OTC Related Help

Discussion in 'Pharmacy' started by jay04002, Dec 5, 2008.

  1. jay04002

    jay04002 Junior Member
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    Guys i just have a question... either a pharmacist or students can put their two cents if they want...
    i am currently a second year pharmacy student and i work at CVS. There are alot of people come and ask me about OTC products and want me to suggest OTC stuff for certain conditions. but i have a really limited info about OTC products, can someone please tell me any good resources (reliable) to read about OTC products and any softwares like Lexi for my PDA (palm)...
    thank you so much for your time and effort
     
  2. loo

    loo Always Sleepy
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    Not to be a jerk, but many (if not all) states have legislation prohibiting non-licensed (read non-pharmacist) personnel from advising patients/customers on any medicinal ingredients (what to take, how to take, dosage, etc). You should run it through the pharmacist first or refer the patient to the RPh. I wouldn't "shoot from the hip" without the pharmacist knowing what you're doing.

    There are many online otc resources, I would just google it.
     
  3. DaddyOAK

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    I can't speak for all the states, but at least a few let the Intern Pharmacist council with an RP over their shoulder. I'm assuming if OP is a P2 he must be an intern by now.

    For hardcopy, the SFI company makes OTC drug cards. I've not looked for software, yet.

    www.sfirx.com methinks.
     
  4. jay04002

    jay04002 Junior Member
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    Hey guys thank you for the reply, i am an intern and right now i go to school in NC which allows interns to counsel patients and my pharmacists are completely ok with it (which is really good). and thank you for the OTC card website i will defiantly look into it...

    appreciate the replies, thank you
     
  5. BravoKilo

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    How about asking your pharmacist/preceptor? Whenever we're filling prescriptions and its not too busy we'll go over questions I don't know answers to, or he'll quiz me on things he thinks I should know.
    It's not only important to be able to make the right recommendation, but also know when you need to ask the pharmacist for additional help.

    And for the record, MI also allows licensed interns to advise on medication use.
     
  6. jay04002

    jay04002 Junior Member
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    thank you Bravokilo, i do ask my pharmacist but the thing is there are so many ingredients out there for OTC i just cant keep all of them straight you know what i mean?? so i was looking for a way to have them organized in a flashcard or some other formate that might help me remember them better and also i dont use alot of OTC products so dont really know what kind of questions to ask to my pharmacist during the down time...

    once again thank you all for the replies...
     
  7. BravoKilo

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    So far I just rely on repetition -- whenever someone comes to ask the pharmacist a question, I make sure to listen in. Based on what the patient says, make your own 'game plan' and see how it compares to what the pharmacist recommends. If I don't know why a specific recommendation was made, I ask.

    With it being cold/flu season, 99% of our questions are simply 'what should I take if I'm coughing/sneezing/congested/sore throat/etc.'. What symptoms would you treat with decongestants? antihistamines? expectorants? suppressants?

    That being said I have a hell of a time remembering proper treatments when peds or pregnant women are involved -- in those cases, I get the pharmacist.
     
  8. confettiflyer

    confettiflyer Did you just say something?
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    Yeah I'm surprised that there's really a lot to know. I just wrapped up a small elective class on OTC medications, vaccinations, and self-diagnostic tests...kind of surprising.

    The topics you should dig into are usually:

    1) Pain -- APAP vs. NSAID's
    2) Antihistamines -- drowsy vs. non-drowsy
    3) Antitussive vs. Expectorant
    4) Smoking cessation -- lozenge, gum, patch, Rx
    5) Pregnancy tests (when to use), fertility tests
    6) Drug tests (illicit, Rx)
    7) HIV tests
    8) Decongestants -- PSE/PE, ask about HTN
    9) Dyspepsia/GERD
    10) Constipation/Diarrhea
    11) Derm -- fungal, etc...
    12) Herbal -- St. John's Wort, Gingko Biloba, Ech., etc...
    13) Vitamins

    I think that's all...can't really remember them all.
     
  9. psurocks

    psurocks Junior Member
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    yep, this hits in the head, pretty much what I do:

    for #13, i will recommend a MVI 3 * a week (unless recommended otherwise by their MD, and tell them to take nothing else unless MD told them too, same for #12
    #10, if its diarrhea, i focus tx on rehydration and not necessarily stoppin all stools, cuz its obvious the body has a toxin in it its trying to rid of, so why stop the process? I tell them to take it if they have a certain # of stools in a given time

    #9: if its the first time theyve had it, i tell em to go to ER or call MD ASAP

    #8: ask bout HTN and thyroid dx

    and #3 is straightforward: if dry hacking cough, antitussive....if trying to clear mucus and stuff, just to loosen it up go with expectorant
     
  10. confettiflyer

    confettiflyer Did you just say something?
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    Yeah I've gotten a question on every one of those items except HIV tests (didn't have a big population in my old pharm).

    Just know the big ones (like psu mentioned) and just remember you can always look at the package.

    I think the trickiest is constipation, just because a) it's a sensitive topic for some, watch your voice! b) personal preference comes into play, c) there's just a lot of products you can potentially use (including stuff like prunes and water).

    Plus you'll get pt's that freak out they haven't gone in 2 days...and others that casually say they haven't gone in two weeks.

    oh and add in these, I just thought of them:

    14) Antiseptics (ethyl alcohol, hydrogen perox, bacitracin, hibiclens, iodine)
    15) Sleep aids (melatonin, diphenhydramine)
    16) Opthalmic (naphcon, etc...)
    17) Crap to clean out your ear canal, haha
    18) Other pain relief (heat/cool pads)
     
  11. JackFruitLover

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  12. confettiflyer

    confettiflyer Did you just say something?
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    hey i like jackfruit too.

    I got this book
    http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Handbook-of-Nonprescription-Drugs/M-Berardi/e/9781582120744

    I haven't really touched it, it's huge, it doubles as a weapon for me.
     
  13. Hels2007

    Hels2007 I bite
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    APhA's Handbook of Non-Prescription Drugs. Bestest ever. Also, many pharmacy magazines publish overviews of cough and cold meds in the fall and allergy meds in the spring, that's how I started learning them...
     
  14. psurocks

    psurocks Junior Member
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    yea good ones, for sleep aid i dont recommend give em some benadryl and tell them to talk to their MD about it ( i dont like using otc to treat sleep problems, need to find underlying problem for it)

    for the anti-itch stuff, i go with lanacane instead of the hydrocortisone stuff

    i think for those who work retail, once you work it enough, you realize most questions repeat and you can recommend a certain set of medications to a person....
     
  15. confettiflyer

    confettiflyer Did you just say something?
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    Good point with the sleep aids...I once had someone come in asking for lunesta otc :eyebrow:

    I think helping people with OTC's was my favorite part of working retail, mostly because pt's seek you out and the people are pretty grateful because a) you're a person in a lab coat basically giving a service for free and b) they usually want immediate relief and something to carry home, and they're getting it.

    The challenging thing is when you get dragged out to the aisle and recommend something for constipation, then next thing you know you've got the pt spewing out their entire medical history and asking you to cure everything they've got. At which point, you realize they haven't seen their PCP in years and when you tell them they really should go see them for this and that condition, you get that sigh of disappointment.


    Oh yeah, and then you have to become expert on things that are borderline "OTC"....ya know, things like lip balm, lotions, best adult diaper for incontinence, sunscreen, obscure tinctures and poultices that your great-grandparents used, dried fruit, canes, plastic chairs for the shower, etc...and don't forget the freaked out 16 year old that just walked into your pharmacy looking for Plan B but really needs some encouragement to get over to planned parenthood.

    ah yikes, who said retail was boring?
     
    #15 confettiflyer, Dec 11, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2008
  16. pharmald

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    Nonprescription Product Therapeutics

    This book is written by Dr. Finkle. He is the best OTC/Pharmacy professor ever!!!
    I love this guy. Everything that he thought is still floating in my head every time a patients comes for OTC counseling.
     
  17. lumos

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    #1 OTC question I hear: What decongestant is safe to use with HBP.
     
  18. SpirivaSunrise

    SpirivaSunrise Go Gators!
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    :thumbup::thumbup::thumbup: It's amazing how many great pharmacists are out there because of one man.
     
  19. jay04002

    jay04002 Junior Member
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    thank you all for replying, i am so glad that this form is filled with so many great pharmacy students and pharmacist...i am sure ppl like you guys will help our profession grow more and more...
    i am thinking about the book written by Dr. Finkle and someone mentioned that there are some pharmacy magazines that i can subscribe, can you name any good ones...


    once again thank you all...god bless.
     
  20. SpirivaSunrise

    SpirivaSunrise Go Gators!
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    PM me your e-mail and I can send you my OTC study guides. Keep in mind they'll be a little outdated (so you'll have to go through and make some changes)...but they're very thorough and have pictures. :)
     
  21. jsps

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    Did you get thoes drug cards ,If yes , what's your opinion abt ?

    thanks for replying
     
  22. jay04002

    jay04002 Junior Member
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    No i haven't ordered the OTC cards yet but i got some help from one of the pharmacist on this form and she sent me her OTC notes which are awesome. so i think for now i am just going to read her notes and stuff but when i get my loan check back may be order the cards hahahahah
     

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