Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Want a Glowing Tan? Head to the Lab!

Everyone wants to look tanned for the summer but we’re all afraid of harmful UV rays. Skin cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers in North America so we do our best to prevent it by lathering on the sunscreen and staying out of the sun but this leaves us pale and pasty during shorts and T-shirt season! What are we to do?? Yes, there are spray tans and moisturizers that gradually tan your skin but most of these products make your skin look more orange than a nice bronze color and they can stain your sheets and clothes.

What if you could have a bronze glow without the damaging effects of UV rays or dyeing your skin? Well thanks to Dr. David E. Fisher and his team of scientists, you may be able to in the near future! They found that inhibiting enzymes called SIKs (salt-inducible kinases) activated the pigmentation pathway in the same way as UV radiation would but without the DNA-damaging effects. They went on to develop a superior version of this inhibitor so that it can be better absorbed by human skin. It takes 1-2 days for the skin to “tan” and it lasts a few days.

In the future, the team will be conducting toxicity studies, and then they hope to move onto clinical trials. Ultimately, they strive to develop a compound that can be added to sunscreenJ
and be used regularly; tanning and skin protection all in one! If it turns out to be safe I’m definitely going to try it


-        Mena

References:

Friday, June 16, 2017

RxBriefCase: the Pharmacy Student’s Perfect Study Buddy

Happy Friday everyone!

I’ve almost completed my first week at mdBriefCase and it’s been great! Looking forward to the next 4 weeks! J

A couple of days ago I was chatting with some of my friends about their pharmacy placements and all of them said the same thing, “I need to go over my notes because I forgot a bunch of stuff that we learned in class”. For example, a customer asked one of my friends about allergy medications and which one she should take but since we covered that topic almost 2 years ago it’s kind of hard to remember. But luckily for us there’s rxBriefCase! All we have to do is log on and click on the topic we need a refresher on and voila! We are saved from the embarrassment of not being able to answer a question and our patients are the better for it. 

Unfortunately there is one issue…. Most of my pharmacy class doesn’t know about rxBriefCase! Before I started my APPE rotation here I didn’t know about it either. Having this resource would have helped a lot for our medication management classes as well as our pharmacy summer placements. But now I’m spreading the word! I posted a link to rxBriefCase to my pharmacy classes’ facebook page so that we can all take advantage of this knowledge source.

rxBriefCase is a valuable resource to have; it’ll help us get through our APPE rotations and continue being a great resource throughout our careers. Register now and gain access to a wealth of clinical knowledge for free! You also get continuing education credits for each program you complete.

“The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth” - John F. Kennedy

Take care everyone!


Mena

Monday, June 12, 2017

10 Things About Me

Hi There!

My name is Mena, I’m a fourth year pharmacy student from the University of Toronto and mdBriefCase is my second APPE placement. I’m so excited to get started and try something new! J

Since I’m new I thought I would introduce myself with 10 random facts about me:
  1. For most of my life I wanted to be an astronaut. Unfortunately, at the age of 21 I went to an amusement park for the first time and realized I had bad motion sickness …. So I realized the astronaut thing wasn’t going to happen!
  2. I speak 3 languages; English, French and Arabic
  3. Shopping is both my happiness and downfall
  4. Sci-Fi and fantasy are my favorite genres of movies/shows/books
  5. I got married last summer! 
  6. I used to be a Sagittarius but recently I found out that I’m actually an Ophiuchus, which is the 13th astrological sign that most people don’t know about. If you were born between November 29th and December 17th then you are actually not a Sagittarius but an Ophiuchus… weird!
  7. I love learning about molecular pathways especially when related to the mechanism of action of medications
  8. I believe the Universe is infinite
  9. Red wine is my favorite drink (preferably from California)
  10. I love to cook but I love to eat even more!

Until next time!


-        Mena

Thursday, May 4, 2017

And that’s a wrap!


I’ll start off with a very generic line of “it seems like it was only yesterday that I started my rotation..” But in all honestly, it truly feels as if 5 weeks flew by in a blink of an eye.

With just 2 days left into finishing my final rotation, I wanted to express my biggest gratitude for the amazing team at mdBriefCase. It’s been a pleasure working with everyone in developing the contents for the eNewsletter, MSFY and my final presentation. Special thanks to Cassandra and Mike!

I came into this rotation with minimal understanding of what continuing education is and what role it plays for a practicing healthcare professional. However, the past 5 weeks has taught me not only what CME is but also the process of how a CME program is developed and accredited. It’s been an eye-opening experience to be able to learn all the various aspects of continuing education.
As mentioned in my previous blog post, the main initiatives I took part on at mdBriefCase included the following:
  • eNewsletter “Resistant Head Lice: A Real Head Scratcher”
  • MSFY “Heartburn: A Burning Sensation”

Although these contents are not yet live, be sure to be on the lookout in the next couple weeks rxPASSPORT and MedSchool For You: Pharmacy Corner!

Thank you again for the amazing opportunity. J


Boo

Friday, April 28, 2017

Hidden Dangers of Drug-Food Interaction

Whether you’re picking up a new antibiotic from the pharmacy or renewing your cholesterol medication, you often get counseled by the pharmacist regarding certain drug-food interactions. Many people are aware that these interactions exist – but just how real and serious is this issue?
The main mechanism behind drug-food interaction is dependent on how the body breaks down the medication. Enzymes known as the cytochrome P450 enzymes allow the body to metabolize and gradually degrade the medications after administration. Certain foods are able to inhibit or potentiate the action of these enzymes. This in turn can lead to too much drug in the body (i.e. increased side effect or toxicity) or too little drug in the body (sub-therapeutic effect). Other interactions between medications and certain foods can take place by hindering with the absorption of the medication or by amplifying the existing side effects of the medication.
Many different food groups interact with medications. While I am unable to give a comprehensive list of all the interactions, I’ll mention few that are worthwhile to know about.
  1. Grapefruit juice: Grapefruit juice is one of the most notorious offenders for causing drug-food interactions. Grapefruit juice inhibits a major subtype of P450 enzyme that metabolizes cholesterol medications such as atorvastatin, lovastatin, and simvastatin. Blood pressure medication such as amlodipine is also affected by this interaction. By inhibiting the enzyme, grapefruit juice allows the medication to stay in the body for a longer duration and increases the possibility of experiencing side effects. Drugs that interact with grapefruit juice should not be taken together within the same 24 hour period since the inhibition of P450 enzyme by grapefruit juice leaves a long-lasting effect.
  2. Alcohol: The interaction between alcohol and medications doesn’t necessarily involve the CYP P450 enzymes but mostly on the effect of the medication. For instance, any medications that can cause drowsiness or sedation can be worsened if taken alongside alcohol. These medications include antihistamines, muscle relaxants and even some painkillers. Although this interaction may not diminish the efficacy of the medications, it is best to separate t
    heir administration to avoid serious side effects.
  3. Dairy products: This category extends beyond just dairy products but also encompasses calcium or iron supplements. The major concern regarding dairy products is with thyroid medication (i.e. levothyroxine) and certain antibiotics known as the fluoroquinolones. Dairy products and mineral supplements hinder the absorption of these medications and lower their efficacy. These medications should be spaced out by minimum 1 hour before or 2 hours after dairy products are consumed. 

If you’re unsure about your medications and whether it interacts with certain groups, check out a great online resource from FDA and be sure to ask your pharmacist on your next visit!


Boo

Friday, April 21, 2017

Half way done!

Three weeks went by in a blink of an eye. After receiving few ‘urgent’ reminders from my faculty to complete the midpoint evaluations, I thought this would be the perfect time to recap everyone about what I’ve been up to so far.

Overall, my tasks during the 5 week rotation at mdBriefCase can be broken down to 2 main categories: 

  1. Critical appraisal of one of the CCCEP-accredited eCME program on http://www.rxbriefcase.com
  2. Content development for practicing pharmacists and patients.

For my critical appraisal, I chose the eCME on Considerations in the Selection of Pharmacotherapy for ADHD. I am in the midst of analyzing the various aspects of the program as well as the national participation report to find key strengths and weaknesses. I’ll be presenting on my findings towards the end of my rotation.

In terms of content development, I’ve been knee-deep in writing an eNewsletter, which will be sent out nation-wide to practicing pharmacists across Canada. Although my draft is not yet finished and available for viewing, past eNewsletters can be found at rxPassport. I’m also working on a mini Q&A on the patient education portal, MedSchool For You: Pharmacy Corner.

Last but not least, I’ve been given the lovely opportunity to complete the Certificate-level training of my choice on Advancing Practice. I chose to go over the diabetes education program since this will be a handy-dandy review before I start practicing as a pharmacist.

No complaints so far! Looking forward to spending 2 more exciting weeks at mdBriefCase!

- Boo


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Is my EpiPen safe to use?

On April 1st, 2017, Pfizer Canada issued a voluntary recall of one lot of both EpiPen auto-injector and EpiPen Jr. auto-injector.  The recall decision was made after two confirmed international reports of the devices failing to activate. The company stated that more than 100,000 products which may be affected by this recall were distributed across Canada.

EpiPen auto-injectors are indicated for emergency treatment of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) for patients with high risk. After the administration of EpiPen, patients are advised to seek immediate medical attention or proceed to the nearest ER.

This event was of particular significance since Epipen has been the lone defender against anaphylactic reactions with the nation-wide recall of Allerject back in 2015. Although the incidence of the defect is extremely rare, it may pose a serious impact on patients who rely heavily on the efficacy of EpiPen.  

Image result for epi penDespite the recall, Pfizer recommends patients to keep the existing product until they can secure the replacement EpiPen. Product Replacement Instructions can be found here.

Before using your Epipen, follow these 3 simple steps to ensure safe/effective EpiPen use:
  1. Always check the expiration date (generally 1-2 years from time of purchase)!
  2. Examine the window of the EpiPen to make sure the solution is clear and free of any discoloration.
  3. Remember the instructions:  “blue to the sky, orange to the thigh”

References:

CBC news. “Canadian Patients wait longest to see family doctor.”  January 20, 2014.
Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/us-epipen-recall-1.4051059 on April 13, 2017.
Epipen. “Frequently asked questions.” 2015. Retrieved from http://www.epipen.ca/en/about-epipen/frequently-asked-questions on April 13, 2017.
Government of Canada. “Pfizer Canada recalls two lots of EpiPen/EpiPen Jr auto-injectors (0.3mg and 0.15mg epinephrine) due to possible device failure.” April 01, 2017. Retrieved from http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/recall-alert-rappel-avis/hc-sc/2017/62872a-eng.php on April 13, 2017.
Pfizer. “How do I exchange my recalled EpiPen auto-injector?” April 01, 2017. Retrieved from http://www.pfizer.ca/node/7656 on April 13, 2017.