Dr. Bailey talked to us about how the pharmacy can obtain prescriptions, the difference between an allergic reaction and an adverse drug event (ADE), and treatment for acute pain. The following is an overview of these topics.
First Dr. Bailey discussed how pharmacies obtain prescriptions, which are done in a number of different ways. The most common way is a written prescription. This is used mostly for controlled substances which are drugs that have some potential for abuse or dependency. Examples of controlled substances are Vicodin, codeine, Xanax and Lyrica.
Pharmacies also obtain prescriptions by phone and fax. Both of these methods require the doctor’s state license number and sometimes even their Drug Enforcement Administration number (DEA) so not just anyone can call or fax in a prescription, only people who work in that doctor’s office can call or fax in the prescription.
The last mode of obtaining a prescription for a pharmacist is by electronic prescribing. This method is becoming more popular with both doctors’ offices and pharmacies; it’s fast and easy. Most prescriptions can be sent electronically. Both the doctor and the pharmacy have to have an approved computer system for electronic prescriptions. Anyone in the office can send prescriptions to the pharmacy except for controlled substances, while only the prescribing doctor is capable of sending controlled substances.
Dr. Bailey then spoke to us about the difference between an allergic reaction and an adverse drug event, or an ADE. He explained to us that all allergic reactions are ADEs but not all ADEs are allergic reactions. When you think that you have an allergic reaction it is very important to describe to your doctor what actually happens. Adverse effects can be common and are expected. Some examples of an ADE are nausea, drowsiness and diarrhea; it is important to know that these are not allergic reactions, but adverse effects.
You should contact your health care provider or seek emergency care immediately if you are having any of the following allergy sign and symptoms:
· Hives or red, itchy patches
· Swollen, red, itchy rash
· Difficulty breathing
· Swelling in the face, tongue, lips, and/or throat
Another important fact to remember is that allergic reactions are not hereditary. The tendency to have an allergic reaction is hereditary, but specific allergic reactions are not. When answering allergic reaction questions, make sure that you are answering them based on what YOU have had an allergic reaction to, not what your relatives have had an allergic reaction to.
Lastly, Dr. Bailey spoke to us about treatment of acute pain, specifically in the dental office. Acute pain is a normal pain that warns that you’ve been hurt. It starts suddenly and usually doesn’t last long, such as a tooth ache. There are three different types of medications that he spoke to us about to help with acute pain: NSAIDs, Acetaminophen and Opioids or Opiates.
NSAIDs—nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs—are amongst the most common pain relievers. NSAIDs work on a chemical level by blocking the effects of special enzymes that play a key role in making prostaglandins. More simply put, prostaglandins help reduce swelling and pain. Examples of NSAIDs are aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen.
Acetaminophen is another medication that can be taken for acute pain. The exact mechanism of action of it is not known, however, it too may reduce the production of prostaglandins causing less swelling and less pain. Acetaminophen relieves pain by altering a person’s perception of the pain. Acetaminophen also helps reduce fever through its action in the heat-regulating center of the brain. Examples of acetaminophen products are Tylenol and Panadol.
Opioids are drugs that are derived from opium. They are any agents that bind to protein molecules located on the membranes of some nerve cells that are found principally in the central nervous system and gastrointestinal tract, and elicits a response. Opioids are often prescribed to help calm patients because a low to moderate dose can provide feelings of intense joy and comfort, however a higher dose can cause respiratory depression, or slowed breathing, to the point of death. Common examples of opioids are morphine, codeine, buprenorphine, Vicodin and Percocet.
The information that Dr. Bailey gave to us during his presentation is not only helpful for the everyday setting in the dental office, but it is also very helpful for everyday home life. There are options for how a pharmacist can receive your prescription; all allergies are ADEs but not all ADEs are allergies and make sure you are giving your doctor YOUR allergic reactions not your relatives as allergies are not hereditary; and medications are a fascinating but serious topic. Make sure to speak with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any kind of medication because while they can be helpful, they can also be deadly, and if you have any medications questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your doctor or local pharmacist.
MCHD Dentistry would like to thank Dr. Bailey for all of this helpful information so that we may better take care of our patients. Thank you, Dr. Bailey!