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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 call centre 6355 3000.

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
I did a blood test recently and results showed I have low level of Chloride Serum (98)and high Microalbumin (urine). Doctor suspected kidney problems and may put me on medication if the next blood test confirms problem. I would like to know the causes of this disorder and whether is there any other holistic way to cure this before starting on medication.
I am 67 and am currently on high blood and cholestrol medication (Amlildopine 10mg/Simastatic 10mg).
A

The results from a single blood or urine test may not provide enough information to diagnose a particular disease.

A low chloride level in the blood may be caused by prolonged vomiting or by medical conditions such as Addison’s disease or congestive heart failure. The result of this blood test is best discussed with your doctor who can assess your signs and symptoms and review your medical condition.

Micro albumin in the urine (microalbuminuria) is usually caused by kidney damage, resulting in some albumin leaking into the urine. The most common causes include diabetes and high blood pressure, although there are also other possible causes. The best way to treat the microalbuminuria would be to treat the root cause for kidney damage. This may involve bringing the blood pressure to acceptable levels or controlling the blood sugar levels. Also, to prevent further albumin leakage in the urine, the doctor may decide to start you on a medication known as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor or angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB). Medication belonging to this group (ACE inhibitor or ARB) has been shown to reduce albumin leakage in the urine and prevent further kidney damage. As I am not aware of your medical history, your doctor will be in a better position to advise you further.

Women's Health
Q
I was given Ibuprofen with other painkillers to take before my wisdom tooth surgery. However, my father had an episode where he experienced eye swelling after taking Ibuprofen. Are drug allergies possible to be passed down genetically? I have no known allergies but is there any way in determining whether I am allergic to Ibuprofen?
A

Having a family history of a drug allergy may increase the risk of one developing an allergy after taking the same drug. However, do note there are other factors that play a role in allergies, such as the presence of other allergies, history of medical conditions such as asthma, as well as environmental factors. Hence, having a family member with a drug allergy does not mean one will definitely have the same allergy.

Most drug allergies are only discovered when an individual consumed the drug and developed an allergy. Alternatively, you may wish to discuss with a doctor regarding the use of skin prick tests to determine whether you have an allergy. Do note that skin prick tests may not always be accurate. It may indicate an allergy that you do not have, or may not trigger a reaction when you are exposed to something that you are allergic to.

If you are concerned about the potential for drug allergy, you may like to discuss with our dentist about the use of other painkillers.

Drug Information
Q
How to know when the medication expire? And how long can we keep the medications? What if we eat and keep the medications after 5 months expiry date?
A

The expiry date of the medicine can be found on the medicine packaging or label. It may say:

  • expiry
  • expiry date
  • exp
  • use by
  • use before

Most medicines can be taken safely until the expiry date. However, do note that some medicines may have a limited shelf-life after opening. You may wish to check the packaging or labels for more information. Alternatively, you may wish to see a pharmacist and request for his/her help to help to determine the shelf-lives of your medicines.

Medicines may lose their effectiveness and safety over time. The expiry date is the last day that the manufacturer guarantees the full safety and effectiveness of the medicine. Hence, it is not advisable to consume medicines after their expiry date.

Heat and moisture may damage medicines. Improper storage places, such as damp bathroom cabinets, may reduce the effectiveness of medicines before their expiry dates. Always ensure that medicines are stored away from sunlight, at a cool, dry place such as the bedroom drawers.

In summary, always store your medicines properly and throw away any expired products. 

Drug Information
Q
I am taking Simvastatin for my cholesterol and the pharmacist caution me that eating grapefruit is not allowed. Is pomelo also not allowed? I am also on medication for my diabetes metformin, januvia as well as micardes to protect my kidney.
A

Grapefruits contain a type of chemical called furanocoumarins which reduces the clearing of certain medicines, such as simvastatin, from the body. This may in turn lead to more side effects. One glass of grapefruit juice was reported to increase simvastatin level in the body by 2 to 3 fold. Hence, grapefruits should be avoided in people taking simvastatin.

 

Certain citrus fruits such as Seville oranges and pomelos also contain furanocoumarins. However, there is a lack of studies done on these fruits to determine the magnitude of their effects on simvastatin. Hence, you may wish to avoid pomelo if you are concerned about the possibility of increased side effects. 

Drug Information
Q
For rheumatoid arthralgia, please advise any oral medicine to relief the pain. Can the medicine be bought without doctor consultation?
A

Over-the-counter oral medicines such as paracetamol and ibuprofen may be used for pain relief. Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis may also require medications that can only be obtained from a doctor’s prescription. As I am not aware of your medical history or any long term medicines that you may be taking, I would not be able to recommend an appropriate medicine for you. Please consult a doctor for more advice.

 

You may also wish to practise the following tips to help with pain relief:

  • Exercise
    • This helps to strengthen the muscle around the joint
  • Apply hot or cold compress to relieve joint pain
    • Hot compress also helps with stiffness
    • Cold compress also helps with muscle pain and cramps
  • Relax or meditate
  • Lose weight if you are overweight
    • This helps to reduce pressure on the weight-bearing joints such as knee, ankles and hips
  • Rest
    • Taking a short break when you are tried or having pain may help
Drug Information
Q
I have a prescription from my neurosurgeon and I wonder if I can buy the medication straight from the pharmacy, rather than go through the consultation at the polyclinic. Can you advise if it is possible?

Ps: I have a prescription for Plavix, a blood thinner for 6 months.

The last time i bought the generic medication from the polyclinic is Clopidogrel. Can i buy it off the counter?

Please let me know. thank you.
A

Any valid doctor’s prescription can be used to purchase medications at the polyclinic pharmacy. Do ensure you have a valid original prescription and not a doctor’s memo.

Do take note that Plavix, the branded version of clopidogrel is not available at polyclinic pharmacy. The neurosurgeon will have to decide if the generic clopidogrel is suitable for you before we can fill in your prescription. You may like to call the polyclinic pharmacy, via our contact centre at 6355 3000 to enquire about the cost of the medications.

Others
Q
May I know if a 8 year old child can take Serratiopeptidase (Tolpa) 10mg?
A

There is insufficient information on the effectiveness and safety of serratiopeptidase in children. Serratiopeptidase is not recommended for children (below the age of 12).

An alternative to serratiopeptidase would be Lysozyme. Lysozyme is suitable for children and is available in a syrup form. It has anti-inflammatory and expectorant properties that might be helpful for sore throat or other mild inflammatory conditions. You might also consider using lozenges eg. Dequalinium lozenges, if you are looking for something to relieve your child’s sore throat.

 

Lysozyme is not available in NHG pharmacy. You might like to enquire about its availability in retail pharmacies.

Children's Health
Q
I feel like my body got a lot dirty toxin. Nowadays a lot of pimples appear on my face and also hair has become thinner. Please recommend me good vitamins to control these problems.
A

Pimples or acne occur when hair follicles are plugged with oil and dead skin cells. Signs and symptoms are listed below, in order of severity:

-          Whiteheads (closed plugged pores)

-          Blackheads (open plugged pores, oil turns brown when exposed to air)

-          Small red, tender bumps (papules)

-          Pimples (pustules, which are papules with pus at their tips)

-          Large, solid, painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin (nodules)

-          Painful, pus-filled lumps beneath the surface of the skin (cystic lesions)

 

Mild acne (whiteheads, blackheads, pimples) can be treated with regular gentle cleansing using warm water, mild soap and applying over the counter medications, benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Up to 6 to 8 weeks is needed for acne to improve following treatment. Acne may get worse before it gets better. You may wish to consult a doctor if home care remedies do not improve the condition.

 

Hair thinning or hair loss may be caused by multiple reasons. The average adult head loses up to 100 hair strands a day.

 

Do consult a doctor if you are experiencing sudden patchy hair loss or any infections on your scalp.

 

The following are possible causes of hair thinning:

-          Hormone changes

-          Stress, illness and childbirth

-          Fungal infection

-          Cosmetic procedures such as shampooing too often, perms, bleaching, and dyeing hair can contribute to overall hair thinning by making hair weak and brittle

-          Tight braiding, using rollers or hot curlers can damage and break hair

-          Certain medical conditions and medications

-          A low-protein diet or severely calorie-restricted diet can also cause temporary hair loss

 

You may consider the following products available at NHG pharmacy for general skin and hair health:

 

21ST CENTURY Hair Skin & Nail

Vitamins and minerals to nourish hair and skin with DNA and RNA, plus Equistum Arvense - a herb that strengthens nails.

 

OCEAN HEALTH AntiOxidant Formula

An antioxidant specially formulated with Vitamins A, C, E, zinc and selenium to help protect the body from free radical damage and rejuvenates problem skin, hair and nails.

 

OCEAN HEALTH Pure Evening Primrose Oil 1000mg

Ocean Health Evening Primrose Oil 1000mg is rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid which maintains healthy skin, nails and hair.

Vitamins/Herbal Supplements
Q
Can a person who have cirrhosis take Viartril-S glucosamine powder 1500mg?
A

People with liver problems may need closer monitoring when they start on supplements such as glucosamine. You may wish to discuss with your doctor regarding the suitability of starting glucosamine.

 

Some studies suggest that glucosamine may affect the blood sugar levels, but the results are not conclusive. Diabetic patients who take glucosamine may need to check their blood sugar levels more often.

Vitamins/Herbal Supplements
Q
Do you have product which equals to the function of Actimove Lumbacare for 65 years old female ?
A

As I am not aware of the condition of the patient, I am unable to make any recommendations. You may wish to discuss with your doctor or physiotherapist regarding suitable back supports for her.

 

The table below shows comparisons between Actimove Lombacare X and other back supports available in NHG Pharmacy.

 

Back Support

Functions

Product Features

Actimove Lombacare X

·         Sudden, short-term back pain, lower back pain

·         Long-term back pain

·         Degenerative back problems (changes to the spinal discs due to ageing)

·         Osteoporosis (weakening of the bones)

·         Muscular insufficiency (muscle unable to stretch beyond certain limits)

·         Post-operation support

·         Latex –free

·         Stretchy material

·         Dorsal X-bands for compression and stretch

·         Hand loops for adjustments

·         Four dorsal supports to maintain correct posture

Oppo

Lumbar Sacro Support Support

·         Low back pain

·         Muscle strain

·         Ligament sprain

·         Osteoporosis

·         Spondylosis (arthritis of the spine)

·         Straps crossing at the back and fastened in front

·         Four flexible support at the back for stability

·         Stretchy material

Futuro

Stabilising Back

·         Abdominal Support

·         General Soreness

·         Sprains & Strains

·         Latex-free

·         Includes support cushion pads

·         Back panel for even  support

 

You may also wish to visit our website here to check the prices and sizes available.

Women's Health
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