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Recently Asked Questions

Do you have a question to ask the pharmacist?

This Ask-a-Pharmacist section allows you to direct questions to a patient care pharmacist regarding your medications or any drug-related concerns or issues that may be of interest to you.

Note that our reply may reach you later if you are residing in a different time zone as Singapore. Please allow up to 3 working days for our reply.

If you need an advice immediately, please consult a Doctor or call our Pharmacist via our NHGP contact centre at 6355 3000 or NUP contact center at 6663 6847.

While we will strive to answer as many questions as possible, we would like to seek your understanding that we are unable to answer all questions posted or questions which are not related to medicines. Please include as much details as possible. Accurate and complete information will help our Pharmacist provide the appropriate advice.  Rest assured that all personal information provided will be kept confidential by NHG Pharmacy.


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Q
Hi, is Lutein and Zeaxanthine off-the-counter tablets for the eyes safe to consume? I stumbled a google post somewhere mentioning that consuming too much may cause cancer? Is that true? Thanks for you comment and reply.
A

Lutein and Zeaxanthin are two types of carotenoids that are found in the macula region of the eye. They may help to protect your eyes from harmful high-energy light waves like ultraviolet rays in sunlight. This may reduce the risk of age related macular degeneration and cataracts.

 

There are few evidence to support the use of lutein and zeaxanthin in preventing age-related macular degenerations or may slow the progression of this condition.   

 

The recommended level for eye health is 20mg/day for lutein and 2mg/day for zeaxanthin.  

 

However, large doses of lutein and zeaxanthin can cause carotenodermia – a yellow-orange skin discoloration. High levels of lutein are also linked to increased risk of skin cancer in people at high risk who have a history of skin cancer.

 

Hence, it is advisable to consume the recommended dose of the medication as indicated by the product packaging or as directed by a doctor for your medical condition.

Vitamins/Herbal Supplements
Q
Can I mix Cetirizine 1mg in my child's milk?
A

Cetirizine is a medicine commonly used to treat allergies and runny nose symptoms and are available as tablets or syrup form. Doses of cetirizine 1mg are usually given in syrup form. Cetirizine may be taken with or without food or milk.

 

If your child does not like the taste of the medicine, you may mix cetirizine with a small amount of liquid such as sweetened water or fruit juice, or soft foods such as ice cream, yogurt or jelly. You may also consider mixing the medicine with small amounts of foods that are chilled, sweet or have a strong flavor, as these can help mask the taste of medicine as well.

It is advised to avoid mixing medicine with foods your child must have as the child may begin to dislike foods that he/she needs. This may include milk, depending on the child’s age.

 

Please ensure that the child completes the liquid or food mixed with the medicine so that he/she takes the full dose of the medicine. Do not put medicine in a full bottle or cup, in case the child does not drink the whole bottle or cup of liquid.

 

Do note that not all medicines may be mixed with food or milk. You may find out more from the medicine product information label or by speaking to a pharmacist regarding your child’s medicines before administering medicines to your child.

Children's Health
Q
May I ask where to get the insulin pins injection? It comes in a box.
A

Insulin pen needles are used with insulin pens. It is available in different needle lengths (4mm/5mm/6mm) and brands such as BD or Novofine.

 

Syringes are used for insulin vials. It comes in different sizes as well.

 

Both are available in NHG pharmacy. You may purchase it over the counter in the retail pharmacy without a prescription.

 

You may refer to NHG Pharmacy website for more details on the products.

https://www.pharmacy.nhg.com.sg/productCatalogue/ProductSearchList.aspx?strProdName=INSULIN&strBrand=&iCat=4&PFlag=false

 

Insulin pens (disposable pens filled with insulin), are prescription items. Do note that a prescription is required for the purchase of these medications.

Drug Information
Q
May I know if your Pharmacy sells oral chewing gum?
I have a blocked left ear and need the gum for chewing before on set or relapse of vertigo.
A

Oral chewing gums are not available in NHG Pharmacy. You may wish to contact the hospital or retail pharmacies to enquire on its availability.

 

There may be many causes of vertigo such as

  • Fluid build-up or pressure change in the ear
  • Inflammation in the inner ear that is caused by infections
  • Shingles in or around the ear area
  • Certain medications that causes ear damage 
Thus, I would advise you to consult a doctor to find out the underlying cause and for appropriate treatment and advice.
Others
Q
Can i use lignocaine/chlohexidìne gel for piles? I am 38 weeks pregnant.
A

Lignocaine gel is a topical anesthesia used for temporary relief of pain associated with piles. It can be used during pregnancy.

 

Chlorhexidine gel is a topical antiseptic. It can be applied on wounds, cuts or other broken skin, however, it may not help to relieve the pain associated with piles. There is a lack of data on the safe use in pregnancy, hence it should be used with caution.

 

You may try other dietary and lifestyle modification to ease the discomfort of piles during pregnancy such as

  • Avoid sitting for long period of time. When you can, lie on your side or stand up. If you have to sit for a prolonged period, do remember to take breaks in between.
  • Use gentle wipes when you use the toilet

Constipation may contribute or worsen piles. Do include dietary fibers in your diet to relieve or prevent constipation. The use of mild laxatives such as lactulose can be used to prevent constipation as well.  

 

Do consult a doctor if the symptoms worsen or if heavy bleeding occurs.

Drug Information
Q
What medicine do you have in relieving itch at viginal place and eyebrows?
A

There are many causes of vaginal itching.

  1. Irritants such as soap, feminine sprays, douches, detergents and fabric softener may trigger an allergic reaction that creates an itchy rash over various areas of the body including the vagina.
  2. Skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis can cause redness and itching in the vagina area.
  3. Infections such as bacteria or yeast can result in symptoms such as itching as well.
  4. Skin parasites such as lice can be found in genital area which may result in itching.

There are many causes of itchy eyebrows.

  1. Skin parasites such as lice can live in the eyebrow area and cause itching.
  2. Beauty treatment such as waxing and threading can irritate the skin around the eyebrow, causing itch.
  3. Skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis can cause itchy eyebrows too.

As I would not be able to assess the severity and extent of your condition, I would advise you to consult a doctor to find out the underlying cause and for appropriate treatment and advice.

Others
Q
Hello,

I was prescribed both the Omeprazol (20mg) and the Mefenamic Acid (250mg) for menstrual pain. May i ask what is the doses/pill amount i should consume together?
A

The usual dose of Mefenamic Acid (250mg) is 1 to 2 capsules three times a day for pain associated with menses. It should be taken after food.

 

Omeprazole is a gastric protectant given together with Mefenamic acid to reduce the risk of gastric discomfort. The usual dose of Omeprazole (20mg) is 1 capsule once a day as stated in the product packaging. It should be taken at least half an hour before food.

 

However, the dose you should consume for both the medications might be different based on the severity and extent of your condition. Please do check the label indicated on the medication for the correct dosing.


If there is no label, please do contact your prescribing doctor or the clinic where the medications were dispensed for more information.

 

If you are an existing patient as NHG or NUP polyclinics, you may contact:

  • National Healthcare Group Polyclinics – Ang Mo Kio, Geylang, Hougang, Toa Payoh, Woodlands, Yishun (Tel: 6355 3000)
  • National University Polyclinics – Bukit Batok, Choa Chu Kang, Clementi, Jurong, Pioneer, Queenstown (Tel: 6663 6847)
Drug Information
Q
I have sensitive skin and am looking for a hand sanitizer that is alcohol-free. Do you have such sanitizers in your pharmacy and can you recommend what is appropriate for someone whose skin itches when it gets too dry?
A

Alcohol-free hand sanitizers are not available in NHG Pharmacy. You may wish to contact the hospital or retail pharmacies to enquire on its availability. Hand sanitizers with alcohol can be drying to chapped skin in your hands. However, alcohol-free hand sanitizers with a moisturizing base may not be effective in killing viruses.

Do note that washing your hands is more effective than using hand sanitizers. Washing your hands help prevent illness by removing harmful bacteria and viruses. However, frequent hand washing can lead to dry skin as well.

Hence, if you have dry skin, you may wish to

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds in lukewarm water. Use a mild, fragrance-free cleansers to wash your hand.
  • Avoid applying too much soap/cleanser as thick lather may wash away natural oils.
  • Dry your hands with a clean towel but leave some water on your hands.
  • Apply moisturizer to your skin, including your fingertips and nails.
  • When you are using a hand sanitizer, it is advisable to apply your moisturizer immediately after the hand sanitizer dries.
  • Keep your fingernails short to prevent dirt and germs from collecting. It is also to prevent skin tears when itching.

Moisturizer used should be free of dyes, fragrance and other possible irritants to prevent worsening of itch and dryness of the skin such as aqueous cream and emulsifying ointment. These are available in NHG Pharmacy. You may purchase it over the counter in the retail pharmacy.

However, if your hands still itch, you may consider mild steroid creams to reduce itch. Oral antihistamines can be taken to reduce the itch as well. Both these medications are available in NHG Pharmacy. You may purchase it from the retail pharmacies after consultation with a pharmacist.

Dry skin and itch may be due to an allergic reaction, skin disorders such as eczema or psoriasis or other skin conditions. Hence if the dry itchy skin does not get better, or worsens over time, it is advisable to consult a doctor for a review of your skin condition and for appropriate treatment and advice.

Drug Information
Q
Can a 6 month old baby who has G6PD take Appetton Vitamin drops with lysine to increase her appetite ?
A

Appeton® Multivitamin Plus Drops is a multivitamins supplement formulated for infants 12 months and below to meet their supplement daily requirement. It contains lysine which helps to improve appetite in infants. The ingredients listed in the supplement do not pose a risk to G6PD individuals. Therefore, the supplement may be safely given to the baby in the dose recommended by the manufacturer.

Children's Health
Q
I am looking for an antifungal shower gel or body wash for tinea corporis. Do you have any to recommend?
A

Tinea corporis refers to a fungal infection on the skin that can be seen anywhere on the body except the scalp, beard, feet, or hands. This is also known as a ringworm infection.

 

Signs and symptoms of this condition may include:

  • A ring-shaped area on the skin that is slightly elevated
  • A clear or scaly area inside the ring, possibly with red bumps within the ring
  • Itchiness at the affected area
  • Slightly raised rings that are becoming bigger
  • Overlapping rings

Antifungal body washes are not commonly used in tinea corporis. Over-the-counter antifungal creams (such as Clotrimazole 1% cream and Miconazole 2% cream) are usually used to treat fungal infections such as tinea corporis.

The antifungal cream has to be applied on the affected area twice a day. Continue the treatment for at least one to two weeks after the symptoms have resolved. This is to make sure that the fungal infection is cleared effectively, and to prevent the infection from returning or getting worse.

 

As I would not be able to assess the severity and extent of your condition, you may wish to speak to a pharmacist or doctor first to assess if the use of these antifungal medicines is suitable for you before purchasing it.

 

Please see a doctor if:

  • A large area of the body is affected, or
  • There is no improvement with the use of over-the-counter antifungal creams within two weeks.

You may refer to our website to find tips on how to prevent fungal infections from occurring.

Common Ailments
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