A1C test and diabetes, what does it mean?

My Doctor told me my A1C is elevated, what does that mean?

The hemoglobin A1C test (also known as HbA1C or just A1C) measures your average blood glucose control for the past 2-3 months.  When you check your blood glucose with your meter at home or in the doctor’s office you get a reading of what your blood glucose level is right now.  The A1C test tells you what your average control has been over the last 2-3 months.  This result lets you know, on average, how well your diabetes treatment plan has been working over the past 3 months. 

Hemoglobin is a protein found in your red blood cells.  Hemoglobin carries oxygen from your lungs to all of the cells in your body.  Hemoglobin will also bind with sugar.  Normally, about 5% of all hemoglobin is connected to sugar.  When someone is hyperglycemic (has too much sugar in their blood) this percentage increases sometimes up to 25%.  The A1C test will measure this percent. 

The A1C test gives a 3 month average because the life of a red blood cell is about 3 months.  Patients with diabetes should check their A1C about every 3 months.  If their sugars are fairly stable, than twice a year may be adequate.  Your doctor will help you decide how often you should check yours.   Normal A1C is 5% and the American Diabetes Association recommends keeping A1C less than 7%.   The numbers may be a little different for teens and children.
The A1C is a great measure of how your diabetic regimen is working for you, however, it does not replace the need for daily self-testing.


New Drugs Posted at AudibleRx

AudibleRx posts new Medication Specific Counseling Sessions on a weekly basis.  Please follow this link to the Medications page of AudibleRx to see which medications are currently available with counseling sessions to listen to.  

Register at AudibleRx to become a member and then have full access to all of the Medication Specific Counseling Sessions.

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AudibleRxTM is a website where you may listen to 6-8 minute Medication Specific Counseling SessionsTM  which discuss all of the important information about each medication.    The sessions open and play in your computer media player, no downloading necessary.

Shingles Vaccine

Should I get the Shingles Vaccine?

As of march 2011, the FDA has approved the shingles vaccine for all people age 50 and over. It was previously approved for ages 60 and over.

Shingles is caused by the Varicella-Zoster virus, the same virus that causes chicken pox, and the virus then remains in your body throughout your life. Your healthy immune system keeps the virus dormant. When your immune system weakens, which usually happens when you age or undergo a significant medical condition, the virus may proliferate and bring on a case of shingles.

The early symptoms of shingles may include a headache, sensitivity to light and flu-like symptoms. You may then experience a localized rash that is characterized by significant itching, tingling. The rash may affect nerve endings in your skin and cause a significant pain that feels like it wraps around the side of your body. The pain may persist for weeks.

Shingles has been on the rise and it is postulated that this is due to the increased vaccination of children against chicken pox. Every time an adult comes into contact with a child who has the chicken pox, the adult gets the natural equivalent of a booster to the virus. This will strengthen their resistance to the virus. Now, with more children getting vaccinated to chicken pox, adults are less likely to maintain a natural resistance to the virus.

The shingles vaccine is a single dose and acts to boost your immunity and reduce the chances of getting shingles.

Yes, the vaccine is highly recommended for anyone 50 years of age and older.

Do not get the vaccine if you are allergic to any of its ingredients, are pregnant, are immuno-suppressed, or have an immuno-deficiency.

If you are 50 years of age or older and have not yet received the shingles vaccine, please talk to your pharmacist or doctor to see if your are a good candidate for receiving this vaccine.


Cholesterol; The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Your liver makes all the cholesterol your body needs and your body uses it to protect nerves, produce cell tissue and produce certain hormones. You also get cholesterol from some foods such as meats, eggs and dairy products. You need cholesterol, but too much can be damaging.

The issue is, if your body gets too much cholesterol, you need to store it somewhere. Unfortunately, unlike some unnecessary things, the body doesn't just eliminate the extra cholesterol. The body stores the extra cholesterol in your arteries, (the blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body).

The build up of cholesterol on a blood vessel wall is known as plaque. Over time, this plaque will build up on the inside of the blood vessel and minimize the space for the blood to flow through. This is similar to how an old galvanized pipe will rust on the inside and decrease the water flow through the pipe.

Two bad things can happen here. First, as the blood vessel narrows because of the plaque build up, the blood vessel down stream will have a decrease supply of blood and because of this, the tissues will get less oxygen. This can be very dangerous when the blockage leads to your heart or brain.

Second, if the plaque breaks free, it can scratch a blood cell and start the blood clot cascade which may lead to either a stroke or a heart attack.

A stroke or a heart attack is devastating not only to the person it happens to, but to all of their family and friends also. If you have not had a cholesterol level done within the past 12 months, please make an appointment to visit your doctor to discuss your cholesterol.

If you take cholesterol medications, or just would like to learn more about a specific cholesterol medication, please register to become a member at AudibleRx and then navigate to the medication your would like to learn more about.


Copyright AudibleRx (TM), all rights reserved.

Black Box Warning

What is a Black Box Warning?

This is a warning system used by the Food and Drug Administration to alert prescribers, pharmacists and patents that this particular medication has potentially dangerous side effects.

The Black Box Warning is the highest level of warning the FDA can give to a medication.  When a medication receives a Black Box Waring it means that studies have suggested that this particular medication has potential severe or even lethal side effects.

A Black Box Warning might be added to a product by the FDA after it has been used for a series of years and through routine use it was discovered that the particular medication had serious side effects that were previously unknown.  The FDA may also require a Back Box Warning on a new medication that has potentially significant benefits while also potentially serious side effects.

The term "black box" is referring to the thick black line that borders the warning information in the medication package literature.

If you receive a medication from your pharmacy that has a Black Box Warning you will also receive a Medication Guide that discusses the warning and what it means.  Ask your pharmacist to explain the warning information and any risk vs benefits associated with this medication  If the information is not explained clearly, please ask them to repeat the information to you so you may understand it.

After discussing this with your pharmacist, don't hesitate to call your doctor and discuss the risk vs benefit with them also

It is important that you understand why you are taking your medication so that you will be motivated to follow your regimen and achieve the best possible outcome from your pharmaceutical therapy.


What to do with expired medications.

What do I do with my expired medications?
A common question I get in the pharmacy on a regular basis is, what do I do with my expired medications? 

First, let me tell you what not to do with them.

Please, do not give your expired medications to anyone else to take, it is against federal law, in addition to the fact that an individual needs to be evaluated by a healthcare practitioner and prescribed a medication before they may legally take the medication.  Also, please do not flush your medications down the toilet. 
Check with your local pharmacy or your waste management program to see if there is a medication disposal program available.  If there is no medication disposal program available, then you may take the medications and put them in a container such as a zip lock bag.  Then mix in something unpalatable such as kitty litter or coffee grounds.  Then add a little water to the mixture.  Now, take the container and put it in a brown paper bag and put it in the garbage.


In a Nutshell

The membership area offers Medication Specific Counseling Sessions (TM) that you click on and listen to all of the important counseling information about the specific medication you are interested in.   The sessions open and play in your computer, tablet, smart phone, or any internet enabled device with a speaker or headphones.  No Downloading Necessary!



Medication information you listen to!

     Over the 25 years I have worked as a pharmacist (in both hospital and community pharmacy), I have had numerous situations where people have questions about medications that they ordered via mail or at a big store and did not receive any counseling information about their medication.  I thought: "Wouldn't it be great if there was a single website where a patient could click on a medication name and hear all of the same information they would get from their pharmacist at the pharmacy counter?"
      AudibleRX.com offers medication specific counseling information that is organized in a fashion that follows the American Society of Health-System Pharmacist guidelines for patient counseling.  I created a template that covers the 13-14 topics necessary for a complete counseling session. These sessions open and play in your comuter, tablet or smart phone, no downloading necessary.
      It is important to realize that this is not a legal replacement for a patients counseling session with their own pharmacist. Throughout each session I give the patient specific points and questions for them to take back to their own pharmacist or doctor. 
       My goal is to help patients become educated about their medications, so they will become motivated to participate in their own pharmaceutical care and decrease medication related adverse events. Find more information at www.AudibleRX.com.