Fresh Therapeutics Is A Trial Site For The Australian Government Take Home Naloxone Pilot

Take Home Naloxone Pilot

The Australian Government is investing $10 million in a take-home naloxone (THN) pilot in New South Wales, South Australia, and Western Australia. This pilot is commencing on 1st December 2020 and will continue until the 28th February 2021

What is Naloxone?

Naloxone is a drug that reverses the effects of an opiate and can therefore reverse an opioid overdose. It can be injected or delivered through a nasal spray.  In the THN pilot, naloxone (as either Naloxone Hydrochloride (DBL), Naloxone Juno, Nyxoid and Prenoxad) will be available for FREE to people who are at risk of, or who may witness, an opioid overdose. No prescription will be required for the drug.

How does Naloxone work?

Naloxone reverses the effects of opioid drugs, albeit temporarily. This works by displacing the opioid molecules already within the person’s system in the brain and body. During an opioid overdose, drugs fit into receptors and brain signals are therefore blocked. This leads to a slowing or complete failure in breathing. The person may then fall unconscious. However, once naloxone is administered, it fits more strongly into the receptors within the brain and body causing the opioid molecules to be displaced for a time. The brain signals can then resume as normal, breathing will continue, and the person should then regain consciousness. 

What to do if you carry Naloxone with you?

Carrying naloxone with you regularly is always a good idea if you are an opioid user, or if you are regularly around an opioid user. This could be a family member, spouse, close friend, etc. Ensuring that you are stocked on naloxone that is in date is imperative, in case you ever need to administer it. You should set a reminder on your calendar or phone around one month before the naloxone is set to expire. This will give you enough time to arrange for and pick up a replacement.

When do you use Naloxone?

If you know for a fact that someone has overdosed from an opioid drug, then you should administer naloxone. Even if you only suspect they have done so, it should also be used. You should also remember to call an ambulance as quickly as possible. If there are two of you there with the person, one of you should administer while the other calls the emergency services. Even if the person wakes up, you should still call the ambulance, as they could fall unconscious again at any moment. However, always be aware of your own surroundings, stay safe, and keep in mind that they may be aggressive if they do regain consciousness. 

Why is this trial happening?

Unfortunately, throughout Australia, Opioid use is a major cause of both hospitalisation and death. Therefore, the Australian government has now decided to make an active change in order to treat and improve the issue. The following statistics outline just how serious the problem is in this part of the world:

  • Every single day, three people die from drug-induced deaths involving opioid use in Australia, while nearly 150 hospitalisations and 14 emergency department admissions involve opioids across the country.
  • More than 110,000 Australians are currently struggling with opioid dependence.
  • In 2018, 1,740 people died from drug-induced deaths, with opioids present in 1,123 of those deaths (64%).

At Fresh Therapeutics Compounding Pharmacy, we will be offering Naloxone FREE of charge to people prescribed opiates, people that use illicit opiates or people who may witness a person overdosing on opiates. As well as this, we will also be providing clean needles from our needle exchange to those who inject opiates.  

If you are not sure if a drug you or a family member is taking is an opiate, ask our pharmacists or call us on 0292816816

What is an opioid overdose or adverse reaction to opiates?

A person who has taken either a large amount of opioids or some strong opioids can overdose or experience an adverse reaction. They may be:

  • unconscious
  • unresponsive
  • awake, but unable to talk
  • vomiting
  • making choking sounds, or a snore-like gurgling noise

They may also have:

  • stopped breathing or have slow, shallow or erratic breathing
  • bluish-purple skin (in lighter-skinned people) or greyish or ashen skin (for darker-skinned people)
  • a limp body
  • a pale or clammy face
  • blue or purplish black fingernails and lips
  • slow, erratic or no pulse (heartbeat)

If someone at risk is making unfamiliar sounds while ‘sleeping’, try to wake them up in case they have overdosed.

Steps For Opioid Overdose Response - Fresh TherapeuticsPreventing and responding to opioid overdose - Fresh Therapeutics

 


Who is at risk of an opioid overdose or adverse reaction to opiates?

People who are dependent on opioids are at higher risk of an overdose if their tolerance to the drug is reduced. This can happen if they stop taking opioids for a while (for example if they have been in drug rehabilitation or in prison).

Other risk factors include:

  • using opioids in high doses with other sedatives — for example, benzodiazepines, 
  • some medical conditions — for example
    • depression
    • HIV
    • liver disease
    • sleep apnoea
    • lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or pneumonia
  • living in a home where opioids are stored

 

What to do if you witness a person having an opiate overdose?

If you witness someone having an opiate overdose this is what you do:

1. Check for signs of overdose

Approach with care. Check for dangers, such as injecting materials that might be lying around

Check for a response, to see if the person is conscious. You can:

  • shout their name
  • gently shake their shoulders
  • talk loudly into their ear
  • rub their breastbone (sternum)
  • pinch their ear or the bed of their fingernail

Check airways and breathing

Clear the mouth and nose of any blockages

For 10 seconds, check for breathing — is the chest moving? Can you hear breathing sounds? Can you feel breath on the cheek?

 Check for signs of overdose, such as:

  • no response to touch or sounds
  • slow, uneven breathing or no breathing
  • snoring, gasping or gulping
  • blue or purple fingernails or lips

2. Call Emergency Services ‘000’

  • Always call for emergency services immediately, even if the person wakes up.

NALOXONE is not a substitute for emergency medical care or basic life support (such as CPR).

Put your phone in loudspeaker mode if possible, in order to keep your hands free.

Give emergency services as much information as you can, including:

  • your exact location and postcode (if known)
  • what substances you think the person may have taken
  • whether they are conscious and breathing
  • that you plan to give Naloxone

3. Administer Naloxone

Our pharmacist will show you how to administer the Spray or Injection. Peel off the back of the container before taking out the spray itself. With the person lying flat on their back, support the back of their neck and tilt the head back. Remove anything that is visibly blocking their nose. Hold the spray with a finger on either side of the nozzle and your thumb on the bottom of the plunger. Never press it before use. You do not need to test it or prime it. Insert the nozzle of the spray bottle into one nostril, it does not matter which you choose. Press the plunger until you hear a click sound, this will tell you that all of the dose within the bottle has been administered. Take the nozzle away from the nostril. Remember which nostril you administered into in case you need to re-administer into the second nostril later.

Alternatively, you can watch these handy videos:

Nasal Spray: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/9292/video

Injection: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXebC1rLsqw

4. Put the person into the recovery position

Putting someone in the recovery position can improve their condition until the emergency services arrive. However, we appreciate that many people do not know exactly how to put an unconscious person into this position. Place the person’s nearest arm up at a right angle to their body, in a bent position. Then pull their far arm across their chest, placing the back of their hand against their opposite cheek. Get hold of their furthest leg above the knee, lift it, and roll them towards you until they are on their side. Then use their hand to support their head and bend their top leg at the hip and knee.

CALL our pharmacists at Fresh Therapeutics for more information

5. Monitor until help arrives

Stay alongside the person and monitor their breathing, watching for any signs of improvement. Also, monitor their ability to respond to your sound and your touch.

If the person in question is not conscious, nor breathing normally, then now is the time to administer basic life support, but only if you are trained to do so. This includes things such as CPR.

The most important thing is to constantly be aware. Even if the person wakes up, that is no reason to let your guard down, as they could easily fall unconscious and stop breathing again.

6. What to do if there is no response

If you have gone through the above five steps and there has been no improvement after two or three minutes, or the symptoms return, use a brand new spray in the next nostril. Keep the person in the recovery position while you do this.

7. Remember your own safety

If the person in question is dependent on opioid drugs, you must be careful of the acute withdrawal symptoms that some sprays may cause. If and when a person regains consciousness after using the spray, they may act with aggression for a period of time. Keeping your own safety in mind is always imperative. Symptoms of acute withdrawal can include things such as nervousness, irritability, sweating, shivering, runny nose, fever, sneezing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, aches, cramps, and more.

8. What to do once the ambulance

The first thing you should do is inform a member of the emergency services that you have administered a spray, before telling them which spray it is and handing them a sample bottle of it. If you forget to do the above, you should still hand the used bottles over to a pharmacist or healthcare professional in order to arrange proper disposal and replacements.  Never put the sprays into water waste. Never throw the spray bottles in with your household waste or recycling.

 Training Card for Patients and Carers - Fresh Therapeutics What is Nyxoid - Fresh Therapeutics

 

Check for signs of overdose - Fresh Therapeutics Training Card for Patients and Carers - Fresh Therapeutics


are you tick prepared

Are You Tick Prepared?

It’s tick season on the eastern seaboard of Australia and with school holidays approaching are you tick prepared?

The most important tick in Australia is the Paralysis Tick, Ixodes holocyclus, and over 95% of tick bites in Eastern Australia are due to this species.
Distribution of the Australian Paralysis Tick

Distribution of the Australian Paralysis Tick

The Paralysis Tick is most common in moist, humid coastal areas with abundant native animals that serve as hosts for the tick. Long grasses and bushland provide ideal environments for ticks, and if you live close to these areas, it is not uncommon to have Paralysis Ticks in your garden. This tick has a distinct seasonality; the larval stage is most active during the autumn months, the nymph during winter and the adult during the spring.

This tick is most active during periods of high humidity, especially after rain, and this is when you should take particular care to avoid tick bites.

life cycle of the australian paralysis tick

Life Cycle of the Australian Paralysis Tick
The adult tick is 4mm before feeding on blood and up to 13mm after feeding on blood

A tick attaches itself by piercing its sharp mouthparts into skin. It then injects an anticoagulant (a substance that prevents blood from forming clots) saliva which allows it to feed without the blood clotting. In the case of the Paralysis Tick, the saliva may be highly toxic to some animals and, potentially, humans.

Most tick bites pose no medical problems apart from some localised swelling and redness at the bite site if the tick is removed promptly and properly. However, in some cases, people can experience more severe conditions such as tick paralysis or allergic reactions including anaphylactic shock. Early symptoms of tick paralysis may include rashes, headache, fever, influenza like symptoms, tenderness of lymph nodes, unsteady gait, intolerance to bright light, increased weakness of the limbs and partial facial paralysis. Tick paralysis, while rare, is usually seen in children rather than adults. Allergic reactions can result in swelling of the throat, and may lead to breathing difficulties or collapse. It is important to seek medical attention quickly if such symptoms occur. If you have had similar symptoms in the past after being bitten by a tick, then it is a good idea to always be prepared.

Recently a new syndrome known as “tick-induced mammalian meat allergy” has been described, whereby people bitten by the Paralysis Tick can subsequently develop an anaphylactic reaction to consuming meats and animal by-products such as gelatine. The allergic reactions to meat are typically delayed for 2-10 hours after eating the meat. The allergen in the meat to which people react is called “alphagal”. Some people are so sensitive to alphagal, they react to mammal products, particularly, their milk and gelatine. Any product derived from mammals may cause allergic reactions, making avoidance very difficult as the allergen may be found in a wide range of agents used in medical treatments, as well as in foods.

How to prevent tick bites?

The best way to prevent tick bites is to avoid tick-infested areas.

If this is not possible, wear appropriate clothing such as a long sleeved shirt, long pants tucked into socks and light coloured clothing to make it easier to see ticks on clothes before they attach to the skin.

Before entering possible tick infected environments apply an insect repellent containing diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET) or picaridin to the skin. The higher the concentration of these ingredients, the longer the product will remain effective. We stock Bushman’s and Tropical Aeroguard at Fresh Therapeutics. “All natural” products aren’t recommended as they haven’t been proven effective.

Be thorough when applying repellents – think of it like sunscreen – if you miss an exposed bit it’s likely to get sunburn – likewise for repellents; they only protect the places they’ve been applied. The repellent should be applied and re-applied according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Clothing treated with permethrin is also recommended. Permethrin wash kits for treating clothes can be obtained from outdoor recreational stores and it is important to follow the label directions. Permethrin-treated clothing is considered the most effective means of preventing tick bite in tick infested areas.

All clothing should be removed after visiting tick infested areas and placed into a hot dryer for 20 minutes to kill any tick that could be still on the clothing. The entire body should be then checked for ticks of all sizes and stages, paying particular attention to areas behind the ears and the back of the head or neck, especially on children. Ticks can take up to 2 hours to actually bite you once they’ve found their way onto your skin and even then may go unnoticed for one to two days before you feel the effects of their bite.

life stages of tick

Life Stages of the Tick
Very small ticks sometimes called “grass ticks” or “seed ticks” are in fact juvenile Australian Paralysis Ticks. These will rapidly grow to adult size at which point they’re at their most dangerous and will then lay up to 10,000 eggs before they die

 

Treating Tick Bites

Watch this video that demonstrates the safest way to remove ticks

Adult Ticks

Kill the tick where it is using an ether-containing spray such as Wartec ® Wartner Freeze Off ® Wart-off ® available at Fresh Therapeutics. Hold the spray approximately 0.5cm above the tick and spray 5 times until the tick is frozen.

Then, either wait for it to drop off or seek medical attention for it to be removed using tick removal tweezers (fine-tipped only) taking care to not squeeze the tick because this would cause tick saliva to enter your body, increasing the risk of tick- induced allergies.

For Adult Ticks: “FREEZE IT DON’T SQUEEZE IT”

 

Nymph and Larval Ticks (may look like a splinter)

  • Dab on a blob of permethrin cream (Lyclear ®) to cover the tick (do not rub in)
  • Leave for three hours and then wipe off

NB: There are limited data regarding permethrin use in pregnancy and it is not known whether it can be present in breast milk. During pregnancy, try to avoid exposure to ticks.

For Nymph and Larval Ticks: “DAB IT DON’T GRAB IT”

 

DO NOT:

  • Use household tweezers to remove a tick – they are too wide at the tips and you will inevitably squeeze the tick’s body forcing toxins into your blood
  • Try to scratch or pull it out with your fingernails. Also, don’t scratch something you can’t see if there’s any chance it might be a tick.
  • Try to burn it with a match or lighter.
  • Apply any sort of substance to it. Lyclear Cream is the only substance that should be used (see below).

If the tick is close to the eyes or genitals don’t attempt to remove it yourself but seek medical assistance.

At Fresh Therapeutics we have what you need to be tick prepared:

  • DEET and picardin Sprays
  • Lyclear ® Cream
  • Freeze off Sprays
  • Tick tweezers

Acknowledgements:
http://www.tiara.org.au/
http://ticksafe.com.au/tick-bite-first-aid/
allergyfacts.org.au/shop/food-preparation-tools/allergen-cards/allergen-card-mammalian-meat

Slip Slop Slap Seek Slide

Sense in the Sun: Skin Cancer Awareness

In Australia each year more than 2,000 people die of skin cancer During National Skin Cancer Action Week 2017 (19–25 November). Let’s remember to protect ourselves and our family from sun damage. Skin cancer is common in Australia. Approximately two-thirds of Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70.

In 2017, it is estimated that 13,941 new cases of melanoma skin cancer will be diagnosed. As summer approaches, these statistics should serve as a wake-up call to all Australians about the importance of sun protection. The incidence of skin cancer has risen in Australia. In 1982, the number of new cases of melanoma skin cancer diagnosed was 3,527, and this has increased to 12,744 new cases of melanoma skin cancer diagnosed in 2013.

Types of Skin Cancer

Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Australia, and is more common in men, with almost double the incidence compared to women. Over 750,000 people each year are treated for one or more non-melanoma skin cancers in Australia. Melanoma is the third most common cancer affecting Australians (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer), and the most common cancer in Australians aged 15– 29 years. While the five-year relative survival rate for melanoma is 88% for Australian men and 93% for Australian women, unfortunately in 2014 more than 2,000 people in Australia died from skin cancer. Fortunately, most skin cancers can be prevented simply by ensuring good sun protection.

Tips for Preventing Skin Cancer

National Skin Cancer Action Week 2017 (19–25 November) reminds us of what we can do to ensure good sun protection:

  • slip on sun-protective clothing
  • slop on SPF30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen
  • slap on a broad-brimmed hat
  • seek shade
  • slide on sunglasses

There is no such thing as a safe tan. Solariums are banned in Australia as they are not a safe way to tan and significantly increase the risk of skin cancer.

RELATED: Show You Care About Beating Cancer

‘Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide’

The ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’ campaign, initiated over 35 years ago, has been recognised as one of Australia’s most successful health campaigns. The campaign has more recently been modified to ‘Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide’ (referring to seeking shade and sliding on wraparound sunglasses to prevent sun damage). A combination of these sun protection measures along with getting to know your skin and regularly checking so you can pick up on any changes are the keys to reducing skin cancer risk.

Australian research finds a reduction in non-melanoma cancers with twice daily Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)

A trial was conducted across the Royal Prince Alfred and Westmead Hospitals and included 386 patients who were randomly assigned to receive either a twice daily dose of nicotinamide or a placebo for one year. All the patients had been diagnosed with at least two non-melanoma skin cancers in the previous 5 years, which meant they were at a high risk of developing more cancers. During the twelve months of the study, this group of patients collectively grew 800 new skin cancers.

The team found that at 12 months, the rate of non-melanoma skin cancers was 23% lower in the nicotinamide group than in the placebo group. The number of precancerous lesions was also 13% lower among the people taking nicotinamide compared to those not taking nicotinamide.

Professor Diana Damian, the lead researcher in the study, has emphasised that using nicotinamide to prevent skin cancer is a high-dose treatment rather than a supplement. “This treatment is only for people with a defined medical condition – multiple skin cancers. It’s not suitable for the general population, as we do not have any evidence that it would be beneficial in a lower risk setting.”

Before taking nicotinamide, people should consult with their dermatologist or general practitioner to see whether nicotinamide is suitable for them. It is also very important that people planning to take vitamin B3 take the amide form, nicotinamide, and not the nicotinic acid form. “Nicotinic acid has a range of unpleasant side effects – including flushing, headache and low blood pressure – that we don’t see with nicotinamide”, says Professor Damian.

At Fresh Therapeutics, we stock nicotinamide tablets and our staff can provide information about the medicine.

Other Types of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer (including both melanoma and nonmelanoma) is the most common cancer in Australia, with melanoma the most deadly form. Not to be understated, there are also other skin cancers which can be malignant and cause painful and disfiguring lesions.

Solar keratosis

These are more commonly known as sunspots. New therapies are now available to treat pre-cancerous solar keratosis.

  • These spots can vary in appearance.
  • They may appear scaly, rough or wart-like.
  • They are common on sites which are frequently exposed to the sun, such as the backs of the hands and the face (including the ears, nose, cheeks, upper lip, temples and forehead).

 

Getting to Know Your Skin

It is important to get to know your own skin and identify sun damage. A first step is to check with your doctor or pharmacist if you have doubts about any changes either in skin appearance or in the colour of moles and freckles.

ABCD of Melanoma

A new spot or an existing spot that changes in colour, size or shape should be checked by your doctor.

The Cancer Council website also has useful information on checking for signs of skin cancer: https://www.cancer.org.au/about-cancer/early-detection/

At Fresh Therapeutics, we can help you to choose the best sunscreen for your skin and provide advice on how to be SunSmart. We also have a range of after sun preparations and provide the Pharmaceutical Society Self Care Fact Card entitled Sense in the Sun.
Acknowledgement: Pharmaceutical Society Self Care Program Health Column

infertility problems | Fresh Therapeutics

Fertility Factors for Life

“One in six Australian couples has infertility problems”

Infertility is the inability of a couple to conceive after a year of unprotected intercourse, or the inability to carry pregnancies to a live birth.

Many couples suffering infertility problems can be successfully treated with lifestyle changes, or medical or surgical interventions. For a fertile couple in their twenties having regular unprotected sex, the chance of conceiving each month is only 25%. Infertility is shared equally among men and women.

Common causes of infertility

Causes of infertility are many and varied and involve male, female or a combination of factors. These include problems with:

  •         the production of sperm or eggs
  •         the structure or function of male or female reproductive systems
  •         hormonal and immune conditions
  •         sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia

There are degrees of infertility. The majority of infertile couples are actually sub-fertile – they produce eggs and sperm but have difficulty conceiving due to disorders such as hormone imbalances and problems of the reproductive tract. Cases of total infertility, where no eggs or sperm are produced, are rare.

Key factors affecting fertility

  •         Age
  •         weight
  •         smoking
  •         alcohol use
  •         timing
  •         nutrition
  •         caffeine consumption
  •         exposure to certain toxins.

The Your Fertility website (https://www.yourfertility.org.au) contains information on fertility, including information on factors affecting fertility. By paying attention to certain lifestyle factors, the chances of fertility and having a healthy baby are improved.

A woman’s age is the number one factor affecting a couple’s likelihood of conceiving, as the number of healthy eggs your ovary contains will dramatically decline as you age – especially once you are over 35.

Key ways to improve fertility

  • Stop Smoking

Men and women who smoke often take longer to conceive than those who do not smoke.

– Women who are exposed to other people’s smoking are at increased risk of infertility.

– Male and female smoking significantly reduces the chance of conception and live birth rates, as well as increasing the risk of miscarriage.

Your friendly local pharmacist can discuss the risks of smoking with you and provide advice on strategies, information and treatments such as nicotine replacement therapy to help with quitting smoking.

  • Limit caffeine intake to 1–2 cups of coffee per day.
  • Not drinking alcohol is the safest option for women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Alcohol can affect both male and female fertility.

– In men alcohol can cause impotence, reduced libido and affect sperm quality.   

 Heavy drinking can reduce the chances of having a healthy baby.

  • Exercise

The Your Fertility website has information on the impact of exercise on fertility.

   Regular moderate exercise is beneficial for both men and women

   Moderate regular exercise can improve fertility

   High intensity and high-frequency exercise may reduce fertility

   A healthy body weight improves the chance of conceiving

   Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day

   Talk to your doctor about the best types of physical activities and exercise for you.

  •  Monitor your menstrual cycle

Women can keep a daily record of their menstrual cycle to help recognise when they are more fertile in order to plan a pregnancy. The Your Fertility website has an online ovulation calculator and a tool to help you gauge your fertility potential.

At Fresh Therapeutics our pharmacist can advise on key fertility factors. They can provide you with products used to monitor your menstrual cycle in order to help you recognise the ‘fertile window’ – the best time to try and conceive. This is different for every woman.

In addition, we provide the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s Self Care Fact Cards on titles including; Pregnancy and ovulation and Menstrual chart, as well as lifestyle topics such as Alcohol, Staying a non-smoker, and Weight and health.  We also stock and provide advice on a range of vitamins and minerals for the pre and post conception period.

Acknowledgement: Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Self Care Health Column

 

hearing impairment

Hearing is Precious and Fragile

One in six of all Australians have some type of hearing loss.

August 20–26 is Hearing Awareness Week.

This week is a time for greater community awareness of hearing impairment across all ages. It is a time to look at ways to protect your hearing from future damage due to loud noise, particularly at work.

Hearing Awareness Week is a major event for the Deafness Foundation working with organisations that have similar goals. Events will be organised as well as community screenings for hearing throughout this week.

Those living with hearing loss will have an opportunity to share their experience and knowledge as well as create a greater understanding of their needs and aspirations. It is a chance to explain to Australians what the risks are when exposed to excessive noise, including in the workplace.

Your wondrous ear

The ear is a complex piece of equipment consisting of many parts – not just the visible exterior section – and is responsible not only for hearing but for maintaining balance as well. The outer ear captures sound waves which causes the eardrum to vibrate and the tiny bones in the middle ear to move too. The vibrations pass on to the inner ear to cause tiny hair cells to move. This then causes electrical signals which are sent to the brain, and then deciphered to sound.

Your ears, in combination with your sight and senses, helps maintain balance. The vestibular system, in the inner ear, contains tubes and sacs that are filled with fluid. When movement occurs, this fluid also moves which bends specialised sensory cells. This then leads to an electrical signal to the brain, which is interpreted as movement. Your eyes and muscles can then adjust to help your body maintain balance.

At times problems can occur with this complicated system, due to many causes:

  • ageing
  • ear wax blockage
  • a head injury or trauma
  • loud noise for too long
  • loud noise from industrial environments such as building sites, transport and mining for example using power tools
  • loud noise from exposure to loud music, car racing
  • medications – such as anti-inflammatories and certain antidepressants.

The Hearing Awareness Week website identifies a host of possible causes of noise which can damage hearing – from jack hammers to Formula One racing, food processors and car horns. It describes the maximum safe exposure time without ear protection.

Visit their website and find out ‘how loud is too loud?’ with respect to your favourite electrical device or music event.

‘Noise destroys – turn down the volume’ is the message from the Australian Tinnitus Association. Tinnitus is a condition where noises or ringing in the ears or head occurs. Many of us experience tinnitus from time to time.

Common risk factors

  • ageing
  • a genetic (inherited) disorder
  • high blood pressure or narrowing of the arteries
  • smoking – can induce tinnitus
  • gender – men are more likely to experience tinnitus.

Possible aggravating factors for tinnitus include:

  • some medicines, such as anti-inflammatory and certain antidepressant medicines
  • caffeine (found in tea, coffee, cola drinks or chocolate)
  • alcohol may worsen tinnitus
  • smoking narrows the blood vessels that supply vital oxygen to the ears. Quitting smoking can help with managing tinnitus.

There is no cure for tinnitus but we can learn how to manage it.

Tips for healthy hearing

  • Avoid too much noise
  • Buy appliances and devices with a low noise rating
  • Wear hearing protection such as earplugs or noise cancelling headphones
  • Walk away from noise
  • Remove earwax carefully
  • Check medications for hearing risks
  • Don’t smoke
  • Have your hearing checked.

When to see your doctor

  • If you notice any deterioration of your hearing
  • Feel as though people are mumbling all the time
  • If you have any buzzing, ringing, hissing, clicking or roaring
  • If you have sudden hearing loss
  • Often misunderstand what people are saying
  • Get complaints that you have the radio or television too loud.

Treatment for common ear problems is often relatively easy, provided the cause can be identified early on. At Fresh Therapeutics pharmacies we provide advice on a range of options. We also provide the Pharmaceutical Society Self Care Fact Card entitled Ear problems that can help with hints on how to reduce the risk of ear problems and how to treat those problems effectively when they do occur.

Acknowledgement: Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Self Care Health Column

Breast Feeding Mother

Medicines and Breastfeeding

Medicines and Breastfeeding 5 things you need to know about medicines and breastfeeding

Breast is best. However if you are breastfeeding, ask our pharmacists at Fresh Therapeutics before you take a medicine (prescription or over the counter), natural remedy or complementary medicine as:

1. Some medicines can reduce milk flow or production

2. Many medicines pass from mother’s bloodstream into milk supply but usually in amounts too small to be harmful to baby

3. Some medicines that pass into breast milk can affect baby and some can be harmful to baby

4. Some herbal remedies, natural products and complementary medicines can pass into breast milk and affect baby

5. Medicines in creams on the breast may be ingested by baby

For more advice and information see us in-store, check out the full article about medicines and breastfeeding below.


MEDICINES AND BREASTFEEDING – WORLD BREASTFEEDING WEEK

The first week of August is World Breastfeeding Week. It is celebrated every year around the world to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies worldwide. This year’s theme is ‘Sustaining breastfeeding together’. This theme focusses on working together for the common good.

Australian statistics from the 2010 Australian National Infant Feeding Survey showed that although most babies (96%) in Australia were initially breastfed, only 39% of babies were exclusively breastfed to 3 months, and only 15% were breastfed to 5 months.

‘Exclusive breastfeeding’ means the child receives only breast milk (including expressed milk) and no other fluids, food or water (with the exception of vitamins, minerals and medicines where necessary). The National Health and Medical Research Council’s Infant Feeding Guidelines recommend exclusive breastfeeding of infants until 6 months of age, with combined complementary food and breastfeeding until 12 months of age. Breastfeeding provides health benefits for both breastfed babies and breastfeeding mothers.

Let’s consider taking medicines when breastfeeding.

Medicines can be defined as either prescription (only available with a prescription from a healthcare professional such as a doctor), over-the-counter (available without a prescription, often from a pharmacy) and complementary (e.g. herbal, natural and alternative medicines). Most medicines pass into breast milk but usually only in very small quantities. These quantities are generally too small to be harmful to the baby.

Many women will take some kind of medicine when breastfeeding. Some breastfeeding mothers may need to take medicine regularly to treat a medical condition. Others may take medicine occasionally when required to treat a sudden, limiting condition such as a headache, cough or cold. It is important when using any medicine while breastfeeding to consider the benefits to the mother compared with any risk it may pose to the baby. Discuss this with your doctor or pharmacist.

Before taking any medicines, ask the pharmacist if they are safe to take while breastfeeding and confirm the correct dose. Check the active ingredients as the type and strength may differ between brands and you do not want to take more than is required. If you are unsure, always check with the pharmacist. Medicines such as simple pain relievers (e.g. paracetamol and ibuprofen) are safe to take by breastfeeding mothers in the lowest recommended dose.

Many cough and cold medicines contain a combination of ingredients to treat the symptoms of coughs and colds. Some of the active ingredients in these preparations may interfere with the mother’s ability to make milk (e.g. oral decongestants), or cause side effects in your baby (e.g. codeine, sedating antihistamines, or oral decongestants). Avoid cough and cold preparations that contain a combination of ingredients when breastfeeding. Instead, if needed, it is sometimes safer to use cough and cold preparations with only one active ingredient to treat a specific symptom of your cold. Other ways of relieving cough and cold symptoms that do not require taking medicines include resting, drinking plenty of water, gargling warm, salty water or drinking honey and lemon drinks to soothe the throat.

Some medicines should not be taken when breastfeeding. Chemotherapy agents (drugs for cancer), ergotamine derivatives (e.g. bromocriptine), gold salts, iodine, amiodarone (used for heart rhythm problems), radiopharmaceuticals (for nuclear medicine scans), and illegal or street drugs should not be taken when breastfeeding.

At Fresh Therapeutics we provide you with advice about taking medicines when breastfeeding. We subscribe to the Royal Womens’ Hospital Pregnancy and Beastfeeding Medicines Guide. We may be able to suggest alternative ways of helping relieve troublesome symptoms such as using a nasal spray rather than taking a tablet. Always make your doctor and pharmacist aware that you are breastfeeding if you are being prescribed or taking medicines.

We also have more detailed information on medicines and breastfeeding in the Pharmaceuticals Society’s Self Care Fact Card Medicines and breastfeeding available at Fresh Therapeutics Pharmacies.

Remember: always talk to a pharmacist, doctor, or other health professional before taking any medicine when breastfeeding and take the exact dose prescribed.

Acknowledgement: Pharmaceutical Society Self Care Health Column


Get your freebies! Fresh Therapeutics is a collection point for both: Mother To Be Bounty Bags + New Mother Bounty Bags while stocks last.

Fresh Therapeutics has mother and baby services including Baby Weighing ServiceBreast Pump AdviceMedicines and Breastfeeding Advice. At both locations, we offer specialised compounding services for babies or children that have difficulty swallowing or tolerating a manufactured medicine. We work with you and your doctor to customise a medicine to meet the individual needs of your child – it may be sugar-free, alcohol-free, preservative free, colour or dye free or simply, easier to take.

Dental Health Week - Fresh Therapeutics Compounding Pharmacy

Dental Health Week

Dental Health Week AustraliaDental Health Week, which this year runs from 7 to 13 August, is the Australian Dental Association’s major annual oral health promotion event. It aims to educate Australians about the importance of maintaining good oral health in every aspect of their lives.

Dental Health Week has three main objectives:

  •         Promote oral health education and awareness in the general community.
  •         Motivate and educate dental professionals to promote oral health.
  •         Encourage ongoing collaboration within the dental profession.

This year, the theme of Dental Health Week is ‘oral health for busy lives’. This week aims to help people understand and appreciate that regardless of their individual life circumstances and how busy they are, caring for teeth and gums can be done. Care for teeth and gums may be seen as optional and something extra to do, and can be forgotten if more urgent tasks arise. However, caring for teeth and gums is vital. This week, the Australian Dental Association encourages people to take time to brush and floss their teeth properly, and to make booking an appointment with your dentist a priority.

Many people think that it’s perfectly normal for their gums to bleed when they brush or floss. But, of course, it’s not. Bleeding is usually a sign that something untoward has happened to your body. Bleeding gums are a sign that your gums are inflamed due to disease-causing bacteria. Ignoring bleeding which results from brushing and flossing means you stand a real risk of developing a serious form of gum disease.

The two main stages of gum disease are gingivitis and periodontitis.

Gingivitis is an early form of gum disease that occurs when dental plaque (the bacterial film that covers the surfaces of your mouth) builds up on your teeth, particularly where the gum and tooth meet. When this happens, your gums may appear red, swollen, feel extra sensitive, and bleed easily. Fortunately, gingivitis doesn’t lead to a loss of the bone and tissue that hold your teeth in place and can be reversed with twice daily brushing and flossing, as well as regular professional cleaning by your dentist or dental hygienist.

Ignoring the bleeding caused by gingivitis could lead to the more serious form of gum disease periodontitis. The reason this disease is so serious is that it causes your gums to pull away from your teeth, forming spaces (known as ‘pockets’) that can easily become infected. Naturally your body’s immune system fights the infection, but this response and the bacterial toxins generated by the infection combine to create a toxic brew that breaks down the bone and tissue that hold your teeth in place and, in severe cases, can lead to their removal.

In addition to plaque, which is largely responsible for the development of gum disease, the health of your gums can also be affected by:

  •         smoking and tobacco use
  •         genetic predisposition
  •         systemic diseases like diabetes and arthritis
  •         stress and poor nutrition
  •         hormonal fluctuations (e.g. those experienced during puberty, pregnancy, menstruation and menopause).

Dental Health Week is the perfect time to think about to how you brush your teeth. Most people do not think much about how they brush their teeth, apart from squirting on some toothpaste and scrubbing back and forth. But as your dentist will tell you, how you brush your teeth matters a great deal. That’s because brushing plays a critical role in removing the plaque that can cause tooth decay and gum disease. You’ve probably heard that message a thousand times, but there’s a good chance you’re not brushing correctly or as frequently as you should. How often you brush, how long you brush for, the kind of technique and toothbrush you use all have a major impact on the effectiveness of your brushing. For example, did you know that you should be brushing for a minimum of two minutes, twice a day? Most people don’t come close to brushing for that long and often brush their teeth quickly and distractedly, in the middle of many other pressing tasks. Talk to your dentist if you have any questions on proper brushing technique, or if you are unsure about the best toothbrush for you.

Some medicines have side effects such as dry mouth that can affect oral health. As medicine experts our pharmacists can provide advice on how to manage these side effects. At Fresh Therapeutics we stock products to help people living with dental and oral hygiene issues, and we provide advice on these products. We also compound specialised mouthwashes prescribed by doctors and dentists.

In addition, as a member of the  Pharmaceutical  Society of Australia Self Care Program we have Fact Cards available that include titles such as Dry mouth, Mouth ulcers, Oral health and Menopause.

Come to Fresh Therapeutics for more advice and service about preventing tooth and gum disease.

Acknowledgement: Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Self Care Health Column

 

Food Additive Allergies

Compounding for Food and Food Additive Allergies

compounding for food - food allergiesAustralia has one of the highest reported incidences of food allergies in the world, and the numbers are growing at an alarming rate with one in 10 babies born in Australia today forecast to develop a food allergy. Food allergy is an allergic response to particular foods or food additives. Food intolerance occurs when the body has a chemical reaction to eating a particular food or drink. Unlike food allergies, intolerances do not involve the body’s immune system. Food intolerance symptoms include headaches, bloating, wind, nausea, mouth ulcers or hives, and can occur several hours after a food is eaten.

An allergic reaction can quickly become life threatening and people can die from food allergy. It’s up to all of us to be allergy aware – to know how to minimise the risk of a reaction, to know what to do if a reaction happens, and to understand and support family, friends and colleagues living with food allergies.

Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA) is a charitable, not for profit organisation whose aim is to improve awareness of allergy in the Australian community. They do this by sharing current information, education, advocacy, research, guidance and support.

The signs and symptoms of a food allergic reaction may occur almost immediately after eating or most often within 20 minutes to 2 hours after eating. Rapid onset and development of potentially life threatening symptoms are characteristic markers of anaphylaxis.

Allergic symptoms may initially appear mild or moderate but can progress very quickly. The most dangerous allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) involve the respiratory system (breathing) and/or cardiovascular system (heart and blood pressure).

Common signs and symptoms of food allergy:

  • ·         hives, welts or body redness
  • ·         difficult and/or noisy breathing
  • ·         swelling of the face, lips, eyes, throat or tongue
  • ·         vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea
  • ·         tingling of the mouth
  • ·         difficulty talking and/or hoarse voice
  • ·         wheeze or persistent cough
  • ·         persistent dizziness and/or collapse

Removing allergens from the house makes life much easier for the allergy sufferer; however this isn’t always possible, particularly if the allergen is egg or milk, often staple, healthy foods for most of the family. Always read food labels on purchasing foods and then again when about to eat them.

If you do have the allergen in your home, try these tips:

  • Wash contaminated kitchen utensils in hot soapy water or in the dishwasher.
  • Use disposable paper towelling to wipe surfaces where the allergen has been used to avoid contaminating your everyday sponge or dishcloth.
  • If egg allergic, use a sealed labelled container in the fridge to contain foods like mayonnaise, eggs, Pavlova, leftover quiche, or muffins.
  • Use a labelled basket in the fridge and/or pantry for foods that are safe for the person with a particular food allergy to eat. Place it on the top shelf of the fridge so other foods cannot spill into it.
  • Use separate oil for cooking food for the person with a food allergy.

Your doctor may recommend you carry an injectable dose of adrenaline with you at all times. Adrenaline is used in severe reactions and can be a life-saving measure. Adrenaline is available for eligible patients on the PBS and can also be bought over the counter after a pharmacist consultation.

The risk of developing food allergies is greater if you have a family history of allergic conditions. If you or your partner has an allergy, your child has a 30 per cent chance of inheriting the allergic gene and therefore could develop eczema, asthma, hay fever or a food allergy. If both parents have a history of some allergic condition, your child has a 40 to 60 per cent chance of having a child with some form of allergy.

Some medicines contain preservatives or food additives for colouring or flavouring that can cause allergic reactions in some people. Ask your pharmacist if a medicine contain a preservative or additive that may upset you. If you need a medicine that has an additive that causes a problem we can compound the medicine into a different formulation without the allergen.  Ask your doctor to contact Fresh Therapeutics to discuss the best formulation for you.

It is important to speak to a health professional about any concerns you may have. If you or someone you care for has a reaction to any food, seek medical advice. If you are worried about a serious reaction, call an ambulance or go directly to hospital.

Diabetes – Are You at Risk?

diabetes - are you at riskAt Fresh Therapeutics our trained pharmacists support people with Diabetes Type I or Type II and help people recognise their risk of developing Type II diabetes.

Diabetes is recognised as the world’s fastest growing chronic condition. The number of people with type 2 diabetes is growing in each country. In 2015, the International Diabetes Federation’s Diabetes Atlas estimated that:

  •         one in 11 adults has diabetes (415 million)
  •         one in seven births is affected by gestational diabetes
  •         three-quarters (75%) of people with diabetes live in low- and middle-income countries
  •         542,000 children have type 1 diabetes
  •         every six seconds a person dies from diabetes (5 million deaths).

Diabetes is the epidemic of the 21st century and also the biggest challenge confronting Australia’s health system. In Australia, 280 people develop diabetes every day. That’s one person every five minutes. More than 100,000 Australians have developed diabetes in the past year. The total annual cost impact of diabetes in Australia is estimated at $14.6 billion.

Diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when there is too much glucose in the blood. This happens if the body is not producing insulin or if insulin is not working properly. Glucose is a particular type of sugar – it is needed to provide energy for the body. Insulin is required to enable glucose to enter the body’s cells and be converted to energy. Insulin also allows glucose to be stored in muscle, the liver, and other tissues.

There are a number of different types of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which the pancreas does not produce insulin. This type represents 10–15% of all cases of diabetes and is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases in developed nations. Type 1 diabetes is not caused by lifestyle factors. There is no cure and it cannot be prevented.

Most people with diabetes (85-90% of cases), have type 2 diabetes. They still produce insulin but it does not work as well or the pancreas does not make enough insulin. It usually affects mature adults, but younger people, even children, are now getting type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is more common in people who have low levels of physical activity or are overweight or obese, but it also occurs in people who have a family history of diabetes and people with other risk factors (e.g. increasing age or poor diet).

Less well known is gestational diabetes – a form of diabetes that occurs in pregnancy and mostly disappears after the birth. This type may be caused by the woman’s body not being able to make enough insulin or not being able to use it correctly during pregnancy. It is usually found by having a blood test between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.

Pre-diabetes is a condition where blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. People with pre-diabetes have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

A balanced diet and regular physical activity are key elements of preventing and managing diabetes. Being overweight or obese increases the chance of getting diabetes. While the underlying causes of obesity are complex, the resulting problems are well known; type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) disease, osteoarthritis and sleep apnoea are some of these problems.

It is important to take a balanced view with regard to nutrition, drawing on a range of foods rather than focusing on single nutrients as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. No single food is responsible for weight gain

Visit Fresh Therapeutics Pharmacies to learn more about diabetes and how it can be managed. If you have any of the risk factors for diabetes such as excess weight or smoking, now is the perfect time to ask our pharmacists about lifestyle changes.

At Fresh Therapeutics we offer a range of resources and support for diabetes including:

  •         diabetes screening tests with referrals to your doctor
  •         diabetes management services including monitoring of blood glucose levels, weight and diabetes medicines
  •         advice on diabetes medicines
  •         review of diabetes medicines
  •         weight management services
  •         blood glucose monitoring devices
  •         supply of blood glucose test strips as part of the National Diabetes Services Scheme
  •         quit smoking products and services
  •         health information including Self Care Fact Cards.

You can also purchase a range of products stocked by the Diabetes NSW shop at Fresh Therapeutics Broadway including:

  •         blood glucose monitors (Roche GuideÒ, PerformaÒ, Dario Smart MeterÒ, Abbott FreestyleÒ, Bayer Contour NextÒ
  •         blood glucose and ketone strips (Roche Accu-chekÒ, Freestyle Optium Ò, DarioÒ, OneTouch VarioÒ, Bayer ContourÒ, TRUEtrakÒ, CareSenseÒ)
  •         a range of sharps collection containers
  •         Lancets and Lancing devices (FastclixÒ SoftclixÒ, MulticlixÒ, CarelanceÒ,
  •         Diabetes Travel Packs (FrioÒ, MedactivÒ, Diabet-EzyÒ)
  •         Hypo treatments (GlucodinÒ,TrueplusÒ)
  •         Diaries and Test wipes (WebcolÒ Novo DiaryÒ)
  •         Needles (NovoÒ, BDÒ,  and Pens (Sanofi ClikSTARÒ, Lily Huma PenÒ, NovoPenÒ
  •         Medical Identification
  •         Skin care (Eulactol GoldÒ Heel Balm, EpadermÒ, EgoÒ, AveeniÒ)
  •         Blood Pressure Monitors (OmronÒ, MicrolifeÒ)

You can join Diabetes Australia at Fresh Therapeutics.  We provide the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s Self Care Fact Cards include Blood glucose monitoring, Diabetes type 1, Diabetes type 2, and Weight and health as well information about how to engage with the NSW Health Get Healthy service.

Fresh Therapeutics Men's Health

Men’s Health

Men's Health - Fresh TherapeuticsThis year, the theme of Men’s Health Week is ‘Healthy Body – Healthy Mind: Keeping the Balance’. This theme explores the different ways men and boys are managing to keep healthy – physically and emotionally – in a busy and sometimes challenging world. From 12–18 June 2017, communities around the country will come together to create events, promotions and activities tailored to the needs of men and boys.

Men and boys face different health and wellbeing concerns than women and girls, and Men’s Health Week is an opportunity to both acknowledge their differences and look for ways to improve the health and wellbeing of men and boys throughout Australia.

There is an ongoing, increasing and mostly silent crisis in the health and wellbeing of men and boys. Due to a lack of awareness, poor health education, and culturally conditioned behaviour patterns in their work and personal lives, the health and wellbeing of men and boys is an area of concern. In Australia and in several other countries, men and boys experience significantly higher rates of addiction, violence, crime, accident and premature death in comparison to their female counterparts. Life expectancy for men is around four years less than that of women (80.1 years compared to 84.3 years).

Men also show significantly higher rates of death from cancer, heart disease, homicide and suicide. Australia has taken a leading role in establishing Men’s Health Week as a well-known and clearly-defined event that focuses attention on men’s health and wellbeing issues and stimulates health promoting activities at all levels.

The National Male Health Policy (released in May 2010) provides a framework for improving male health across Australia – with a focus on taking action on multiple fronts. It identifies six priority areas for action. These are to promote:

  • Priority 1: Optimal health outcomes for males.
  • Priority 2: Health equity between population groups of males.
  • Priority 3: Improved health for males at different life stages.
  • Priority 4: A focus on preventive health for males.
  • Priority 5: Building a strong evidence base on male health.
  • Priority 6: Improved access to health care for males.

A clear opportunity exists for health and other organisations – public, voluntary and private, national and local – to work together to focus attention on key men’s health issues and to develop practical initiatives that can make a difference to the health of Australian men.

During Men’s Health Week let’s reach out to Aussie men and boys and create events that respond to the issues impacting on the health of men, boys and their families in your local area– useful men’s health information, event ideas and contacts, as well as other resources, are available from www.menshealthweek.org.au

Most men’s health problems are preventable. What is required is a new approach to health interventions and health promotion which delivers messages to men that their health and wellbeing is important and encourages men to access health services more regularly to set up a health maintenance plan with their doctor. Many men typically do not access medical, allied health or welfare services in a timely way when their health and wellbeing is at risk. Accordingly health services need to review their way of operating and be mindful of making their services more men friendly.

At Fresh Therapeutics our pharmacists can advise on men’s health and an encourage men to have their blood pressure, weight and BMI and alcohol intake checked. We provide advice on the various local services available for smoking cessation, weight management, alcohol management and exercise. We also provide information and advice on the medicines you take.

At Fresh Therapeutics you can get more detailed information in the Self Care Fact Cards on  Men’s health, Erectile dysfunction, Exercise and the Heart, Fat and Cholesterol  and Prostate problems.