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Personalized Medicine

What is The Importance of Gut Support?

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Probiotics are beneficial, friendly bacteria that reside in our intestinal tract. There are approximately 500 different strains of bacteria that live in our intestinal tract. In fact, there are several times more bacteria in our intestinal tract than there are cells in our body! In all, there are three to four pounds of bacteria growing in our intestinal tract daily. The probiotic bacteria, the “for life bacteria” are essential for healthy living.

Lactobacillus bacteria are the primary bacterial strain living in our small intestine, while the bifidobacterium are the main bacteria in residence in our large intestine. Whatever the appropriate strain, probiotics perform many important functions in us. First, they are an essential part of our immune system and work to increase the production of immune cells in the intestinal tract. They then serve another function by helping to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Probiotics have been shown to assist in helping to lower cholesterol. The major role of probiotics in the gut is to assist in the digestion of food and the absorption of nutrients such as calcium and other minerals. Finally, probiotics have been shown to actually produce certain vitamins in our intestinal tract.

A healthy bacterial flora is essential for good health. However, there are several ways that the population of these friendly bacteria can be diminished. Taking an antibiotic will kill off the good, friendly bacteria as well as the bacteria causing an infection. Episodes of diarrhea can affect the population of friendly bacteria as well. Extended periods of stress can diminish the population of healthy bacteria. Finally, drinking chlorinated water can have an adverse effect on intestinal flora.

Probiotics have proven helpful for a wide range health issues:

  • Using probiotics while taking antibiotics helps to reduce diarrhea and prevent secondary yeast infections
  • Diminishing diarrhea by re-establishing normal gut flora
  • Acid reflux
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Enhancing recovery in compromised immune systems

With all of the many probiotic formulas available, how does one choose? You can trust our Premier Pharmacists to help you choose the best formulation for you. Some individuals believe that eating yogurt is sufficient to restore normal bacterial flora. However, one capsule of a good probiotic will have ten times more live culture per dose than an entire container of yogurt. It is difficult to take too much probiotic and the one billion to ten billion live organisms per dose, helps to quickly address bacterial insufficiencies. The majority of probiotic formulations are refrigerated. However, there are some excellent products that do not require refrigeration.

We will be stocking only the best products in our Gut Support line:

  • Saccharomyces Combo
  • FOS Powder
  • Probiotics UltraMax
  • Probiotic Mega Blend DF
  • Extra Strength Probiotic

 

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What is Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation And Why Is It Important?

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Premier Pharmacy’s commitment to quality and safety is one of the primary reasons healthcare professionals trust us to serve their own patients. This pledge to quality has been confirmed through our accreditation by nationally recognized institutions.

Accreditation typically involves an independent organization reviewing a company’s operations to ensure they are meeting the highest standards. These include standards for issues like quality control and patient safety.

Premier Pharmacy is making it easier for doctors and patients in the Tri-Cities to choose a compounding pharmacy they know meets the highest quality and safety standards in its profession. Premier Pharmacy earned the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board’s Seal of Accreditation, a service provided by Accreditation Commission for Health Care Inc. (ACHC). Less than 1% of compounding pharmacies have earned this distinction.

Compounding medications is an integral part of the practice of pharmacy and the demand for these customized medications are increasing every year. Yet many people may not even be aware of its role. Compounded medications are prescriptions that are written by physicians, veterinarians and other legally authorized prescribers and prepared for an individual patient by a specially trained pharmacist. Examples of compounded prescriptions are:

  When a child needs a smaller dose of a medicine that is only commercially manufactured in adult-size doses.

  When a person cannot tolerate the inactive ingredients (such as gluten or sugar) in manufactured medicines.

   When a doctor believes a medicine is needed for his or her patient, but a manufacturer has discontinued the medicine for economic reasons.

Many pharmacies practice a small degree of compounding, while others specialize in the centuries-old practice.

Our new PCAB Accreditation status and our designation as a PCAB Accredited™ compounding pharmacy lets the public know that Premier Pharmacy ranks among the best for quality and safety. The PCAB Seal of Accreditation shows our dedication to protecting our patients by practicing safe, high-quality compounding.

With the high volume of prescriptions that are compounded each year, there has been a need for an enhanced, profession-wide system of standards by which each compounding pharmacy can test its quality processes. While compounding pharmacy is regulated by the state, PCAB Accreditation is an even more comprehensive way to ensure a compounding pharmacy is meeting the highest quality and safety standards.

To earn PCAB Accreditation, Premier Pharmacy had to complete an extensive application, document its written policies and provide an analysis of its quality procedures that was reviewed by the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board and some of the leading figures in the field of compounding. Next, the pharmacy opened its doors for an extensive on-site inspection led by compounding experts. Only when these stringent evaluations were completed did the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board officially grant Premier Pharmacy the PCAB Seal of Accreditation and the right to use the designation “PCAB Accredited™ compounding pharmacy.

We are honored by this new accreditation. It confirms our commitment to providing safe, personalized solutions that meet the medical needs of our patients – and the needs of the healthcare providers in our community who rely on us for these specialized medicines. We believe this will further strengthen the bond of trust between our pharmacy and the Tri-Cities community. You wouldn’t go to an unaccredited hospital, so why go to an unaccredited compounding pharmacy?

About the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board

The Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board is a not-for-profit corporation formed by eight national pharmacy organizations that recognized the need for a national standards organization for compounding pharmacy. Together, these leading organizations developed the policies and standards for the practice of compounding pharmacy, as well as the PCAB Accreditation criteria and processes.

For more information on PCAB Accreditation, visit the PCAB Web site at www.pcab.org. For more information about Premier Pharmacy, visit www.rxpremier.com

What is Nutrient Support For Detoxification

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Detoxification takes place in a number of body systems, including the kidneys, the skin, and the lungs. However the principal organ of detoxification is the liver. Life is dependent upon the liver’s function as the primary defense against toxins and chemicals that enter from the bloodstream. If the liver ceases to function or becomes impaired, an individual will become quite ill.

Our environment is becoming much more toxic and this increased toxicity is often expressed by the presence of illness or disease. Naturally, decreasing toxic load through a more healthful diet, daily exercise, decreased chemical exposure (prescription medications) and a quality probiotic can bring an improvement in toxicity based disease states. But in cases of prolonged toxic challenge, or the inability to resolve toxicity issues, the addition of supplements to further support liver detoxification is recommended.

The liver is challenged to detoxify 24 hours a day. And the elaborate enzyme systems both in our liver and every cell of our body depend on nutrients to operate properly. The premier antioxidant and nutrient necessary for proper liver support of detoxification is glutathione.

Glutathione is present in every cell of our body, and the depletion of glutathione is noted in a wide range of medical conditions. For many years nutritional precursors were used to help increase the body’s store of glutathione. Supplements such as Alpha Lipoic Acid, N-Acetyl-Cysteine, and Vitamin C were shown to raise glutathione levels. These supplements were used because glutathione was not effectively absorbed orally. However, the development of a Liposomal Glutathione product utilizing a phosphatidylcholine liposomal delivery system has now been shown to protect glutathione bonds from the degradation that can occur in digestion. This liposomal delivery system offers enhanced absorption that has never been seen before in oral administration.

Glutathione has many functions in your body besides acting as the primary cellular detoxifier. It can also act as a heavy metal chelator and helps to detoxify prescription medications and other chemicals that we ingest. Glutathione protects the cells of the nervous system from damage and may help improve neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, and Alzheimer’s disease. Given the extensive presence and use of glutathione in the body, a detoxification program that supports endogenous glutathione with nutrients such as NAC, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Vitamin C Esterified, and Milk Thistle are advised. And now, with the addition of oral Liposomal Glutathione, significant increase in glutathione stores in the body can be accomplished.

To help you with your detoxification needs, Premier Pharmacy offers the following high-quality, professional grade supplements:

  Liposomal Glutathione 250 mg

  N-Acetyl-Cysteine 600 mg

  Alpha Lipoic Acid 300 mg

  Vitamin C 500 mg Esterified

What Is Premier Perfect Protein Powder?

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Perfect-Protein-Powder-smallPremier Perfect Protein Powder is a plant based protein source that provides distinct advantages over conventional animal based protein sources for muscle recovery and post workouts.

  • Provides 21 grams of protein per serving
  • Contains no cholesterol or saturated fat
  • Less than 1 gram of sugar per serving
  • A proprietary blend featuring pea protein, sacha inchi, chia seed, and cranberry
  • Formulated with agave inulin for prebiotic support to improve gut health
  • Formulated with an enzyme blend for easy digestion
  • Hypoallergenic and non-GMO sourced
  • Vegan and vegetarian approved!

Why Liquid Protein Nutrition?

Protein based liquid nutrition has been found to offer distinct nutritional advantages.

  • Liquid nutrition does not require the same extensive digestion that is found in solid food. Solid foods require more enzymes and break down than liquid nutrition. Nutrients are absorbed more easily and efficiently through liquids.
  • You decide what goes in your smoothie to achieve your nutritional needs.
  • You can measure your nutrient intake of calories, sugar, and sodium per smoothie.
  • You can enhance and fortify your smoothie to achieve exceptional nutritional support.

How To Make A Nutritional Smoothie In 4 Easy Steps:

1. CHOOSE YOUR GREENS

Kale, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Collards, Beet Greens, or Dandelion

Note: These will give your smoothie a solid nutritional plus. They will not impart flavor. General volume is 1/3 of the volume of the smoothie.

2. CHOOSE YOUR FRUIT

Bananas (Fresh Or Frozen), Berries (Fresh Or Frozen), Mango, Kiwi, Apple, Peach, Pear, Melon, Papaya, Pineapple

Note: This is where the true flavor of your smoothie is going to come from as well as a blast of antioxidant support. General volume is 1/3 of the volume of the smoothie.

3. SUPERCHARGE AND ADD

• One Scoop Of Perfect Protein Powder To Blender

• Your Vitamins To Blender

Optional Additions:

Flaxseed, Nut Butter, Raw Cacao, Or Spirulina

4.  CHOOSE YOUR BASE

Almond Milk, Rice Milk, Green Tea, Coconut Water, Filtered Water, Or Other Nutritional Source

Note: Cow’s milk in any percentage and soy based products are undesired here. General volume is 1/3 of the volume of the smoothie.

For Added Sweetness You Can Add (Optional): Chopped Dates, Stevia, Maple Syrup, Honey, Raw Agave, Coconut Palm Sugar

What is Insomnia & Sleep Support

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Insomnia is a condition where an individual can have a difficult time falling asleep or staying asleep. 30-40% of Americans have sleep issues each year. When sleep disorders last longer than one month, they are classified as a chronic sleep disorder. Scientists do not know why we sleep, but the lack of sleep can affect our mood, our physical wellness, and our overall happiness. REM sleep is the time when we tend to dream, and we should have several episodes of REM sleep each night. Failure to reach REM sleep will have a negative effect on regenerative hormones that are produced while we sleep.

The natural sleep hormone is called melatonin. Melatonin is secreted at night when darkness is approaching and it causes us to become sleepy and lowers our body temperature. Many prescription medications can block the production of melatonin. Be sure to ask the pharmacist at Premier if the medications you are taking may be depleting melatonin, making it difficult to fall asleep.

There are also lifestyle changes one can enact to improve the quality of sleep. If one has sleep issues, he/she should first examine the amount of caffeine they are consuming, especially at night. Alcohol will cause poor sleep, especially if taken in excess. To stimulate the production of melatonin in the evening we should turn our lights down. Staring at computer screens, video games, or television just before bedtime can make melatonin production difficult. Exercise can improve the quality of sleep, and eating meals too close to bedtime can adversely affect sleep.

Many individuals turn to prescription medications to try to address sleep disorders. However, these medications can become problematic as they can adversely affect the normal sleep cycle, especially the REM sleep cycle. We recommend starting with a quality sleep supplement to help restore the natural sleep rhythm. Magnesium is a mineral that acts as a calmative and helps our muscles relax, helping us to fall asleep more easily. Combinations of sleep-inducing ingredients such as magnesium, melatonin, valerian root, passionflower, and L-Theanine can induce a natural sleep onset. L-Theanine is a unique amino acid that acts as a calmative for us when taken during the day, but can help to improve sleep when taken at bedtime. L-Theanine is especially useful for those individuals who only sleep 4-5 hours a night.

If you have sleep problems, we invite you to ask our pharmacist for recommendations to help you restore your natural sleep cycle. We will be stocking only the best products in our Sleep Support line, such as:

• Sleep Formula • Sleep Support

• Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate

• L-Theanine • Sleep Ease Plus

• Melatonin 3 mg with Vitamin B-6

• Magnesium 200 mg as Amino Acid Chelate

• Valerian Root Standardized Extract

What is Hay Fever and Seasonal Allergies

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Hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, and seasonal allergies are allergic inflammatory conditions of the nasal passages that affect a large portion of Americans on a seasonal or year-round basis. Hay fever can worsen into sinusitis or even asthma in some individuals.

The term “hay fever” originated in the early 1800s when individuals suffered allergy symptoms during the hay growing season, or “haying season.”

Symptoms of hay fever include:
  Watery, itchy eyes
  Dark circles under the eyes
  Sneezing
  Excessive mucous production
  Nasal congestion
  Postnasal drip
  Loss of sense of smell

Histamine, which is reduced from the mast cells, causes a cascade of events that are meant to flush out or rid the body of the off ending substance. That is why we traditionally use antihistamines to fight the symptoms of histamine release, which could come with a number of adverse side effects. There are several natural substances that can help us address the symptoms of hay fever.

For allergy suffers, 500 milligrams of vitamin C, two to three times daily can be beneficial because it can speed the elimination of histamine from the body. Quercetin, another natural substance, acts as a mast cell stabilizer and helps to block the release of histamine. Quercetin has also been shown to have a bronchodilator effect, helping open the airways for individuals with asthma. The enzyme bromelain is commonly taken with food to aid in digestion. But when taken on an empty stomach, it can be absorbed into the blood stream – helping to reduce inflammation and break up mucous.

A new product in the Premier Pharmacy designer vitamin line, Aller Calm Complex, is a formulation containing all of the above ingredients as well as additional ingredients that support allergy and asthma relief. Aller Calm Complex has been the subject of several studies and has been shown to be effective in most patients with allergies or asthma.

Often, the best therapy for allergies is a good foundational preventative approach. Omega 3 essential fatty acids, found in either fish oil or flaxseed oil, can be beneficial in managing allergic and asthmatic symptoms. A quality probiotic such as Probiotic UltraMax can support a healthy intestinal tract. Seventy percent of our immune function is located in our gut. So good gut health is essential for management of allergic issues regardless of the source.

Finally, a good source of B vitamins such as coenzyme B can be helpful in providing protection from airborne allergens. Our specialized pharmacy team is trained to offer you the best nutritional support and is happy to talk with you about hay fever or seasonal allergies. We recommend the highest quality pharmaceutical grade supplements in our nutraceutical line to help with your hay fever or seasonal allergies such as:

  Aller Calm Complex
  Quercetin Plus (with vitamin C)
  Marine Fish Oils
  Flax Seed Oil
  Probiotic UltraMax
  Vitamin C 500 mg

What is Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletion?

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Drug-induced nutrient depletion occurs when the medications we are taking for our various health issues block the absorption, storage, metabolism, or synthesis of essential nutrients in the body. When nutrients are blocked or depleted in this fashion over a prolonged period of time, health problems can develop secondary to those depletions.

Some of the most popular medications prescribed today can create these drug-induced nutrient depletions. Statin drugs which lower cholesterol, acid-lowering drugs to relieve stomach complaints, antibiotics, estrogen replacement products, or even aspirin can cause depletion in essential nutrients needed by the body for good health. With so many individuals taking multiple medications today, drug-induced nutrient depletion can be very common. Below you will see a list of popular medications and their accompanying nutrient depletions. Individuals should review this listing for potential nutrient depletions.

What can we do about this problem? Here at Premier Pharmacy, our pharmacists are specially trained to recommend nutrients that will help to offset drug-induced nutrient depletions created by the medications you take. It is important that you share with our pharmacist all of the medications you are taking – both prescription and over-the-counter. The pharmacists at Premier Pharmacy can review the medications you are taking and make recommendations for your protection and good health.

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What is Personalized Medicine and How Can You Protect It?

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Personalized medicine is the practice in which a licensed pharmacist combines, mixes or alters ingredients in response to a prescription by a licensed practitioner to create customized formulations for patients and animals whose health care needs cannot be met by standardized medications manufactured by the pharmaceutical industry.

Personalizing medicine is a centuries-old practice. Pharmacy is one of the most respected and trusted professions in the United States. In a recent survey, pharmacists ranked as the second most trusted professionals in our society behind nurses. Today, personalized medicine has evolved into a specialty practice within the pharmacy community.

Millions of patients have unique health needs that off-the-shelf, manufactured medications cannot meet. For these patients, personalized medications are the only way to better health. Working with a physician, a pharmacist skilled in the art and science of personalized medicine can meet individual needs of children, adults and animals. Whether it’s an allergy to an ingredient, a need for a different strength, or a preference for a different dosage form, specialized pharmacist provide patients with solutions to their medication needs.

Many Americans now have some type of prescription drug coverage through their employer or through a government assisted program. Whether you pay a fixed copayment, percentage of your total prescription cost or pay out-of-pocket and then submit your receipts for reimbursement, prescription drugs are one of the most commonly used of all health insurance benefits.

Depending on the plan and the insurance company you have selected, personalized medications are often covered in the same manner as commercially available drug products. You can ask your pharmacist or check to find out if your medication is covered, to what extent it’s covered, and the amount of out-of-pocket cost you can expect.

The insurance companies, as a whole, do a great job assessing the risks vs benefits of thousands of commercially available medications by creating tiers based on safety, efficacy and cost effectiveness of drugs.  However, insurance companies actually contract with an outside business called a Prescription Benefit Manager (PBM) to process their prescription claims. PBMs are not insurance companies and are not regulated by Insurance Commissioners in most cases. PBMs can obtain rebates and discounts from pharmaceutical drug companies, get paid by the insurance company for each claim they process, and take a percentage from each. In a way they act as the “middle man”.

Recently, a few of the larger PBMs have launched new programs that will exclude a majority of personalized prescriptions from coverage. The goal of this program is to save the PBMs money; however, it may unintentionally prevent access to personalized medications that you rely on.

As more doctors and patients recognize the health benefits of a personalized prescription drug, more claims are being submitted to PBMs for processing. PBMs are expecting you, the patient, to pay the entire out-of-pocket cost of the medicine. In my opinion, that is simply unfair. Patients requiring personalized medicine should receive the same types of coverage that’s offered for non-personalized medicines. For additional information on personalized medicine and how you can protect it please visit www.protectmycompounds.com.

Dr. Bob Harshbarger, III is a graduate of Mercer University College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences in Atlanta, GA and is licensed to practice pharmacy in the states of Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Tennessee and Virginia.