

If you or a loved one are undergoing chemotherapy treatment, you may experience a side effect of dry skin. Chemotherapy targets rapidly growing cells as a way to take out cancer cells, but it can also affect the body’s own rapidly growing cells, including skin cells. This can cause skin dryness and irritation. In a similar way, chemotherapy can also cause mouth dryness and hair loss. 

Make sure to talk with your oncologist if you are experiencing chemotherapy side effects such as skin dryness. Your doctor may be able to prescribe you a medication to lessen your symptoms. For any medication prescribed, make sure to use ScriptSave® WellRx to save up to 80% at the pharmacy. 

Statins

A statin is a class of medication that is prescribed to people with a condition known as hyperlipidemia, or high cholesterol. Statins help lower bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and raise good (HDL) cholesterol levels. 

Some statins can cause skin dryness, also known as eczema. One notorious statin that causes eczema is simvastatin; skin dryness can be a reaction in up to 5 percent of patients taking this medication. 

If you are experiencing skin dryness with a statin, make sure to follow up with your healthcare provider. If he or she prescribes an alternative medication for cholesterol management, make sure to use ScriptSave WellRx for prescription savings at a pharmacy near you. 

How to Manage Dry Skin

If you are suffering from skin dryness due to a medication, it may be worthwhile to try the following tricks before you stop taking the medication entirely.

  • Limit your bathing time; prolonged baths and shower can dry out skin further.
  • Immediately after getting out of the shower or bath, pat dry and then apply a thick, nonfragrant emollient to lock moisture into the top layer of your skin.
  • Use a humidifier to add moisture back into your external environment

For more information on managing medication side effects, check out these tips from the FDA. 


Libby Pellegrini is a nationally certified physician assistant. She currently works in emergency medicine where she sees and treats a broad spectrum of illnesses across all age ranges. She holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University.


References:

https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-basics/dry/dry-skin-relief

reference.medscape.com/drug/zocor-simvastatin-342463#4

www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-information-consumers/finding-and-learning-about-side-effects-adverse-reactions




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insomnia meds - wellrx blog image

By Rosanna Sutherby, PharmD

According to the American Sleep Association, insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, and 10% of Americans report that they have chronic insomnia. Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or to stay asleep. Some people have difficulty falling asleep when they go to bed, while others can fall asleep but are not able to sleep through the night. Still, others wake early in the morning and are not able to return to sleep.

If you have insomnia, you may have tried over-the-counter sleep aids or lifestyle changes to help you sleep. If these methods do not work, your doctor may prescribe a medication that treats insomnia.

What Are Medications That Treat Insomnia?

Several types of medications are used to treat insomnia. Some are prescribed specifically for insomnia; some medications that may be prescribed for other conditions cause drowsiness and can be used for sleep. Prescription medications used to treat insomnia include the following:

Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines slow down brain activity to promote sleep. Medications in this class include:

Because they are long-acting, both temazepam and estazolam can help you fall asleep as well as stay asleep. Triazolam works better to help you fall asleep. Benzodiazepines used for insomnia are indicated for short-term use. You should consult your doctor if your sleep problems are not resolved within 7 to 10 days. Benzodiazepines have the potential for abuse and dependence, and you should not use more than your doctor prescribes.

Antidepressants That Help With Sleep

Some older antidepressants called tricyclic antidepressants cause drowsiness and can help with sleep. Medications in this category include the following:

Trazadone is used in low doses to treat insomnia, and doxepin helps if you have trouble staying asleep.

Non-Benzodiazepine Sleep Medications

Non-benzodiazepine sleep medications were developed as an alternative to sleep aids that may cause dependence or addiction. Medicines in this category include the following:

  • zolpidem (Ambien, Edluar, Intermezzo)
  • zaleplon (Sonata)
  • eszopiclone (Lunesta)

Zolpidem is available as immediate-release (Ambien) and controlled-release (Ambien CR) formulations. The immediate-release version helps you fall asleep. The controlled-release formulation enables you to fall and stay asleep through the night. One layer of the tablet releases the medication immediately, while the second layer releases the drug slowly and is effective for 3 to 6 hours after you take the medication.

Zaleplon (Sonata) works rapidly and has a short duration of action, which makes it ideal for helping you fall asleep again if you tend to wake up in the middle of the night.

Eszopiclone (Lunesta) can be used for long-term treatment of insomnia. It has a long half-life, meaning that it stays in your body for a long time. You should use Lunesta only if you have at least 7 to 8 hours available to sleep.

Ramelteon (Rozerem)

Rozerem is a melatonin agonist that helps you fall asleep faster if you have trouble falling asleep. Rozerem works similarly to your body’s natural melatonin, which lets your brain know when it is time for sleep.

Suvorexant (Belsomra)

Belsomra is in the category of drugs known as orexin receptor antagonists. Orexin is a substance in your body that helps regulate wakefulness. Belsomra enables you to fall and stay asleep by blocking the action of orexin.

Lemborexant (Dayvigo)

Dayvigo was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in December 2019 for the treatment of insomnia. Dayvigo is an orexin receptor antagonist like Belsomra. The manufacturers of this drug believe that it may be especially helpful for seniors with sleep problems related to Alzheimer’s disease because it does not have side effects that affect memory.

What Precautions Should I Take With Sleep Medications?

You should not drink alcohol or take other medicines that cause drowsiness if you are taking medications for sleep. Take your sleep medication shortly before you are ready to go to sleep, and do not drive or do anything that requires alertness after you take your sleeping pill. Be sure you have at least 7 hours available to sleep after you take your sleep medication to avoid drowsiness and difficulty waking in the morning. Never take more medication than your doctor prescribes.

Does My Insurance Cover My Sleep Medication?

Many insurance plans pay for sleep medications. You can ask your pharmacist or your insurance company if your plan covers your sleep medicine. If your insurance does not cover your medication, you can use a prescription discount card to get the lowest prescription price at a pharmacy near you.

What Are Prescription Discount Cards?

Prescription discount cards offer prescription savings when your insurance does not cover your medication or when the price with insurance is higher than the cost with a prescription savings card. Using a free Rx savings card can save you up to 80% or more off the retail price. You can use a ScriptSave WellRx discount card for the best discount at a pharmacy near you.

Rosanna Sutherby is a freelance medical writer who has been a practicing pharmacist in her community for close to 20 years. She obtained her Doctor of Pharmacy from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. She utilizes her clinical training in the pharmacy, where she helps patients manage disease states such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and many others. Dr. Sutherby reviews and recommends drug regimens based on patients’ concurrent conditions and potential drug interactions.


References:

https://www.sleepassociation.org/about-sleep/sleep-statistics/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4634348/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/in-depth/sleeping-pills/art-20043959

https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a684003.html

https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a684004.html

https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a691003.html

https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a681038.html

https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2010/022036lbl.pdf

https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/021774s018lbl.pdf

https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2014/021476s030lbl.pdf

https://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/b/belsomra/belsomra_pi.pdf

https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2019/212028s000lbl.pdf



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break a fever - wellrx blog image

Fevers are a part of your body’s natural defense against infections, viruses, and germs. On their own, fevers are typically harmless. In fact, most fevers are beneficial and in most cases it’s unnecessary to try to break the fever

The main reason to treat a fever is to decrease discomfort. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can safely bring a fever down at home. Here are a few ways to safely break a fever at home.

Treating A Fever

If you or your child are experiencing discomfort from a fever, there are a number of safe ways to break it, including: 

  1. Rest: In most cases, a fever is your body’s natural response to an infection or virus. Resting is one of the most important things you can do to help your body recover more quickly. Additionally, physical activity often raises your body temperature. Resting and avoiding activity can help to naturally reduce your body temperature.
  2. Staying hydrated: While staying hydrated is always important, a fever can cause dehydration from fluid loss. It’s important to drink plenty of water when treating a fever.
  3. Staying cool: Taking measures to lower your body temperature is important for breaking a fever. Unless you have chills, remove extra layers of clothing and only cover up with a light blanket or sheet. You can also take a sponge bath using lukewarm water or apply a damp cloth to the forehead, armpit, and groin areas.
  4. Taking an over-the-counter medication: You may try using common over-the-counter medications to reduce your fever. Drugs like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help lower a fever. Acetaminophen can be safely used to treat a fever in children as young as two months old. Aspirin should never be given to children to treat their fever, but is safe to use for adults. 
Related: Will a Z-Pak Help Treat My Cold?

What You Shouldn’t Do To Treat A Fever

There are many touted home remedies for breaking a fever. Some of these remedies are not only unhelpful, but can even be dangerous. Here are a few things you should never try when treating a fever.

  • Take an ice bath: An ice bath may temporarily lower your body temperature but will also cause shivering, which is your body’s natural response to cold, and will actually increase your temperature. Additionally, exposing your skin to very cold temperatures can cause damage.
  • “Starve” a fever: The old saying goes, “feed a cold, starve a fever.” However, this advice should never be followed. While a person with a fever may have less of an appetite, food and nutrients are still necessary to effectively fight the infection.
  • “Sweat out” a fever: Another common tale is that of “sweating out” a fever. While it’s important not to underdress—especially when experiencing chills—overdressing someone with a fever only helps to further raise their body temperature and should be avoided. Ideally, blankets and clothing should be light and breathable, allowing for body heat to escape.

When Is A Fever Dangerous?

Usually, a fever can be treated at home, often without medication. However, a fever can be dangerous, especially for infants. Infants who are under 3 months old with a temperature of more than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit must be seen by a physician. Meanwhile, infants between 3 and 6 months with a temperature over 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit should also be seen by a doctor. This is because infants can have serious illnesses that cause fevers which may require testing and proper treatment.

You should see your doctor if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms along with a fever

  • Vomiting or diarrhea lasting longer than 12 hours or contains blood.
  • Sore throat and headache lasting longer than 48 hours.
  • Swollen lymph nodes, glands, or tonsils.
  • An earache lasting longer than 12 hours. 

These may be signs of serious infections of illness that may require treatment by your doctor. 

Additionally, in rare situations, the following symptoms can be signs of life-threatening medical conditions and should be treated as an emergency: 

  • Chest pain and difficulties breathing.
  • Stiffness and pain in your neck when looking down.
  • A burning or sharp pain when urinating and stomach or back pain.
  • Mental confusion and seizures.

If you or a family member are experiencing these symptoms along with a fever, seek medical help right away. 

Related: Tamiflu Benefits and Misconceptions  

Medications to Treat A Fever

Often, over-the-counter medications can safely be used to treat a fever. However, if you see a doctor, they may prescribe additional medications, such as antibiotics, to treat the underlying infection causing your fever. 

When prescribed medications, always take them as instructed by your doctor or pharmacist. Never double-up or prematurely discontinue taking the medicine, even if your fever has already lifted. Doing so may be dangerous or prolong the length of your illness. 

If you’re having difficulty paying for your medications, ScriptSave WellRx can help you find discounts on all of your prescription drugs. Use our online price comparison tool to find the lowest price on your Rx medications. Then, show our free pharmacy discount card to save money when picking up your medicine.

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