Medication Synchronization

WHAT IS MEDICATION SYNCHRONIZATION?

Medication synchronization is when the pharmacist coordinates the refill of your medications so you can pick them up on a single day each month. Many people miss doses of their regular medications and med sync can make you more likely to take them. Med Sync does the following:

  • Eliminates the need to call in multiple prescription refills
  • Allows you the convenience of fewer trips to the pharmacy
  • Provides an opportunity to meet with your pharmacist on a regular basis to discuss your medications.
  • Automatically calls the Doctor for a refill request, so you don’t have to go without medication

HOW IT WORKS

  1. Talk to your pharmacist/technician about enrolling in their med sync program.
  2. Once enrolled, pharmacy staff will review your ongoing monthly medications and develop a plan to synchronize them so they can be picked up on a single day each month that is convenient for you.
  3. Pharmacy staff will call you to confirm your pick up date about a week prior and identify any necessary changes that should take place before your prescriptions are filled. Be sure to let them know if you are no longer taking a medication or if directions/dose has changed.
  4. After reviewing any changes to your medications, the pharmacy staff will prepare each prescription and make it available for easy pick up on your scheduled date.
  5. On your scheduled day, you pick up all of your prescriptions at the pharmacy. At that time, you can ask the pharmacist any questions that you may have about your medication.
  6. The process repeats itself each month so that you can pick up all of your medications at once, and the pharmacist can identify potential issues to help you take your medication as prescribed.
  7.  Some people may opt to have their prescriptions filled in monthly “Bubble Packs”. The Pharmacists sets you medications up in packaging with the days of the week, and the time of the day you take it. This can be very helpful for people on multiple medications or can sometimes be forgetful.

 

Why should I care about synchronizing my medications?
One-third of patients have missed a dose of their medication because they didn’t refill their prescription before it ran out. If you are not taking your medication as prescribed or missing or skipping doses, it can have serious side effects on your health including death. Through med sync, the pharmacist/technician proactively refills your prescription so that you don’t have to remember to call the pharmacy and they work closely with you to make sure that your medications are working for you and being taken properly.

Will there be an additional cost or monthly fees?
There is no additional cost to you. The goal of med sync is for the pharmacist to synchronize your medications in the most convenient and cost efficient manner for you. Often times, the pharmacist will dispense a shorter or longer supply of medication for your first med sync pick up so that you can maintain your insurance coverage.  It is best to ask your pharmacist/technician about their strategy for synchronizing your medication.

 

Will all of my medications be included if I chose to participate in a med sync program?
There are some medications that are not appropriate for a med sync program, such as antibiotics, ointments, eye drops, and “as-needed” medications. Those type of prescriptions can be phoned in when needed.

Now what?

Give the pharmacy a call, or stop by and ask how you can become enrolled. That is the first step! And, if you have any questions, don’t forget to ask!

Is it an Allergy or Is It a Cold?

Is It an Allergy—or Is It a Cold?

Spring has sprung—or it’s just about to. That means spring allergies are “blooming,” too. But sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a cold and a seasonal allergy, also known as hay fever. Here are some signs to look for and ways to find relief.

Know the signs.  Both colds and allergies can cause sneezing, stuffiness, or a runny nose. But there are telltale differences between a cold and seasonal allergy. Ask yourself these five questions. The more times you answer “yes,” the greater the chance the culprit is a seasonal allergy.1

  1. Are plants starting to flower (or leaves starting to fall?) A change of season means this is more likely an allergy—your body’s response to airborne allergens (substances such as pollen that cause allergies). Colds are most common in winter months, and are caused by viruses that show up in any
  2. Did your symptoms appear suddenly and last more than a week? Cold symptoms tend to appear more gradually but go away more quickly.
  3. Are your eyes watery and itchy? Allergens can inflame the clear membrane covering your inner eyelid and eyeball.
  4. Are you free of a fever? Allergies don’t cause fevers, but colds can.
  5. Is the nasal discharge thin and clear? By contrast, a thick, yellow or green discharge may accompany a cold.1

Limit triggers. Birch, cedar, cottonwood, and pine are big allergy triggers in the spring. The other plants that cause problems depend upon where you live.

Just when you’re itching to get outdoors after a long winter, you may be better off staying inside. Try to limit your outdoor activities on days with high pollen counts—especially between 10 am and 4 pm, when pollen counts are highest. Windy days are the worst because wind can really kick up the pollen. You can find pollen counts for your area through the National Allergy Bureau (NAB). Here you can also sign up for personalized email pollen alerts.2

In addition, keep windows closed at home and in your car. For extra protection, you might try adding a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to your furnace or air conditioner. It also helps to take an afternoon or early evening shower to keep pollen off your pillow. Likewise, at the end of the day, wipe off any pets that have been outdoors. And, take off your shoes before coming inside to keep from tracking in pollen.3,4

Allergy relief aids. So right about now, you may be thinking: But how do I get relief? I can advise you about over-the-counter (OTC) remedies. Antihistamines treat symptoms such as sneezing and itchy nose or throat. Nasal or oral decongestants can help with nasal stuffiness. Eye drops relieve itchiness. Please don’t hesitate to ask me any questions you have about side effects or how long you can safely use these drugs.

If OTC drugs don’t do the trick, you might want to see an allergist, a doctor who specializes in treating allergies. Some people need other medications or allergy shots to feel better.4

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice.  You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.

 

Sources:

  1. Nemours Foundation: “A Cold or Allergies: Which Is It? Available at: http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/coldvsallergy.html Accessed 2-25-16

 

  1. AAAAI: “Pollen Count Stations.” Available at: http://www.aaaai.org/global/nab-pollen-counts.aspx Accessed 2-25-16.
  2. AAAAI: “Spring Allergies.” Available at: https://www.aaaai.org/Aaaai/media/MediaLibrary/PDF%20Documents/Libraries/EL-Spring-Allergies-patient.pdf Accessed 2-25-16.

 

  1. WebMD: “Allergy Relief Tips Wherever You Go.” Available at: http://www.webmd.com/allergies/allergy-relief-10/spring-allergies Accessed 2-25-16.