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Concern about birth defects shouldn’t stop women from taking mental health drugs, experts say

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK – Pregnant women taking drugs for mental health problems should not stop taking their drugs without first talking to their doctors, experts say.

At a recent luncheon sponsored by the March of dimes National Communications Advisory Council, experts said more than half of pregnant women take at least one prescription drug at some time during pregnancy, and some young women have been taking drugs to treat such conditions as depression, anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder since they were teenagers. Women taking these drugs should seek support and guidance from healthcare providers to determine if they should continue or switch to another drug.

"Pregnant women should talk to their doctor about which medications they are taking and what are the best options for them while pregnant," Yale University School of Medicine post-menopausal syndrome and perinatal psychiatric research program director Kimberly Yonkers said. "It is important to balance the possible risks and benefits of all medications to the mother and the baby."

 

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Report: Health and wellness spells opportunity in today’s economy

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — With renewed consumer confidence converting more shoppers into buyers, there is greater opportunity for companies in the health and wellness space, noted a report titled "The Why Behind the Buy Spring 2013," which recently was released by Acosta Sales and Marketing. Even as U.S. obesity rates continue to rise, more consumers are looking to exercise regularly and eat healthy, according to the consumer poll. 

As many as 50% of shoppers indicated they read nutrition labels “most of the time” or “always," Acosta reported, though 86% acknowledged indulging in foods they know are unhealthy. "Confusion about health ratings and the propensity of consumers to use the Internet to find information about healthy eating gives CPG companies and retailers the opportunity to help shoppers solve the health and wellness puzzle," Acosta noted. 

Even though retailers’ food rating systems, like Guiding Stars and Nutrition IQ, represent a simplified method of rating foods based on their nutritional value, these programs have very little recognition among shoppers, Acosta added. "Only 8% reported being aware of such programs. There’s interest in these programs among some shoppers, especially U.S. Hispanics — 31% indicated they would find the rating systems ‘extremely useful’ and 35% ‘very useful.’”

 

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W.WORKFORVERT says:
Jun-16-2013 05:00 pm

At WorkforVert.com Health and Wellness means a lifetime of performing at your potential, which includes minimizing the likelihood of injury and challenging yourself to embark on a life mental and physical performance.

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Natural medicine education on the rise

BY Michael Johnsen

Along with the rise in available consultative pharmacy services being provided today, pharmacy education opportunities that address natural health-related areas are increasing as well, enabling health practitioners to have a more robust conversation around a patient’s health.

One-of-5 botanical research centers supported by the National Institutes of Health, the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy recently accepted a five-year, $2.1 million grant to train graduate and postdoctoral students in natural product drugs and dietary supplements. The grant, funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, is in support of studying the safety and efficacy of dietary supplements and for the discovery of new therapeutic agents from natural product sources.

“In terms of botanical supplements and all other areas of pharmacognosy and natural products research, there’s renewed interest,” observed Richard van Breemen, director of the UIC/NIH Center for Botanical Dietary Supplements Research. “Those few schools that have always carried out botanical research are enjoying more exciting research and activity than they have in decades.”

The UIC research center does help inform the educational curriculum for pharmacists at the college, van Breemen said, especially with regard to botanical-drug interactions, which is another research track pursued by UIC. “We chose [that track of research] because we thought it was an emerging issue in 2010,” van Beemen said. “NIH programs officers and others are recognizing that [botanical dietary supplements] is an important area.”

The lectures delivered by UIC’s botanical researchers are popular among pharmacy students, van Breemen added. “Our courses are all team-taught,” he said. “We’re able to give some real experiential examples — it’s more interesting to students. … Then, during the question and answer period, we can talk about our experience and our own research.”

Already, the majority of community pharmacists are talking to their pharmacy patients about supplements overall, including botanical supplements. In fact, according to a survey conducted on behalf of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, 93% of pharmacists recommend supplements to the patients they counsel.

Pharmacists also noted in the survey that when they did speak to customers about supplements, two-thirds reported that customers had initiated the conversation. With regard to which supplements pharmacists were most often asked about, the top three mentioned by respondents were omega-3/fish oil (mentioned by 73%), calcium (73%) and glucosamine/chondroitin (70%).

 

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