Advice You Can Trust, From Your Friendly Pharmacists
Our pharmacists are a wealth of knowledge. They have compiled the advice below for their most frequently asked about various topics. Read on — and remember: our pharmacists are always happy to answer your questions and make sure you understand how to take your medication.
Acetaminophen is a common component of many different over-the-counter and prescription medications to relieve pain. Although it is available without a prescription, it should be used with careful consideration since taking too much can cause liver damage.
- Look at the ingredients and amounts of acetaminophen in all medications you are taking.
- Consult your pharmacist or doctor for recommendations on the appropriate products and amount of acetaminophen that is right for you.
- When in doubt about the contents or identity of any medication, contact your United pharmacy for information.
Nearly 22 million Americans have asthma, and almost 6 million of these are children. Although it cannot be cured, asthma can be managed with little to no symptoms through medication and preventative activities. Let us help manage your asthma with the appropriate medications, vaccinations, or counseling to address any questions or concerns you may have.
- To help prevent flare ups, stay current on vaccinations including your annual flu vaccine. Seek treatment for even minor respiratory infections and use maintenance treatments even if you feel fine.
- With the wind and frequent climate changes in our area, asthma can be even complicated to control.
Celiac Disease (Sprue)
Celiac disease, or Sprue, is an inherited autoimmune disease in which the lining of the small intestine is damaged from eating gluten and other proteins found in wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats. Affected individuals can present with a wide array of gastrointestinal symptoms (diarrhea, constipation, cramping) and other nonintestinal issues, so a diagnosis is often difficult. At United, we offer a wide variety of gluten-free options to accommodate your diet. Our Pharmacy, in cooperation with our Living Well department, can help educate you on the appropriate use of medications and supplements to maintain optimal health.
- Treatment for celiac disease consists of following a gluten-free diet. This includes foods and beverages as well as medications.
- Vitamins and mineral supplements are critical to prevent nutritional deficiencies, and steroids may be used to treat flare-ups of the disease.
Cholesterol/Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary artery disease occurs when the main vessels that feed the heart muscle become coated and blocked with cholesterol. Every year, coronary artery disease causes 1.2 million heart attacks, with a 40% mortality rate. At United, we can help keep you heart healthy by monitoring your cholesterol (HDL, LDL, triglycerides) and blood glucose. Test results are as accurate as those from a physician’s office, cost less than many office co-pays, and you’ll get results immediately. Our pharmacists will even explain your results and how to optimize your diet, lifestyle, or medications if necessary.
Did you know that 1 in 5 Americans is at risk for Type 2 Diabetes? Nearly 6 million people in the United States today are living with undiagnosed diabetes. If diagnosed and managed early through lifestyle and possibly medication, someone with diabetes can continue a long, healthy, enjoyable life. Visit any of our pharmacies for help with blood glucose testing, testing supplies, medication management, and to ask any questions you may have about the disease.
- With this disease, you may or may not show signs or symptoms such as increased hunger, thirst, urination, fatigue, weight loss, blurred vision, or sores that do not heal.
- If you have a family history of the disease, you are at a greater risk for developing diabetes.
- Diabetes can lead to increased risk of severe infections and complications such as blindness, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease.
Discontinued or Unavailable Medication (Compounding)
All too often we find a medication we’ve come to rely on is either no longer manufactured, or is unavailable for some reason. Through our own compounding pharmacy, we can work with your doctor to provide an equivalent version of your medication so you can avoid the uncertainty of switching to an alternative drug. Your compounded medication can be shipped directly to you or your United pharmacy, and as always, our pharmacists are still available to counsel you.
More than 200,000 people are hospitalized and 36,000 people die from seasonal flu complications each year in the United States. Get vaccinated early and take everyday precautions such as frequent hand washing, use of alcohol hand gels, and coughing into your upper sleeve or elbow. Visit our immunizations page to see which of our pharmacy locations offer the flu vaccine.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control, anyone 6 months and older who doesn’t have a medical reason to withhold the flu vaccine should receive it annually.
- We offer both the injectable and intranasal forms of the vaccine at many of our locations.
- Businesses may consult with their local United pharmacy about flu shot clinics to protect employees and eliminate time lost from work.
- The vaccine is fully covered once annually for Medicare Part B members.
Despite the name, heartburn has nothing to do with the heart. It's actually a digestive problem that occurs when stomach acid comes into contact with the lining of the esophagus, causing irritation. About 20% of adults have heartburn at least once a month, but many have symptoms more frequently. At United, we carry a variety of over-the-counter products that can help relieve symptoms. There are also a number of prescription products available to treat more severe heartburn. Consult with your pharmacist for help managing heartburn safely and effectively.
- These uncomfortable episodes can be managed and often eliminated with some changes in diet, medication, and weight loss.
- Heartburn can actually be caused by some medications (aspirin, pain relievers, antibiotics, etc.)
- More severe episodes of heartburn should be evaluated by a physician for underlying problems.
- If your heartburn occurs more often than once weekly, determine the possible cause and find a treatment that works.
About 1 in 3 adults in the United States has hypertension, or high blood pressure. Unfortunately, most people don’t know they have a problem until they see symptoms resulting from the disease such as a heart disease, kidney failure, or stroke. Stop by any of our pharmacy locations to have your blood pressure tested. While you're there, ask about medication management, counseling, or any other strategy to treat high blood pressure.
- Have your blood pressure checked routinely – starting with children as early as 3 years old.
- A family history of hypertension puts you at risk for the same, so be more vigilant about monitoring for the disease.
- Hypertension can be managed through lifestyle changes, medications, and continued monitoring by your physician.
Staying up-to-date on recommended vaccines can protect you, your family, friends, and community members from serious, life-threatening infections. Check with your local United Supermarkets Pharmacy for vaccines and times available.
Immunization facts and tips:
- School age children are required to have specific vaccinations to remain in the public school system, so make sure they are up to date BEFORE registration for the upcoming school year.
- It is recommended that adults receive an annual flu vaccine, preventative pneumonia and shingles vaccines, and stay current with a tetanus booster every 10 years.
- Many of our pharmacies offer full travel vaccinations for vacations or mission trips out of the United States.
- Select stores participate in the Texas Vaccines for Children Program.
Medication Therapy Management
Did you know the average senior citizen fills approximately 40 prescriptions a year? That’s a lot of time, money, doctors’ visits and doses to keep up with. Factor in daily vitamins, supplements, dietary concerns, and any diseases to manage, and you’ll see a tremendous task for anyone to take on. Fortunately, your United pharmacy is here to help. Our pharmacist can help address medication concerns, questions about interactions, duplicate therapies, and other potential options through medication therapy management.
- Attend one of our pharmacy “Brown Bag Sessions” which allow you to bring in your medications and discuss your needs, or call to make an appointment.
- For many individuals with Medicare drug coverage (Part D), your plan may offer this service as part of your coverage.
Meningitis is an infection that causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Even when the infection is treated with antibiotics, death or permanent disability due to nerve impairment can result. Visit our immunizations page to see which of our pharmacy locations offer the meningococcal vaccine (listed as Meningo).
- The dose is ideally given at 11-12 years of age, but anyone from age 2 and up who has an increased risk of contracting the disease is encouraged to get vaccinated.
- College freshmen living in dormitories, military recruits, and individuals traveling outside of the country are encouraged to learn more about the need for the vaccine.
Nausea and Vomiting (Compounding)
Let us help you recover from a stomach upset faster with a specially compounded topical gel. A small amount of the medicated gel is applied to the wrists using a convenient, unit dose applicator – no measuring or unwrapping, or risk of incorrect dosing. Gels are available for children and adults and can help relieve the discomfort associated with nausea and vomiting. We can also help expectant mothers endure bouts of morning sickness.
- A prescription is required for the topical gels, and we can provide assistance in insurance reimbursement and billing.
Over-the-Counter Medications for Children
We can’t always get to the pediatrician for minor health issues; so many parents will turn to their United pharmacy for solutions. While there are many over-the-counter options to treat pain, skin irritations and allergies, or colds symptoms, it helps to remember that children are not “little adults” when it comes to selecting medications. If you aren’t sure what’s best for your child, just ask our pharmacists. We’re here to help.
Children’s over-the-counter medication facts and tips:
- Follow the guidelines on the formulations specifically designed for children.
- Do not give smaller portions of products designed for adults.
- Be aware of products that contain acetaminophen – this is often found in many over-the-counter products, as well as prescription medications. Too much acetaminophen can cause liver damage or death.
- Many products safe for adults can be deadly in children when used improperly!
- Our pharmacists can help in determining an appropriate product or dose, or refer you to your pediatrician when an over-the-counter product is not the best option for your child.
Most people know they need a flu shot every year, but it’s also wise to consider getting a pneumonia shot as well. Pneumonia is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable death in the United States, and when combined with the flu, it is the fifth leading cause. Visit our immunizations page to see which of our pharmacy locations offer the pneumonia vaccine (listed as Pneumo).
- Most children will get their first dose of pneumonia vaccine before age 2, but some people are urged to get a second dose as well.
- It is important for anyone over age 65 to get the pneumonia vaccine.
- Regardless of age, anyone with a weakened immune system, heart disease, asthma or COPD, or diabetes, is recommended to get the vaccine.
- If you are over age 65 and more than 5 years have passed since receiving the vaccine, you will need a second dose.
- The pneumonia vaccine is fully covered by Medicare Part B once every five years for members.
Seasonal allergies affect more than 40 million people in the United States annually, costing more than $1 billion for treatment. While these allergies are not harmful, they can cause a great deal of discomfort and disrupt daily activities. At United, we carry a wide range of over-the-counter medications in addition to prescription drugs to help relieve your allergy symptoms.
- Allergy medications come in a variety of formulations for both children and adults.
- Several non-drowsy products are available.
- Consult with your doctor or pharmacist for help in selecting the best medications to treat your symptoms.
Shingles is a painful skin rash that is caused by the same virus as chicken pox, and can occur at any age. The virus remains in the body after having recovered from chicken pox and individuals with lowered immune function (from illness, stress, chemotherapy, steroids, etc.) are more prone to getting it. Very rarely, shingles can lead to pneumonia, hearing problems, blindness, brain inflammation (encephalitis) or death. For about 1 person in 5, severe pain can continue even after the rash clears up (called post-herpetic neuralgia). Visit our immunizations page to see which of our pharmacy locations offer the shingles vaccine (listed as Zoster) to help prevent or reduce the severity of shingles.
- The vaccine is a one-time dose given at age 60 or older.
- All Medicare Part D plans will cover the vaccine with minimal expense to the member.
Although the summer is the main time we think about sun safety, it’s important to take precautions throughout the entire year.
- 80% of a person's lifetime sun exposure is acquired before age 18. As a parent, you can be a good role model and foster skin cancer prevention habits in your child.
- Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or greater 30 minutes before sun exposure, then reapply every 2 hours thereafter.
- Although sunscreen typically does not list an expiration date, it DOES lose the protective benefits, so it’s important to replace sunscreen annually.
- Some medications can cause an increased sensitivity to the sun. Among these are many antihistamines, blood pressure medications, statin drugs for cholesterol, anti-seizure medications, antidepressants, hormones, diabetic medications, sleep aids, vitamins, and dietary supplements.