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From the pharmacy.

* Tablet Has Special Coating: To M.C., San Jose, CA: Dynacirc CR is a drug prescribed to lower blood pressure. Its special coating, or membrane, slowly releases the active ingredient over a 24-hour period. The membrane itself does not dissolve and is eventually excreted in your feces. Enteric-coated aspirin is different. The entire tablet does melt away--but not in your stomach, as is the case with regular aspirin, Enteric-coated aspirin dissolves in the intestine to avoid problems with an upset stomach.

* More On Inhaled Insulin: Exubera--the first inhaled insulin approved by the FDA--is an important step in drug delivery development. The novel drug is a short-acting insulin. As a result, diabetics who also require long-acting insulin will still need to inject that type of insulin. Exubera is not indicated for people who smoke, start smoking while on the drug, or have quit smoking in the past six months. In addition, people with poorly controlled asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or emphysema are not candidates for the drug. Using the inhaler device involves several steps. Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist to walk you through the process and always keep the instruction packet on hand.

* RLS: To C.H., Stockton, Missouri: What works for one patient with restless legs syndrome (RLS) may not help another. Requip is FDA-approved for treating RLS. Clonazepam, used to treat seizures and anxiety, also helps control RLS symptoms and is generally safe when used as directed. Side effects of the drug include drowsiness, increased salivation, and ataxia (problems with coordination). Clonazepam is excreted through the kidneys and doesn't harm the liver. Patients should talk to their doctor before stopping the drug. Nonpharmaceutical options to ease RLS symptoms include: reduce alcohol and caffeine consumption (especially later in the evening), stop smoking, and increase your activity level. Also, ask your doctor to test your blood iron levels. Low iron can worsen this condition.

* Storing Diabetic Drugs: Patients often ask how to store their insulin or diabetic products. Here are some general recommendations: store unopened insulin vials in the refrigerator. Opened vials of regular insulin can be refrigerated or kept at room temperature. In either case, however, discard the product after four weeks, or six weeks for Levemir. Store insulin pens at room temperature after placing them in the delivery device. Humulin and Humalog mixes are good for ten days after first use; NPH and Novolog for 14 days; and Humalog, Novolog, Apidra, and Lantus for 28 days. Refrigerate Byetta, a medicine that helps treat diabetes in a different way than insulin. In case you forget to put it away or are traveling, use a new pen if the product is left at room temperature for more than six days in one month.

Editor's Note: Pharmacists are an integral, and sometimes untapped, part of the healthcare maintenance team. If you have a question about medications, write to: Cara Acklin, Pharm.D.; From the Pharmacy; 1100 Waterway Blvd.; Indianapolis, IN 46202
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Title Annotation:tablet coatings, inhaled insulin, restless legs syndrome
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2006
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