Advice for patients

Articles and advice for patients around drugs, their supply, prescriptions and pharmacy related topics.

  • Ranitidine and cancer. What is the risk?
    Advice for patients,  Pharmacy insights

    Ranitidine and cancer

    Ranitidine is a commonly prescribed medication used mainly for the treatment of acid reflux and stomach ulcers. At a lower dose of 75mg per tablet, ranitidine can be purchased from a pharmacy or supermarkets. Higher-strength of ranitidine tablets (150mg and 300mg) are prescription only medication (POM). Global market for ranitidine has been in turmoil last month, when firstly The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recalled number of products containing ranitidine (including branded Zantac) and shortly afterward, in UK, The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) recalled number of products due to possible contamination with N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which has genotoxic and carcinogenic potential (a substance that could possibly cause…

  • 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.

  • Advice for patients

    Creams to reduce bruising

    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. Nelsons Arnicare Arnica cream and Hirudoid cream can be used to help with bruising.

  • Nytol liquid
    Advice for patients

    What is Nytol liquid?

    Recently launched Nytol liquid offers easy to swallow formulation containing a sedative antihistamine, diphenhydramine hydrochloride. Although liquid preparations containing diphenhydramine hydrochloride can be bought already (cough syrups), Nytol oral solution is the only product which contains diphenhydramine and is licensed as an antihistamine and sleep aid product.

  • 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 can be obtained from a pharmacy via NHS 111 service
    Advice for patients

    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 some pharmacies under 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. NUMSAS is a pilot scheme, currently extended until the end of September 2019 provided by over 4000 pharmacies in UK.

  • Medication disposal
    Advice for patients

    Medication disposal

    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.

  • Numbing cream over the counter
    Advice for patients

    What numbing cream can I buy?

    Numbing creams such as Emla are 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 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. Numbing creams: the main active ingredients Numbing creams available from the pharmacy contain local anaesthetic as…

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

    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.

  • Where to get the morning after pill for free
    Advice for patients

    The morning after pill free of charge

    The morning after pill is a form of emergency contraception which can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or when other forms of contraception has failed, for example, a split condom. There are different routes of getting the morning after pill. In this post, I will cover the supply of the morning after pill free of charge.