Thursday, April 17, 2008

Biologists Discover Drug to Extend Lifespan

Most people know that eating a healthy, low-calorie diet is not only good for your general well being, but it can also extend your lifespan significantly. Unfortunately, to feel the benefits of any diet you have to stick with it, and potentially miss out on a lot of temping foods. So some diligent biologists at the University of Washington have discovered a way for us to reap the reward without the work. They’ve linked restrictive diets with producing mutated ribsomes that lead to longer lifespans, and a drug called diazaborine that can artificially trigger the same effects.

Don’t let that word mutation scare you- you’re not going to grow a third arm from eating a restrictive diet. It seems your body may perform a change in ribosomal units naturally in response to a restrictive diet. In testing performed in yeast cells, the biologists found that this kind of diet led to decreased signaling from an enzyme known as TOR. This enzyme is found in every cell in our bodies (and apparently in a yeast’s, too) and it controls many processes in our cells. When signaling is reduced, protein production rate in the cell is also reduced.

By continuing to study yeasts with lower protein production, the biologists discovered that a mutation of the large ribosomal units (where proteins are produced) was present in all the long-lived yeasts.

They also found another interesting behavior. While the mutated ribosomes are producing proteins less efficiently, there was one protein whose production was not affected at all, and in some cases was actually increased. To see if this protein, named Gcn4, was linked to longevity, researchers tested the lifespan of yeast cells with more or less Gcn4 content. In every case, the Gcn4-rich cells lived longer- up to 50% longer.

While humans don’t have the Gcn4 protein, we do have related proteins that function in the same manner, and the hope is that this ribosomal mutation can be repeated in our cells as well.

Don’t expect to see any prescriptions for diazaborine being handed out soon- it seems there are still some bad side effects (isn’t that always the case?) related to TOR manipulation, but this discovery is bringing us one step closer to living forever.

See the original article here:

I can see it now. Cash price will rival AIDS medications, and good luck finding an insurance company that'll cover it. It'll be as "non-essential" as Viagra.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Feeling farty?

I filled a script today that was written for "farty" ibuprofen.

As many times as I looked at what should have been #40 (fourty), all I could see was #40 (farty)

My pharmacist and I got a good laugh out of it. We decided the MD must have had an accent.

"Ah wan 'em tah git farty uh dem pills"

Monday, April 7, 2008

I don't like playing these games

Why is it such a struggle to get information out of people? For some reason, it seems to be more prevalent with the patients coming through the Drive-Thru or calling on the phone, but you'll get the occasional walk-in who doesn't know his own name, address, or for that matter what he is even doing there. He came to refill...something...but what?!

My job is not to play 20 questions with your sorry stupid self. If you are going to initiate a phone call or drive-thru encounter, you best come prepared. Because if you don't bring a bottle or name of your medication or something, and give me this stupid look like I'm supposed to telepathically know which one you need, I'm going to shrug and wish you better luck next time. Go back home and call me when you find the bottle, k?

One instance happened as such yesterday. A well-dressed black man, most likely coming from church, and approaches my drive-thru in his shiny car and rings the bell. I ask him how I can help him, to which he replies he is picking up a script. I search his name, and alas, nothing is filled or in the process of being filled. So I instead pull up his profile while asking him if he was expecting something to be called in, or had he dropped it off?

He informs me that he called it in "like a week and a half ago". Ah-hah. I politely inform him, we only keep prescriptions sitting unclaimed in our pharmacy for 7 days, but that if he knew what he needed, I could refill it again. Did he know? No, of course not.

Do you know the name? No. Do you have a bottle with you? No. Do you know what you're taking it for? Nope. At this point, I gave him this wide-eyed look and held my hands out in a futile gesture. Do you know what letter it starts with? And would you believe, he rolls his eyes, shrugs, and responds "no", with a "no, should I?" inflection. I stopped, I just freakin' stopped, and told him, he would need to somehow identify what he needed before I could fill anything. He huffs, all exaggerated like, "I guess I'll have to go home and call it in again!" I gleefully remind him as he is driving off, "Alright, but we'll only hold it for 7 days!"


Generally, I'll only remember you if:
  1. you have a cool first and/or last name
  2. you're one of "those" customers, trying to get your controls early again
  3. you made an ass of yourself at some point (i.e. threw a fit, bitched, harassed us)
  4. I fill an arseload of prescriptions for you because you're decrepitly old and your body is starting to fail you
If you don't fall into that category (most don't) I DON'T KNOW WHO YOU ARE. I don't remember names very well as it is (but I'll remember you by the drug you're dropping off) and I certainly as hell don't recognize your voice on the phone. So do not call me and say simply, "Hay, is mah scripshun reddy??"

Even if I pause for a moment, thinking they'll thrust a name at me eventually, they just sit there instead. "HALLO??? IS U DERE? IS IT REDDY? WUT IT CAWST?" They're completely oblivious to the fact that I'm not actually a psychic. I have to drag your name out of you with a "And who am I speaking to?".

Occasionally, there's a caller who has a question and/or problem. So this is how they introduce it to you:

Me: Hi, thanks for calling Megapharmacy, Me speaking, how can I help you?
Stupid: Hai I jus gat mah stuff and these pills is blue and I think yah gave me deh rong pills can ah bring em back I jus left and anyway ah need anuddah refill cuz I fohgot mah pressure pills an an can u refill mah son's inhaler too k I'll be dere in leik 10 minutes k BAI *click*
Me: WHO ARE YOU?!?@?#@#@??!!


If you're dropping off or picking up for someone else, you had better know something about them. If you're dropping off, I want the patient's (not YOURS, dummy!) date of birth and the patient's (NOT YOURS) telephone number. If you're dropping off a script for someone who has never been to this pharmacy before, you better know their address, drug allergy and health condition information, and any insurance information. If you don't, you better get to callin'. No, I will not call them. No, I will not talk to them on your dirty-ass cellphone.

If for some reason you can't manage the last bit of information (such as insurance), be aware that you had better find it out by the time you get back to pick it up, or you'll be paying the cash price and I won't bat an eye. There is no magical pharmacy database where I type in your name and get all of your insurance information, voilá!

If you're picking up for someone, I don't care what their relation is to you. I'm going to ask your for their address. If you fail to give me that information, then you're going to need to give me either their date of birth, or their telephone number(that matches the one I have). "I don't know, its for my mom/uncle/grandma/cousin/neighbor" is not an acceptable answer. You better get to callin'. I can't sell it to you otherwise.

I ain't your mama. I will not hold your hand and help you through every little step in life. You provide me with the information, and I will perform the service of filling your medications. I'm not going to sit there and try to guess what you want because I'm asking you if you're referring to your "percocet" script when in fact you're actually talking about your "indomethacin", but instead keep referring to it as "percocet" and it takes me 20 minutes to unravel this shit. And then you go, YEAH, INDOMETHACIN!

If you don't know what you're taking or why you're taking it, or what it's for, you are a fucking idiot.

What to expect

First, let me introduce myself. I'm a senior CPhT at a widely-known chain retail pharmacy. I'm currently also in an undergraduate pre-medicine curriculum.

Pharmacy (retail at least) seems to be one of those professions that breeds a lot of frustration among its employees. And you only need to spend one full shift in a steady pharmacy to see why. Even in the "best" of areas, retail pharmacies without fail attract some of the most STUPID people in existence.

You think I'm exaggerating. "Oh, quit whining, it can't be that bad."

Oh please, just come and see for yourself. You don't even have to participate, you can just stand there and watch. I promise by the end, you'll be tearing your hair out.

Well, the best way to deal with this insurmountable stupidity is to talk about said annoying patients behind their backs. It's the next best thing to saying it to their face- but you don't get fired! (hopefully--unless they overhear you---oops!!)

In addition to morons, pharmacies also attract people on serious behavioral medications (obviously), who never cease to provide entertainment. You just can't make those stories up. You know 'em. The woman coming up to the counter with feces all over her hands, attempting to buy some mundane items with cash, and you're wishing BAD you had a set of latex gloves nearby. The black man in the parking lot shouting, "HAIL THE KKK! HAIL HITLER!" with his fist in the air, and then talks to a voice only he can hear.

Yes, this is what you will find here. Stories, lots and lots of stories. I want other people to see the stupidity, laugh, and maybe worry about the state of humanity a little.

All names and necessary specifics will be altered to preserve HIPAA laws, of course! I like my job, it gets me paid!

And if for some reason, you're reading through these accounts, and see something familiar- that might be about you- then I regret to inform you, you must be a FUCKING IDIOT.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Singulair makes you go cRaaAaZzzY!

After I saw a clip on the news about singulair being connected with increased depression and/or suicide, all I could think was, DAMN IT! Here comes another medication guide that we're gonna have to hand out.

Side effects may include dizziness, drowsiness, abdominal pain, rash, and SUICIDE!!!