Medication Disposal Day – Don’t rush to flush!

The Student Health Services Pharmacy will be holding our 6th annual DEA-approved Medication Disposal Day Thursday, April 20th, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 

All students, staff, and faculty are invited to bring unused or expired medicines to be disposed of in a safe, legal, and environmentally-friendly way.  This service is entirely free of charge and is completely anonymous.  No questions asked!  We will take any expired, damaged or unused medications (even if they are a controlled substance like narcotic pain medication or ADD medication).

Please note: Do not remove medication labels before drop-off.  Syringes, needles, and thermometers will not be accepted.

Our goal is to address a vital public safety and public health issue by removing potentially dangerous prescription drugs from your backpacks and medicine cabinets.

  • Since 2007, more Ohians have died from unintentional drug overdosing than motor vehicle accidents.
  • More than 7 million Americans currently abuse prescription drugs, according to the 2009 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
  • Each day, approximately 2,500 teens use prescription drugs for the first time to get high, according to the Partnership for a Drug Free America.
  • Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including the home medicine cabinet.

These expired medicines can be as bad for our environment as they are for our health.  Measurable quantities of some common medications are showing up in lakes, reservoirs, and municipal water supplies, thought to be due in large part to improper flushing of medications down sinks and toilets.

So make the right choice and join us for our 5th Annual Medication Disposal Day!  It’s a great way to keep yourself healthy and our campus safe!

This event is jointly sponsored by Student Health Services (Office of Student Life), Department of Public Safety, and Generation Rx.

Phil Anderson, RPh
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

My friend is hooked on painkillers, what should I do?

Addiction is a devastating disease that can have life-threatening consequences if not treated. It is important to know where to go on campus in case you or a friend is ever in need of help.

Counseling and Consultation Services

  • Location: Younkin Success Center (4th Floor), 1640 Neil Avenue, Columbus, OH 43201
  • Phone: 614-292-5766
  • About: Provide individual and group counseling, suicide prevention, mental health screenings and a variety of other mental health services to meet your needs.

The Ohio State Collegiate Recovery Community

  • Location: 1230 Lincoln Tower
  • Phone: 614-292-2094
  • About: The Collegiate Recovery Community is a program for students in or seeking recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. They provide many resources for students in recovery including the following:
    • Recovery House at Penn Place
    • Peer to peer support
    • Devoted recovery staff
    • Advocacy, information and referrals
    • On campus support group meetings
    • Monthly wellness workshops
    • Social events
    • CRC Student Leadership Board
    • Service opportunities
    • Recovery Scholarships
    • Annual CRC Program Orientation
    • Graduation Dinner
    • Individualized Recovery Plans
    • Ohio State alumni in recovery mentor program
    • Leadership and professional development
    • Scarlet, Gray & Sober Tailgates
    • Monthly community lunch
    • Designated CRC lounge on campus, 1230 Lincoln Tower

The Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Drug Misuse Prevention and Recovery

  • Location: 125 Stillman Hall, 1947 College Rd, Columbus, OH 43210
  • Phone: 614-292-5572
  • About: Can help students identify resources and answer their questions about drug and alcohol misuse. The center can also help identify the best way to talk to a friend who may be misusing drugs or alcohol.

Student Health Services

  • Location: 1875 Millikin Rd, Columbus, OH 43210
  • Phone: 614-292-4321
  • About: Student Health Services is dedicated to caring for students and families of those struggling with the disease of addiction. For those in long-term recovery, SHS can provide maintenance medication if certain expectations are met. Call a Care Manager at Counseling and Consultation Services to apply (614-292-5766). The SHS Pharmacy is also equipped to provide naloxone (Narcan), the overdose reversal medication, and overdose education. Call 614-292-0125 for more information.

It is important to speak up if you or a loved one is struggling with the disease of addiction. You could save a life! Be sure to check out my next post about naloxone, a drug that can reverse opioid overdose!

 

Kelsey Kresser Schmuhl, PharmD Candidate 2017

 

 

 

 

The Problem with Antibiotics

There are many types of antibiotics. The most commonly used antibiotics treat bacterial infections.  Penicillin was discovered in 1928.  It was first used on a patient in 1941.  It was mass produced by the end of World War II.  There are now dozens of antibiotics on the market.  These drugs have reduced illness and death from infectious diseases.  However, bacteria have adapted resulting in these drugs becoming less effective.

These antibacterials medicines do not work on all infections. They treat bacteria but not viral infections.  Common viral infections are colds, influenza, bronchitis, and most sore throats and sinus infections.

Overuse of antibiotics contributes to more serious drug-resistant bacteria. The CDC estimates that 23,000 people in this country die yearly from antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  Reasons for overuse include pressure on healthcare providers to prescribe these drugs, patients using leftover antibiotics, and patients using antibiotics purchased overseas.

What can we do? Do not expect antibiotics to cure every illness.  Please do not pressure your provider to prescribe an antibiotic.  Most colds and coughs will take two weeks or longer to resolve.  Complete the entire course when an antibiotic is prescribed,.  Also, never take someone else’s medication.

 

Dr. Matthew Peters, MD

Allergies versus colds – How to tell the difference?

Spring is in the air (although it’s snowing as I’m writing this blog), which means prime allergy season has begun! The common cold is also still prevalent in the ever-changing weather of Ohio.  Here are some facts about the differences between two similar presenting diseases and some tips on how to treat them! ALLERGIES Students may be more likely to develop allergies while attending college.  This could be due to living in a different region that has different pollens in the air and students may be exposed to different allergens.  Allergy symptoms occur quickly after exposure to an allergen and will last as long as you are exposed to the allergen.  Common symptoms include: runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, wheezing, and watery or itchy/dry eyes.

Common causes of seasonal allergies: pollen, dust, dust mites, food, animal dander, and mold

COLDS

Colds are caused by a virus, and very rarely are caused by bacteria. They mimic the same symptoms as allergies, but may also include fever, sore throat, and body aches.  Colds develop over several days and usually your body can clear the virus within several days to a week. Warning signs that you may have a bacterial infection (NOT the common cold) are vomiting or diarrhea along with fever and body aches and other common cold/allergy symptoms.  If you have these symptoms it’s important to see a doctor and stay hydrated!

Both allergies and the common cold have the same over-the-counter (OTC) treatment choices and non-medication related recommendations to help alleviate symptoms.

Common OTC Treatments:

  • Non-drowsy antihistamines – reduce symptoms of allergies like runny nose, itchy/watery eyes
    • Ex. Claritin (loratadine), Zyrtec (cetirizine), Allegra (fexofenadine)
    • Counseling tips: take daily during allergy season to prevent and reduce symptoms
  • Nasal steroids – helps reduce nasal inflammation, nasal congestion, runny nose and sneezing
    • Ex. Flonase (fluticasone), Nasacort (triamcinolone)
    • Counseling tips: requires a few days of treatment to notice effect on symptom improvement, and needs to be taken on a daily basis to continue to work
  • Nasal decongestants – helps reduce nasal congestion (stuffy nose)
    • Ex. Afrin nasal spray (oxymetazoline)
    • Counseling tips: should only be used for 3-4 days
  • Oral decongestants – helps reduce nasal and chest congestion
    • Ex. Sudafed (pseudoephedrine)
    • Counseling tips: do NOT use if you have high blood pressure without asking your doctor first
  • Artificial tears/saline solution – helps relieve dry or itchy eye irritation
    • Ex. Visine products, Artificial Tears
  • Pain relievers – reduce headaches associated with allergies or virus
    • Ex. Tylenol (acetaminophen), Advil (ibuprofen)
    • Counseling tips: don’t use more than the recommended dosing; be aware these ingredients may be in other OTC products and will count towards your maximum daily dose!
  • Cough drops – helps relieve cough associated with nasal drainage

 Non-Medicine Treatment:

  • Avoid allergens as much as possible!

 

  • Use a humidifier in your home to help with congestion
  • Wash hands/face often during pollen season
  • Avoid rubbing itchy eyes, try and use a cold compress instead to relieve symptoms
  • Avoid wearing contact lenses during pollen season to reduce eye irritation
  • Close windows/doors at home when pollen count is high

If you ever have questions about which OTC products can help your allergies or reduce the symptoms associated with a cold don’t hesitate to talk to your pharmacist or doctor!

Lindsey Glaze, PharmD Candidate 2016

The truth about antibiotics and birth control!

Q: I heard that antibiotics interfere with birth control pills, but I’m on the birth control that gets implanted under my skin – will antibiotics interfere with that too?

A: I’m so glad you asked this question!  This is one of the biggest medical myths of all time; one that gets propagated in doctors’ offices, health clinics, hospitals, blogs, magazines – and OK fine, student health centers – every day.  So now, for the first time ever… in print… online… on this blog… the TRUTH!

The only antibiotic that has ever been shown to interfere with birth control levels and effectiveness is a medicine called rifampin which is used to treat tuberculosis.  Rifampin may also interfere with the birth control patch and vaginal ring so if you are taking it, be sure to use a back-up, non-hormonal (i.e. condom) form of birth control.

There are some other medications that can interfere with your birth control, however, and if you are taking any of them you should always use back-up contraception.

  • Griseofulvin
  • Phenytoin (Dilantin)
  • Carbamazepine (Tegretol)
  • Phenobarbital
  • Topirimate (Topamax)
  • St. John’s Wort (herbal supplement)

But in general, your birth control will not be affected by any run-of-the-mill antibiotic that you might be taking for things like sinus infections, strep throat, urinary tract infections, skin infections, acne, etc.  Some people believe that because antibiotics disrupt the normal bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, they will interfere with the absorption of the birth control pills from your stomach.  But this is not an issue, and even if it were, it wouldn’t apply to birth control methods that don’t involve swallowing pills like the skin patch or the vaginal ring or Implanon.

Now, there are enough women out there who swear that they have little antibiotic babies running around the house that your health care provider will probably still tell you to use back-up just in case.  And birth control doesn’t do anything to protect you against sexually transmitted infections, so using a condom is a good idea no matter what medications you’re taking.  But you can rest assured that your birth control is just as effective when you’re taking antibiotics as when you’re not.

More questions about your medicines?  Make an appointment to discuss them with a healthcare provider, or stop by and visit the SHS Pharmacy.  Our friendly Pharmacy staff will be happy to answer your questions.

John A. Vaughn, MD (OSU Student Health)

I live in a dorm – can I have my medications shipped to me?

Used to be, you took your prescription to the pharmacy, they filled it, and that was that. Now, however, many insurance companies are requiring that ongoing medications – those you take month after month – be ordered and filled through a mail order pharmacy. That works great – but where do you have your medications shipped if you live in a dorm?

I checked with Student Life Housing to see if medications could be sent to a dorm address. The answer is yes. Make sure that your name and dorm address is correctly identified to the mail order company to ensure correct delivery.

If, however, you have a medication that requires refrigeration or perhaps you are on a particularly expensive medication, or maybe you’re just not comfortable with having your meds sent to your dorm, we here at Student Health Services can help you out. You can ship your medications to our pharmacy. Just give them a call at 614-292-0125 and let them know you’d like to have your medications shipped to them. When your medications are received, they will notify you so that you can come and pick them up.

Submitted by Tina Comston, M.Ed.

Got anything to help me stay awake to study?

As a college instructor, I am always somewhat amused by the panic that finals week seems to cause.  Seriously, it’s not like finals week is a surprise.  And it’s not like the content of a final is unknown – it could be anything that was covered in class.  And yet, students panic when it comes to finals week and look for ways to stay alert as they study late into the night trying to finish papers and prepare for exams.  For some this involves huge quantities of caffeine.  For others – study drugs.

This isn’t something new.  In the 70’s Ohio State students asked Dr. Spencer Turner, Director of Student Health Services, if he could recommend anything to stay awake while preparing for finals.  The study drugs back then were known as bennies or speed.  Today they are prescription stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin, for both the common component is amphetamine.  Used without a prescription, these drugs can be dangerous – not to mention illegal.

Dr. Turner stated that “the use of an amphetamine without proper medical supervision is unwise for several reasons:

  1. Pre-existing medical condition(s)
  2. Risk of adverse reaction(s) to even a single dose, especially when already fatigued
  3. Masking physical fatigue when this is the body’s signal for needed rest
  4. Likelihood of crashing at an inopportune time such as in the middle of a final or while driving
  5. Temptation to continue the drug’s use

These reasons continue to be valid today.  When prescribed, proper dosage has been determined by a physician based upon the medical condition of the patient.  The physician then monitors the patient regularly to ensure there are no adverse effects.  These are two key components – proper dosage and monitoring.  A pill obtained without a prescription, such as from a roommate or friend has neither of these. 

Study drugs can improve focus and motivation to study, but the short-term benefits of these substances do not come without their fair share of risks.  According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Adderall can cause hallucinations, impulsive behavior, paranoia, and irritability. These are among a long list of dangerous side effects that probably won’t help with that final!

You can read Dr. Turner’s article Sleep, finals week, ‘Bennies’ and you in the Lantern Online Archive, March 12, 1971

Submitted by Tina Comston, M.Ed.

Reviewed by Mary Lynn Kiacz, M.D.

Stinky Pee

buzzle.com

Early in my career, I was preparing to see a patient whose complaint was “strong urine.” What could it mean, I wondered as I stood outside the exam room? Smelly? Dark? Painful? Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound? Strong urine and I have since done battle many times. While primary care providers hear a number of common urinary complaints – pain, weird color and frequency, to name but a few – in my experience, “strong” combined with some variation of “urine” almost always means stinky pee.

What does stinky pee mean? Often nothing major. Let’s start with the benign causes:

  • Foods like asparagus can make urine smell. People who eat mostly vegetables can have a grassy odor to their urine.
  • Vitamins in general can make urine a little stinky (and colorful). B vitamins especially can impart a peculiar odor.
  • Dehydration can make urine smell more strongly of ammonia.
  • Certain medications can give urine a different odor and, like vitamins can cause a change in color. Many commonly used antibiotics change the odor of urine as well.

Certain persistent stinky pee issues might be more serious and require the attention of your primary care provider.

  • Foul-smelling urine, especially when it is associated with pain, frequency, urgency, fever, back pain, or an odd color (rusty, red, pink, purple) should be evaluated. All of these things suggest a bacterial infection somewhere in the upper or lower urinary tract.
  • Musty-smelling urine is quite unusual and can be associated with metabolic and liver diseases.
  • Sweet-smelling urine is sometimes associated with diabetes.
  • Urine with a scent of maple syrup can be associated with a serious metabolic disease with a yummy-sounding name: Maple Syrup Disease. Pancakes anyone?
  • Urine that smells like feces could mean that there’s a connection (called a “fistula”) between the rectum and the bladder or urethra.
  • Some vaginal infections have an odd odor that women tend to notice when they urinate.

Many of these more serious issues have symptoms besides stinky pee, but if you have any questions or concerns, make a “pit stop” at Student Health Services!

John A. Vaughn, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

Give Student Health Your Old Drugs!

legislatorford.gov

The Student Health Services Pharmacy will be holding our 2nd annual DEA-approved drug Take-Back Day this Wednesday, May 30th, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 

All students, staff, and faculty are invited to bring unused or expired medicines to be disposed of in a safe, legal, and environmentally-friendly way.  This service is entirely free of charge and is completely anonymous.  No questions asked!  We will take any expired, damaged or and unused medications (even if they are a controlled substance like narcotic pain medication or ADD medication), as well as sharps containers (containers that store used needles). 

Please note: Do not remove medication labels before drop-off.  Syringes, needles, and thermometers will not be accepted.

Our goal is to address a vital public safety and public health issue by removing potentially dangerous prescription drugs from your backpacks and medicine cabinets. 

  • Since 2007, more Ohians have died from unintentional drug overdosing than motor vehicle accidents.
  • More than 7 million Americans currently abuse prescription drugs, according to the 2009 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health. 
  • Each day, approximately 2,500 teens use prescription drugs for the first time to get high, according to the Partnership for a Drug Free America. 
  • Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including the home medicine cabinet. 

These expired medicines can be as bad for our environment as they are for our health.  Measurable quantities of some common medications are showing up in lakes, reservoirs, and municipal water supplies, thought to be due in large part to improper flushing of medications down sinks and toilets.

So make the right choice and join us for our 2nd Annual Medication Disposal Day!  It’s a great way to keep yourself healthy and our campus safe! 

This event is jointly sponsored by Student Health Services (Office of Student Life), Department of Public Safety, and Generation Rx. 

Phil Anderson, RPh
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

Get Smart About Antibiotics

photo: ehow.com

cardiophile.com

You wake up this morning with a stuffy nose, and your throat looks red and swollen.  You talk to your roommate, your mom, and your pillow pet, and all of them advise you to get in to see the doctor, and get some antibiotics.  Sounds good?  Well… perhaps not.

The CDC recormmends that you get smart about when antibiotics are appropriate – to fight bacterial infections. Taking them for viral infections, such as a cold, most sore throats, acute bronchitis and many sinus or ear infections:

  • Will not cure the infection;
  • Will not keep other people from getting sick;
  • Will not help you feel better;
  • Will not prevent a future bacterial infection; and
  • May cause unnecessary and harmful side effects.

What Not to Do

  • Do not demand antibiotics when a doctor says they are not needed.
  • Do not take an antibiotic for a viral infection like a cold or most sore throats.
  • Do not take antibiotics prescribed for someone else. The antibiotic may not be appropriate for your illness. Taking the wrong medicine may delay correct treatment and allow bacteria to multiply.

If your doctor prescribes an antibiotic for bacterial infection:

  • Do not skip doses.
  • Do not save any of the antibiotics for the next time you or your child gets sick.

What to Do

Just because your doctor doesn’t give you an antibiotic doesn’t mean you aren’t sick.

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment for your illness. To feel better when you have an upper respiratory infection:

  • Ask your doctor or community pharmacist about over-the-counter treatment options that may help you feel better;
  • Increase fluid intake;
  • Get plenty of rest;
  • Use a cool-mist vaporizer or saline nasal spray to relieve congestion; and
  • Soothe a throat with ice chips, sore throat spray, or lozenges.

Finally, always follow your doctor’s advice about when to return to be rechecked.  Viral infections CAN open the door for secondary bacterial infections.  So, if the doctor says that you should be feeling better in a few days and to return if you are still sick in a week, take that seriously.

Roger Miller, MD (OSU Student Health Services)