Archives For March 2014

If you shave your bikini area and beyond this will keep your skin amazingly clear. Never worry about little red bumps ever again!

Forever Young & Healthy

pills3There is a NON-prescription drug so amazing it can keep you out of the ER (It’s NOT benadry). Why doesn’t the world know about it?

This drug is called chlorhexadine and it is an antibacterial soap. It costs about 5 dollars for a 4 ounce bottle that can last for years if used it sparingly. It’s available as generic and name brand and can be purchased at any drug store.

And what would you use it for? Superficial open skin infections. It’s like miracle grow for the skin. If you have a skin infection that is just festering and slowly getting worse everyday, this drug can turn things around and get it healed in record time. The disclaimer is that if the skin infection continues to get worse even with the use of this soap or the skin infection is getting worse fast, get to the ER asap. It could…

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How to “Boost” your immune system and avoid the need for antibiotics

Recently there has been a lot of talk in the literature about using antibiotics only when absolutely necessary. If used excessively antibiotics cause severe and dangerous diarrhea and fungal/yeast infections throughout the body. Bacteria can also become resistant to the antibiotic and therefore render it useless.

One thing we can do to avoid the need for antibiotics is to make our bodies as strong as possible and therefore resistant to opportunistic infections. We can do that by getting enough sleep, eating fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C and antioxidants (it’s not the same from pills) and not abusing our bodies with drugs and alcohol. We also need to be careful not to expose ourselves to unnecessary germs when possible. Washing hands often and wearing a mask in high-risk situations can help.

But as a pharmacist I know a few tricks of the trade to reduce infections. One of these tricks is to take vitamin C tablets when our bodies are under stress from too much exercising, from flying in an airplane, from lack of sleep or whatever. Vitamin C doesn’t seem to help much when taken every single day in high doses, although an orange a day works wonders. Save the vitamin C supplements for special occasions.

Another trick is to take certain probiotics. There are numerous studies in the literature of probiotics reducing the rate of cold and flu infections. One study gave probiotics to children ages 3-5 years old who were in daycare and exposed to recurrent colds and flu. The children who took the probiotics had fewer colds of shorter duration. Leyer 2009

The name brand yogurt used in this study is called Howaru protect.

Other studies of probiotics that work similarly do not have commercially available products that we can buy at the store. Berggren 2011

Howaru protect is the only product I know of at this point in time that is on the market and proven to boost the immune system in a medical study. This is good to know because probiotics are NOT interchangeable. You cannot substitute a generic brand and expect the same results. But rest assure I’m on the look-out for more products becoming available so stay tuned.

To save money and still use expensive probiotics judicially I’d recommend making your own healthy yogurt by using the store bought yogurt as a starter. You can google to process.

Other products that can SIGNIFICANTLY reduce the rate of lung infections are the drugs….singulair, accolate, and zyflo. These products are life changing for people with asthma and similar conditions. These drugs require a prescription so you’ll have to ask your doctor if these drugs are right for you.

To shorten the duration of the flu you can try zinc supplements, but I don’t use them and the medical studies don’t impress me. I feel that minerals are dangerous in excess and there are implications for high dose zinc that we haven’t yet found out about. But restoring a zinc deficiency does save lives in third-world countries where children would normally die at a high rate from pneumonias and diarrhea. That’s how zinc got started, but I’m not sure its goodness extends to healthy, well-nourished people in developed countries.

Echinacea is another product I do NOT recommend because it is not tested to be safe or effective. It could be grass clippings and no one would know the difference. Even if you bought it from a reputable company there are too many variables. Is it the leaves, stems, roots, or flowers that have the active ingredient? And which species? There are several different varieties. The choices are too many to confirm with medical studies.

Another way to avoid infections is to get vaccinated. Vaccines are good for a society as a whole and the negative side effects do not out number the good benefits. I know there is a lot of controversy surrounding this issue, but the fact is vaccines have eliminated fatal and crippling diseases like polio, measles, pertussis, rubella, diptheria, and mumps.

If you get the flu despite all these measures… the best thing to do is take comfort measures and wait for symptoms to pass. Tylenol, motrin, decongestants, nasal sprays, warm salt water, and throat lozenges do wonders. (However, I’d avoid corticosteroid nose sprays like Nasacort because you can develop a bacterial sinus infection as a result of using them in the presence of a viral infection like the flu. I know it sounds complicated….just don’t do it.)

The cheapest and most effective thing you can do to get well fast is drink lots of fluid. In the hospital it’s amazing what a simple IV infusion of inert water can do. It’s nothing special and the same results can be obtained from drinking a lot of fluids. It really does make a difference. You might want to put yourself on a schedule of 8 ounces every two hours. That’s equivalent to an IV infusion at 120 ml/hr which is standard.

It really is true that antibiotics do nothing to reduce the symptoms of the common cold. (Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2013 Jun 4;(6):CD000247)

Now if that isn’t enough information to process, you can read a blog on clearing up minor skin infections before they become ragging skin infections. And after that blog you will have all my drug secretes on dealing with the malevolent little bacteria.


I’ve come to realize that pharmacists have their areas of expertise as well as doctors. Let me introduce my friend and collegue Dr. Steve Leuck who specializes in patient education with respect to prescription drugs in the community setting.

Medications in Your Home By Dr. Leuck

The other day I had one of my regular customers call me to get a refill on her Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen. This particular patient has some significant pain issues and picks up a reasonable amount of medication every 30-40 days. After talking with her on the phone for a few moments, we realized that she had filled her prescription only 14 days ago, and here it was, almost empty. I realized we needed to take some time here and figure out what happened.

There are many ways to handle this, however, I like to take some time and “walk around the barn” with the patient to try and figure out what is going on. First of all, this patient has been with since I started practicing at this pharmacy over 16 years ago and this is the first time she has ever called in for an early refill on her pain medication. After a short discussion, I am convinced that she is not taking more than is prescribed for her. Next we talk about those 7 day pill boxes, asking if she fills up pill boxes for the next couple of weeks and perhaps that is where the extra tablets are. She said no, she does not use pill boxes.

She told me that she always keeps her pills in the original container, in an open shoe box, along with all of her other medications. I asked her where she kept the shoe box. She said that she keeps it on the dresser in the hallway just outside her bedroom. The following question got to the root of the situation. I asked her if anyone else has been in her house recently.

She thought about it for a few minutes and talked about her granddaughter coming sometimes, and then she talked about a group of workers she had in her yard the previous week working on her patio. She had let them know that the door was open and they could use the restroom whenever they needed. The dresser in the hallway with the open shoebox of medications is in the direct path to the restroom. Unfortunately, it appears that one of the workers helped themselves to a handful of pain pills as they were either coming or going to the restroom.

I am convinced that this happens much more often than we would like to believe. An invasion of medication privacy and possibly theft of our medications is an issue that we all need to guard against. It is far too common for a guest in your home to step into your restroom, under perfectly reasonable circumstances, and then proceed to open your medicine cabinet and help themselves to whatever lies within.

When people hear of drug theft, the first thing that comes to mind is something illicit involving bad guys and guns. Over the last 15 years at the pharmacy that I am currently working at I have had at least 10, and most likely more, conversations where we figured out that their medications had been stolen from them by either a caregiver, family member, or a guest in their home.

Keep in mind, this does not include the multitude of conversations I have involving people who claim their medications were stolen but also have a long history of their pain medications regularly being stolen, lost, damaged or some such thing on a regular basis. This is a topic to be discussed at a later date.

Please, store your medications in your bedroom. Choose a location that is dry and maintains a relatively constant room temperature. For security reasons, keep your medications in a dresser drawer or in your closet so they will not be seen if anyone enters your bedroom. If available, consider a locked box of some kind for your medication storage.  Your medications are your private business. Your guests in your home should not be tempted to pick up your prescription bottle so that they can read the name of the medication and help themselves to its contents.


Steve Leuck, Pharm.D.


Sexy Salad Recipe:

Ask any doctor what would happen if you ate this recipe everyday. I know…. and that’s why I call it sexy salad. This recipe, which I came up with on my own, is so versatile you can eat it everyday for the rest of your life and never grow tired of it.

  • 5 cups      of greens: spinach, romaine lettuce, spring mix greens, (broccoli bite      sized bunches)…anything of this nature.
  • 1/2      cup of unsalted nuts, any kind: pine nuts, pecans, walnuts, slivered      almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds…
  • 1/2      cup cheese: feta, blue, mozzarella, soft balls of goat cheese.
  • 1 cup      fruit, any kind: berries, cantaloupe cubes, canned pears, canned baby      oranges,
  • 2      Tablespoons red onions chopped finely
  • splash      of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • Optional:      increase the wow! factor by adding fresh herbs like cilantro, dill,      parsley, mint, chili flakes.
  • Optional:      increase the protein power add grilled chicken breast chopped into 1 inch      squares, chopped deli meats, canned chicken, black beans or garbanzo      beans.

Soak the greens in cold water for about 1 minute, spin dry in a salad spinner.  Do the same for the fresh herbs if using them.  Wash fresh fruit before cutting into bite sized pieces.  Coarsely chop nuts, toss all ingredients together and eat with a side of lean chicken or fish or by itself.



Recipe Examples:

5 cups spring mix lettuce

1/2 cup goat feta cheese

1/2 cup of pecans

1 cup black berries

2 TBSP copped red onion

Big splash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar




5 cups spinach lettuce

1 cup cantaloupe cut into 1 inch cubes

1/2 cup gorgonzola blue cheese

2 TBSP onion

1/2 cup of garbanzo beans

big splash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar

2 grilled, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch cubes

1/2 cup bite size pieces of fresh dill




5 cups romaine lettuce

1 cup pears cut into bite size pieces (if fresh not available okay to use canned)

2 TBSP red onions

1/2 cup pine nuts

1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese

Big splash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar




.5 cups spring mixture found in grocery stores

1 cup of bite sized pieces of mangoes

1/2 cup slivered almonds

2 TBSP chopped red onions

1/2 cup fresh mozzarella

Big splash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar




1 can of tuna

5 cups broccoli cut into bite sized bunches

1 cup cranberries, dried

2 TBSP red onion

1/2 cup soy nuts

omit the cheese

Big splash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar



Get it? There’s a pattern to making sexy salad.


It’s gluten free and some doctors are finding it is anti-inflammatory in some people. It also can be lactose free if you use goat cheese or lactose free cheese. Lactose is also an allergen for some people.


Some doctors don’t recommend a lowfat diet. Instead they recommend an oil change from bad processed trans fats to omega-3 rich olive oil.  The benefits of olive oil are so numerous they include reducing and preventing arteriosclerosis, heart disease, cancer and high blood sugar and is a main staple in the healthy Mediterranean diet.


But as far as the other ingredients are concerned, nuts contain protein, phytonutrients and antioxidants such as Vitamin E and selenium. People with NATRALLY high levels of vitamin E and Selenium have healthier harts and veins, but when taken synthetically bad things can happen  ttp://


Onions have quercetin in them which is a flavinoid, vitamin B6, and chromium. They are beneficial to gastrointestinal health and cardiovascular health. Vitamin B’s lower homocysteine levels and NATRALLY low levels are a marker of good health (high homocysteine is a marker of bad health.)  They also contain allyl propyl disulfide and chromium, both of which stabilize blood sugar and detoxify the body.


And what does the lettuce and other fruits and vegetables have? Answer: so much goodness it would fill a whole book.  Basically every fresh fruit and vegetable is loaded with age fighting nutrients and if you buy organic produce grown in the USA you can’t go wrong. But it is better to buy a NONorganic vegetable than no vegetable at all.


So… I enticing you to eat healthy?