September 1st 2020

It’s summer and hay fever season is in full swing. Hay fever (allergic rhinitis) is an allergic reaction to pollen and symptoms include sneezing and coughing; a runny or blocked nose; itchy, red or watery eyes; an itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears; pain around your temples and forehead; headache; earache and feeling tired. People with asthma can experience additional symptoms…

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September 1st 2020

All drugs have a scientific name based on its organic chemistry. And even though morphine can be written simply as C17H19NO3, to also accurately describe its structure it needs to go by (4R,4aR,7S,7aR,12bS)-3-Methyl-2,3,4,4a,7,7a-hexahydro-1H-4,12-methanobenzofuro[3,2-e]isoquinoline-7,9-diol which by any standards is a bit of a mouthful. For this reason, drugs are given a shorter ‘generic’ name. Drugs of a similar class share the same stem, so for example a benzodiazepine will have the ending -azepam (clonazepam, diazepam, lorazepam)…

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September 1st 2020

Motilin is a naturally occurring hormone secreted by the small intestine. It increases gastro-intestinal motility and peristalsis and accelerates gastric emptying. It functions mainly between meals and in doing so prepares the gut for the next meal. Erythromycin happens to be a motilin agonist – working in the same way as the hormone – so can be used when metoclopramide or other prokinetics are unsuitable. It is effective in about half of cases, and concerns about the development of bacterial resistance…

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September 1st 2020

The MHRA has decided that stimulant laxatives can be inappropriately used by people wanting to lose weight – especially those who may have an eating disorder. In future, products such as Senna and Bisacodyl will sold in small pack sizes only and to people over 18…

Guy’s and St Thomas’ manufacturing unit has now ceased supply of 2% lidocaine in Lutrol gel and it is now distributed by Oxford Health – the NHS specials and wholesale supplier…

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September 1st 2020

For many years the NHS has struggled to fulfil the NHS Out of Hours (OOH) standards that stated ‘patients should be able to access the medicines they need at the time and place of the OOH consultation’. The Drug Tariff, which determines the list of products which can be prescribed on FP10 and their re-imbursement costs, still includes a rather dated ‘Out of Hours national formulary’ which categorises a wide range of medications for emergencies which include palliative care…

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September 1st 2020

The pandemic has made it difficult for hospices to arrange training and there has been less demand for Ashtons pharmacists to present seminars at sites. Consequently, Ashtons is now able to make seminar presentations available via online platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, meaning that all available staff with online access can participate in the training, without having to meet up in a room together…

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September 1st 2020

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be a national drive to increase the uptake of flu vaccinations, to reduce pressure on the NHS. Healthcare staff and people with certain health risk factors are the current focus for flu vaccination and this list may be expanded to include other people at risk. Ashtons have placed advance orders of the flu vaccine with suppliers for the 2020/21 winter season, but will endeavour to obtain further quantities if there is a demand…

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September 1st 2020

Ashtons have commenced supplying all fridge lines in the environmentally friendly fridge boxes in place of the polystyrene boxes previously used. The replacement fridge boxes are manufactured from wood pulp, together with the insulation inserts, and are therefore biodegradable and, being a paper-based product, fully recyclable. The coolant packs, which are used to keep the fridge box between 2°C and 8°C, are made from a low-density polyethylene (LDPE 4) pouch. The contents of the coolant pack consist of an aqueous (water-based) gel…

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August 18th 2020

The concerns presented by COVID-19, and the need to prevent its spread within hospitals, has forced many customers to put critical face-to-face life support and mandatory training on hold. The balancing act now is keeping up with statutory and mandatory requirements while simultaneously adhering to social distancing, restrictions on the gathering of groups and keeping everyone safe. While the HSE did allow extension times on the expiry of first aid certificates, the first aid training industry in England is confident that enough courses…

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March 30th 2020

We are currently living in extraordinary times, but please rest assured we are doing all that we can to adapt to the situation, maintain safety among our employees and ensure our clients still receive the same high quality level of support they have come to expect. Any interruption to our services, including the supply of medication, medical products and clinical advice, could increase patient safety risks. We are committed to providing continuity for our clients, while also ensuring that the health of our employees and their families remains a top priority…

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