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Medicine Safely

Allegra: Good News or Bad News?

July 21st, 2011
I was on the phone on hold when I heard a woman’s indignant voice at our pharmacy’s pick up counter.
“$60? Why, that’s ridiculous! There must be some mistake. It’s supposed to be $25.00.”

Uh, oh. Another patient here to pick up her prescription for Allegra. Time for me to explain why her copay jumped from $25.00 to $60.00. I finished my phone call and walked over to rescue the cashier.

I smiled at our frustrated customer. “No, I’m sorry, but your prescription insurance is no longer covering Allegra. It’s because it is no longer a prescription only medicine. Its patent has expired, and it is now available without a prescription.”

“But…can’t you just have it switched to a generic buy levitra online canada buy viagra uk?”

“We could do that. But that won’t help your copay, because your insurance plan is no longer covering that drug AT ALL. And for some reason, there IS no prescription generic available for us to order right now.”

“But if it went generic, it should be cheaper, not MORE expensive!”

“Well, it will eventually be less expensive, when it is available as a generic. But you can still get your Allegra, it just doesn’t NEED a prescription any more.”

I stepped out in front of the pharmacy counter and walked her over to the 2 strengths of Allegra now packaged and sold with the allergy products.

The good news is, you can now buy Allegra at the full prescription strengths, 60mg and 180mg, without a prescription at your pharmacy or grocery.

The bad news is, if you were one of the people who had insurance that paid for most of the cost of prescription Allegra, it is now cheaper for you to buy it yourself than to pay the entire cost of the prescription version.

There are 2 strengths available: Allegra 60mg 12 Hour and Allegra 180mg 24 Hour.

Allegra is a newer type of antihistamine that helps relieve allergic symptoms like itchy and runny nose, watery eyes, and stuffy nose without causing much drowsiness or sedation.

Right now, Allegra is more expensive than similar non-sedating antihistamines such as Loratadine (Claritin) and cetirazine (Zyrtec), because they have generic versions available. But if you are looking for another option for allergy relief without drowsiness, Allegra is now available over the counter (without a prescription).
Allegra 180mg 24 Hour once a day is equivalent to loratadine 10mg or cetirazine 10mg once a day.

Hooray for the Champs!

July 19th, 2011

While watching the US and Japan in the FIFA World Cup soccer final yesterday afternoon, I was fascinated with the contrasting styles of the 2 women’s teams: fire and ice. The US style was firey and volatile. They took chances and controlled the ball well. If their goal attempts had managed to quit bouncing off the goal posts, they would probably have taken home the trophy.

The playing style of the Japanese team was more like ice: calm, consistent, and focused. Even though I was rooting for the United States, I had to admire Japan’s team for their composure. They never gave up. They never fell apart. Instead, they played and played with the patience of positive expectations acheter du viagra…like they BELIEVED that a chance to score would eventually show itself, if they just kept going.

And they were ready when it did.

Both teams are champions to me. Each team has inspired me, but in different ways.

I salute the passion and energy of the US team, going out there and working hard to make things happen, and not getting frustrated when shot after shot at the goal refused to go in.

And I admire the spirit and heart of the Japanese team, who never counted themselves out. They played with calm, focused persistance, ready to take advantage of any future opportunity because they believed that their opportunity WOULD come.

So, Hooray for the Champs-BOTH of them!

3 Cheers for Title IX

July 14th, 2011

After seeing the amazing game between the US Womens team and France on the way to the World Cup Soccer finals, I have to admit to being a little bit envious.

When I was in school, there were no women’s sports programs. In the spring of my senior year Title IX went into effect at my small high school (a total of 110 students from freshmen through seniors). So we were able to try out for track and field, and have a taste of the pursuit of physical and mental skills and the experience of competition.

Title IX is the law that states that, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance…”

My daughter Maureen, now 31 years old, benefited from Title IX as she played volleyball and soccer in junior high and high school.

So, as I watch the US National team facing Japan in the title game this weekend, I’ll be cheering not only for the US Womens team, but for Title IX, which helped make it possible.

Go US Women!

Congratulations, USA Women World Cup Soccer Team

July 11th, 2011

What a thrilling game yesterday! The USA Women’s victory in over Brazil was an amazing mix of ups, downs, good luck and bad…a tribute to their team’s dogged effort, persistence and passion http://levitrakamagra.com/.

When I think about the commitment and tenacity that the USA Women’s team displayed in their win over Brazil, it reminds me of a favorite quote of mine by Bob Moawad:

“You can’t make footprints in the sands of time if you’re sitting on your butt. And who wants to make buttprints in the the sands of time?”

Here’s to you, USA Women!

The Sands of Time

The Sands of Time

Be A Squeaky Wheel

July 5th, 2011

I was working at a community pharmacy last Thursday, heading into the July 4th holiday weekend, when one of the customers that came in to pick up his prescription asked if “one of the pharmacists that gives shots” could please help him out with his injection of blood thinner.

He was picking up a refill of enoxaparin, also called Lovenox, for blood clots in his legs and his lungs. As I prepped his stomach for the shot, he told me that this was the second time that he had to buy this expensive prescription. A week ago, he’d noticed a cramp in his right leg that wouldn’t let up and when he went to the doctor, they did an ultrasound and found several clots in his right leg. Then they did a chest CT which also found clots in his lungs.

His doctor gave him 3 prescriptions: one for injections (enoxaparin, also called Lovenox) one for tablets of a blood thinner called warfarin, and the other for lab work: blood tests every day until his blood test was high enough so he could stop taking the shots. He then explained how he faithfully went to his doctor’s office to get his blood tested every day, from Wednesday to Saturday morning.

The call he got on Saturday wasn’t from his regular doctor. She was out of town over the weekend so another doctor, one he didn’t know, called him back on Saturday afternoon and told him that his level was now too high and he was to stop both the enoxaparin shots and the warfarin pills, and come back to the office for another blood test in 4 days.

As I gave him his shot, put a band-aid on it and dropped the syringe in the plastic container we kept for “sharps”, he added, “At the time I knew it didn’t seem quite right, but I didn’t feel like I could ask the doctor about it. Then when I went back in on Tuesday, my test was way too low and I had to start all over again. Not speaking up cost me over $400 in extra tests and more of these expensive shots.”

I agree with him.
If you don’t understand WHY you are being asked to take –or to NOT take-a particular medicine, please, please, please…SPEAK UP!
Being willing to be a “squeaky wheel”…to ASK if something doesn’t seem right or make sense to you will go a long way to help you take medicine safely.

Swine Flu and the River Too

November 15th, 2009

Back in October, 5 weeks ago, my life took a turn sideways.
I came down with (H1N1) swine flu and spent
most of the next few days flat on my back in bed.

I felt better by the weekend, and at 10 o’clock
that Sunday morning, I had just finished
making my morning latte when my power went off.

At my house, when we lose power, there goes the
internet service and email, too.

“Oh, well”, I thought, “maybe someone hit a
power pole, and we’ll just be out for a couple of

This is not unusual in my small mountain community.
On the weekends, tourists and sightseers driving
up our curving mountain highway to gawk at the
fabulous scenery can get so distracted admiring
it that they end up mashed against a Ponderosa Pine
or a power pole. I know–I served on our local Fire
Department for 14 years!

I still had some chills and fever despite the warm
coffee, so I covered up with heavy blankets. As
morning turned into late afternoon with the power
still off, the house got cooler and cooler and I was
having trouble keeping warm. Finally, my husband
Charlie called a restaurant up the road and asked
if they had power yet and they asked him,
“Didn’t you hear? There’s a massive landslide that’s
taken out the highway AND the river too. There’s no
telling when we’ll get power back.”

I dragged myself out of bed, he dragged out our
generator, and with me holding up a gas lantern
just one of those statues of stable boys you see
along some folks’ driveways, he added oil and gas
to it and got it going, giving us enough power
to keep our refrigerator and a small heater
running. Now at least we didn’t have to worry
about me (or the pipes) freezing.

After 24 hours without power, we got our
power back on, but the road situation was more
complicated. On that Sunday morning, October 10th,
a huge landslide covered up not only the state highway,
it completely blocked the entire Naches River.

And as the river backed up looking for another
channel, it cut into and scoured away a large chunk of
the other road leading out of valley and toward Yakima,
where most people (including me) shop and work.

You can check out the Nile landslide here:


Tuesday morning we got up at 3:30 am and my husband
and I drove into work together. Three hours and
3 mountain passes later, we finally made it to
Yakima. That night, on our commute back home,
my life turned sideways again.

The one remaining road to town from our house is
called the Nile Loop Road, and it had been under siege
from the backed up Naches River and undergoing
around-the-clock major emergency repair. They were
dumping large rocks and laying down large amounts
of heavy gravel on the roadway to slow down the
Naches River cutting across it, and working to
raise it at least 3 feet higher in order to keep
it above the relentless flowing water. Only locals
and emergency vehicles are being allowed through,
and it wasn’t even passable that morning when we
left for work.

That Tuesday night, it was snowing on our way home,
and instead of driving back over the 3 mountain
passes–another 3 hour commute–we decided to
check and see if the Nile Loop Road was passable yet.
They had been working nonstop on it, working to
rescue it from the Naches River channeling around
the landslide that had dared to block its path.

When we got to the road closure blockade, they
stopped us at the checkpoint, looked at my husband’s
Nile Fire Department Commissioner identification,
and waved us through. It was just getting dark as
we pulled across the bridge and turned onto
Nile Loop Road.

Rounding the first corner, we saw water standing
on the roadway, about 8 inches deep. As we slowly
drove through the water, I felt a twinge of concern.
Next we passed a Washington State Patrol car slowly
heading back the way we came, then saw it turn on
flashing lights as it reached the checkpoint we had just

But it was almost dark and we really needed to get
through this section before we couldn’t see where we
were going. The next section of road, about a half mile,
was in pretty good shape, and I started to breathe
a little easier. Then we saw the REAL challenge:
the river ahead, racing over the road, with
heavy trucks nearby dumping gravel on it, building
it up.

We went over the last pile of gravel laid down with
a loud scrape of our chassis, with our final obstacle
looming just ahead. As they had been dumping gravel,
the river was being shoved to the side, getting even
deeper the longer we watched. They had said the
deepest water we would be dealing with was about 12
inches of water on the road.

But this was DEFINITELY more than 12 inches, and it
was getting deeper by the minute. Do we chance it?
Well, we had a fairly heavy front wheel drive vehicle, an
experienced driver, and the guts (or desperation,
take your pick) to go for it.

As we headed down into the channel, the river water
just fountained up and over our hood, completely
blocking our view of the road. The engine sputtered
just a little bit, and we both prayed we’d keep
moving forward. Scenes from those videos of cars
swept away by rising water flashed through my head.
Somehow we made it through, we got home safe.

Yeah, that was quite a week—Swine Flu and the River, too!

Since then, there has been nonstop construction on our new road.

It’s been incredible how much they have done in just 4 weeks. There are photos and other updates here:

LOL and Pass It On

July 14th, 2009

Dear Reader,
I believe that the joy of laughter is one of the
most important things about being human.

When I lost the ability to laugh out loud, it left
a hole in my spirit. That hole in my life, the
lack of a good laugh, was something I worried
that I would suffer with, forever.

Thank goodness, I WAS able to laugh with others
again, when I fixed my bladder problem.
I really, truly, LOVE having the freedom to chuckle,
titter, howl, even guffaw—without the fear of
having my bladder embarrass me.

I thank God every day for the joy of a good laugh,
and I pass on that joy every chance I get.
That’s the main reason I do what I am doing
at www.naturalbladdercontrol.com.

I truly want other women to regain their joy
in a good laugh, too.
Years ago, I used to try to avoid listening to a
good joke or a funny story, just because I was
afraid I could pee my pants if I laughed too hard.

I just love watching this video about the power of
laughter. Watching this just makes me laugh
out loud. Over and over again. Thomas Crum,
author of Journey to Center and Three Deep Breaths,
sent it to me a couple of weeks ago.

Laughter is contagious. I wish for you and for all women
the joy of a good belly laugh with the confidence of
great bladder control.

Here’s the link:

Warm Regards,
Dr. Louise

This Friday’s Favorite

July 10th, 2009

This Friday’s Favorite
My Favorite Dog Treat

I have 3 dogs, Scottish Terriers: Olive, Bryce, and Jamie.
One of my favorite treats to give them is very easy to do.

Scotties have big jaws and teeth, and I bought them the middle sized red rubber Kong toys several years ago. If you have a hard-core chewer, the Kong people make a black heavy duty version, but my guys do just fine with the red ones.

Kong toys have a hollowed out center to them, and if you have another type of rubber toy with an open area in the center, you could use them for this just as well.

I take peanut butter and put about a half tablespoon (1 and a half teaspoons) of it inside the center, and distribute it evenly around. My dogs will lick these happily for about 15-20 minutes before they go off to check on the other’s Kongs, just to see if anything was left behind by any of the others.

Have a great Friday,
Dr. Louise

Olive enjoys her Kong treat

Olive enjoys her Kong treat

Payback Time for Blondie

June 8th, 2009

Our summertime weather decided to take a vacation, and the thermometer dipped into the 50s today.

Not so at my Dad’s on the west side of Washington, which usually has the cooler temperatures. They had 90 degrees, while we had only the 60s.

Our tomato plants are SO confused! Even the rhubarb stopped growing. But that was a blessing. It’ll keep the stalks from getting big and tough too quickly.

My husband Charlie brought home some wonderfulstrawberries to mix with the rhubarb. I just love strawberry rhubarb cobbler. AND strawberry rhubarb pie. And don’t forget stewed rhubarb mixed with fresh strawberries, served warm with vanilla ice cream.

Okay, enough of that…or I’ll get up and head off to the kitchen without sharing last week’s favorite joke with you…

A Trucker’s Breakfast…

A trucker came into a truck stop cafe and placed his order. He said, “I want three flat tires, a pair of headlights and a pair of running boards.”

The blonde waitress was brand new, and, not wanting to look dumb, headed back to the kitchen and told the cook, “This guy out there ordered three flat tires, a pair of headlights and a pair of running boards… What does he think this is, an auto parts store?”

“No,” said the cook. “You’re just new. You see, three flat tires…means three pancakes. A pair of headlights…is two eggs, sunny side up. And a pair of
running boards…is a couple slices of crisp bacon!”

“Oh,…I get it!” said the blonde. She thought about it for a moment and then dished up a bowl of beans and gave it to her customer.

The trucker asked, ‘What are the beans for, Blondie?’
She replied, “Oh, well, I thought that while you were waiting for the flat tires, headlights and running boards, you might just as well gas up!”

Isn’t payback sweet? Way to go, Blondie.
That’s back atcha!

Have an absolutely great day, with a big smile for those you meet…

Warm Regards,
Dr. Louise

Did You Laugh Yet Today

May 19th, 2009

Good Morning,

The joke I’d like to share with you this morning
is about a redhead at a doctor’s office. I work
at a clinic that trains new doctors how to become
family doctors. When they are training, we call
them residents.

A cute redhead came in to see the resident physician
because her body hurt wherever she touched it.
“That’s impossible!” exclaimed the resident.
“Please show me what you mean.”

So the redhead took her finger, pushed on her
left shoulder and screamed. Then she pushed on
her elbow and screamed even more. She kept going,
pushing her knee and screaming, and pushing her
ankle, screaming again. Everywhere she touched
made her scream. You could hear her all the way
down the hall. One of the nurses, worried that
something was terribly wrong, barged into
the exam room.

The resident reassured the nurse, then excused
himself to go talk to his attending, his supervisor.

He worriedly described his interview with this patient
to his boss, and listened very carefully to what the older,
experienced physician said. Nodding, he walked
quickly back to the exam room that held his waiting

When he entered the room, he said to her, “You’re
not really a redhead, are you? “Well, no,” she
admitted. “I’m actually a blonde.”

“I thought so,”said the junior doctor. “I can tell
you exactly what is wrong with you.
Your finger is broken.”

Warm Regards, and enjoy your day,

Dr. Louise


Copyright © 2009 Louise Achey