Advice for patients

Articles and advice for patients around conditions and their treatment.

  • Chilblains treatment
    Advice for patients

    Chilblains treatment at home? No problem.

    Chilblains is a condition characterised by painful, itchy and red swellings of the skin, affecting mainly toes, fingers and ear, caused by exposure to cold, which causes narrowing of the blood vessels and consequently poor circulation. Chilblains is self-limiting condition meaning, it resolves itself without any treatment. Prolonged chilblains may require a GP intervention. Chilblains treatment may involve symptomatic management of pain and avoidance of cold and damp conditions to prevent further events of chilblains.

  • High blood pressure treatment with common drugs
    Advice for patients

    High Blood Pressure treatment with common drugs

    High blood pressure (hypertension) is a common condition affecting one-third of the UK population. It is estimated that more than 5.5 mln people in the UK live with undiagnosed high blood pressure (GOV.UK, 2017). When left untreated, high blood pressure (BP) increases the risk of getting a heart attack or stroke and/or other long term health conditions. This post focuses on high blood pressure treatment. The main drugs used in the treatment will be reviewed according to NICE guideline and prescribing popularity in the UK. 

  • Ranitidine cancer risk. Recall of ranitidine drug/
    Advice for patients,  Pharmacy insights

    Ranitidine Cancer RISK: why was ranitidine recalled?

    Ranitidine and cancer risk: a scary thought for many patients. Global market for ranitidine has been in turmoil in recent months, due to number of ranitidine recalls (including branded Zantac) by The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US and shortly afterward, in UK. The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) recalled number of ranitidine products due to possible contamination with N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which has genotoxic and carcinogenic potential, a substance that could possibly cause cancer. Ranitidine – cancer scare was born. Note: Ranitidine (the chemical) does not have carcinogenic potential, but NDMA, a contaminant, which was found in many ranitidine containing products (tablets). Ranitidine is a commonly…

  • Can you take paracetamol with ...
    Advice for patients

    Can you take paracetamol with … ?

    Paracetamol is one of the most commonly purchased over the counter medication. It is still one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the UK with more than 17mln items prescribed in the last 12 months (Sep ’18—Aug ’19), costing NHS over £46 mln (, 2019). I previously wrote a couple of posts on use of paracetamol and naproxen and paracetamol and ibuprofen. Can you take paracetamol with … covers concomitant use of paracetamol with other common drugs, purchased from the pharmacy or prescribed.

  • Creams to reduce bruising
    Advice for patients

    Creams to reduce bruising: what is the best cream?

    Bruises are mostly formed as a result of the injury, causing local skin discoloration. Generally, bruises do not require medical treatment and go on their own within a couple of weeks. A couple of creams to reduce bruising can be purchased over the counter and/or from the pharmacy, which possibly helps with bruising. In this post, I will review creams which contain Arnica, a popular herbal choice for bruises, and a Hirudoid cream, a pharmacy medication licensed for superficial bruising.

  • Cranberry juice UTI. What is the evidence for treatment and prevention.
    Advice for patients

    Cranberry juice and UTI

    Urinary tract infection (UTI) is a common infection which can affect the bladder, urethra or kidneys. UTI mostly experienced by women, however, men can also get it. UTI can be uncomfortable but usually goes on its own without any treatment. Depending on the symptoms or in certain situations patients need to see their GP to get appropriate antibiotic treatments. To learn more about UTI and when to see your GP go to the NHS website. This post will focus on the use of cranberry juice in UTI treatment and prevention. Why Cranberry juice in UTI? Use of cranberries in the treatment of bladder infections goes back hundreds of years ago to…

  • Emergency prescription
    Advice for patients

    How to get Emergency Prescription

    In one of my previous posts, I discussed requirements for patients to receive medication on the basis of an emergency supply. An emergency prescription can be obtained from a pharmacy under CPCS service (previously known as NHS Urgent Medicine Supply Advanced Service (NUMSAS) scheme). This service was created to reduce the burden on urgent and emergency care services such as walk in and out of hour centres. CPCS service was launched in September 2019, replacing NUMSAS service (pilot scheme) and at the same time extended to all pharmacies in the UK.

  • Medication disposal
    Advice for patients

    How to dispose medication safely

    Drugs are not ordinary items and with this, medication disposal should be done appropriately. In this post, I will summarise how to dispose of your medication safely, regardless of whether medication is expired or just unwanted. Remember: once medication left the pharmacy it cannot be reused as dispensing stock when brought back to the pharmacy, even if you never opened the box.

  • Review of best Skin numbing creams
    Advice for patients

    5 Best Skin Numbing Creams available over the counter

    Skin numbing creams such as Emla is licensed for topical anaesthesia before needle insertions for example before an injection, commonly used before children’s immunisations, or to numb the area before superficial skin procedures. Numbing creams became a popular choice for the off-license use as tattoo numbing creams. In this post, I will discuss over the counter availability of skin numbing creams and a numbing gel from the pharmacy, their age restrictions, and pricing. Always read patient information leaflet for detailed advice on methods of administration, special warnings, and other important information related to each numbing cream. 4 Best Skin Numbing Creams available over the counter includes the list of the…

  • Sumatriptan over the counter can be used for treatment of acute migraines
    Advice for patients

    How to get Sumatriptan Over The Counter

    When a migraine happens,  many patients reach for common analgesics such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, or combination products containing codeine such as co-codamol or Migraleve. Sumatriptan is a medication that can be used to relieve an acute migraine attack. Sumatriptan works differently to analgesics. In this post, I will discuss the mechanism of action, suitability & requirements for the supply and possible side effects of sumatriptan over the counter.