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[News Column] Clinical Trial Column Article: 'Clinical Trials on Hepatitis B Medications'

10/04/2024

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[News Column] Clinical Trial Column Article: 'Clinical Trials on Hepatitis B Medications'

10/04/2024

[News Column] Clinical Trial Column Article: 'Phase I Clinical Trials: From Experimentation to Clinical Practice'

27/03/2024

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[News Column] Clinical Trial Column Article: 'Phase I Clinical Trials: From Experimentation to Clinical Practice'

27/03/2024

[News Column] Clinical trial column articles will be featured in am730 for six consecutive weeks!

20/03/2024

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[News Column] Clinical trial column articles will be featured in am730 for six consecutive weeks!

20/03/2024

[Pharma Tips] Can I purchase weight loss products without any consultation?

12/02/2024

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[Pharma Tips] Can I purchase weight loss products without any consultation?

12/02/2024

[Pharma Tips] Can I take the expired medicine?

08/09/2023

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[Pharma Tips] Can I take the expired medicine?

08/09/2023

When we are ill, we will usually purchase a whole box of over-the-counter medicine home. After taking a few doses and upon recovery, we will stop the medication and keep the excess stock home to reduce wastage. However, it is seldom for us finish the whole box so the medicine may expire at last. Are expired drugs still safe to take?

Although the effects of expired medicine on human body are uncertain, taking them can be risky. The strength of expired drugs may decrease or worse, they might decompose into harmful substances. Taking expired drugs may delay the proper treatment and aggravate the illnesses.

Read the expiry date every time before taking a drug. Expired ones should be disposed at once. Even if the drug is not expired yet, check if there is any unusual colour, shape and odor. If in doubt, you should never take risk and instead, throw the medicine away.

 

[Pharma Tips] Can I take medicine during pregnancy?

08/08/2023

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[Pharma Tips] Can I take medicine during pregnancy?

08/08/2023

Reports on birth defects due to taking the medicines by mistake by pregnant women often appeared on the media. That is why a number of pregnant women avoid taking any kind of medication even if they are ill, as they are in fear of their effects on the fetus. Is it still correct in this era with well-developed modern medicine?

Women with serious or chronic diseases, such as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure and seizure, might need to continue taking the prescribed medicines as usual. That is because the health risks of stopping medication might be higher than that of taking medication during pregnancy.

Although some medicines are safe to use during pregnancy, it is true that some will have harmful effects on the fetus. A drug’s effect on the fetus is determined mainly by drug potency, dosage, duration of drug exposure, and placental permeability, etc. Never take the over-the-counter medication or drugs given by others on your own without getting prior professional advice. Check the drug label to learn about the possible risks for pregnant women. There are some medicines which have proved to cause birth defects or effects on the fetus, such as:

  • Cancer drugs such as thalidomide and methotrexate
  • Antibiotics such as tetracycline and streptomycin
  • ACE inhibitors which lower blood pressure
  • Anticoagulant medicines such as warfarin
  • Seizure drugs such as phenytoin and phenobarbitone
  • Acne medicines containing isotretinoin

Be extra careful when taking medication during pregnancy. No need to worry too much about drugs. Do not be afraid to see the doctor before it is too late which might have a more serious effect on the fetus. Inform your doctor of the gestational age and the doctor will give you advice on the safe use of medicine.

 

[Pharma Tips] Why am I getting sunburn even after applying sunscreen?

08/07/2023

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[Pharma Tips] Why am I getting sunburn even after applying sunscreen?

08/07/2023

Walking on the streets under the scorching heat of the sun, the skin burns easily. People will take actions to protect themselves from sunburn and lower the risks of getting skin cancer on days when the UV index is high. However, why are we still getting sunburn even when adequate protective measures are taken? Do not blame your sunblock because the medication you took may be the culprit!

Taking photosensitive drugs will make your skin more sensitive and vulnerable to sunburn. This is what we called “photosensitivity”. UV radiation in sunlight reacts with the photosensitive drug to produce chemicals harmful to the skin cells, causing inflammatory reactions. Symptoms include itching, redness, pain and rash. Since the symptoms are similar to that of eczema, most do not realize that it is photosensitivity reaction. Examples of medicines that can cause photosensitivity reaction include:

  • Cancer drugs such as thalidomide and methotrexate
  • Antibiotics such as levofloxacin and ciprofloxacin
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as naproxen and piroxicam
  • Isotretinoins
  • Diuretics such as furosemide and hydrochlorothiazide

This is not a complete list. There are numerous kinds of photosensitive medicines and not every person who uses these medicines has a reaction. If you notice that your skin is more sensitive to the sun after started on certain medication, do not stop taking it suddenly. Instead, talk to your doctor for further assessment. You can also protect your skin by wearing sun-protective clothing, carrying an umbrella or avoid going out when the UV light is the strongest.

 

[Pharma Tips] Which is better, injection or oral medication?

08/06/2023

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[Pharma Tips] Which is better, injection or oral medication?

08/06/2023

When we were young, we were often educated by our parents that an injection is better than oral medication as it is more effective in curing the illness. The younger we could only suffer the pain of injection. Why doesn’t the doctor give us injection as often as before after we grow up?

Oral medication and injection are two different methods of administration. They have their own pros and cons. Oral medications are the most economical and convenient way of administration. Taking the medicine orally is convenient and patients can simply take it at home. Injection usually acts faster on bodies and has a shorter induction period. For people who have trouble swallowing pills, injection is the only option. Medicines like insulin is a protein which will be digested in our stomach so it cannot be orally administered. It is usually administered by subcutaneous injection.  The injectable antipsychotic drugs have long-lasting effects and the patients only need to take them once in a few weeks. It is ideal for patients who have difficulties in following the dosing schedule and they can still keep up with the treatment.

Is injection or oral medication better? There is no absolute answer to this question. It depends on the drug and also the conditions of the patient. Follow the instructions of the doctor and choose the safest way will do.

 

[Pharma Tips] Can the blending of Western and traditional Chinese medicine boost treatment?

08/05/2023

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[Pharma Tips] Can the blending of Western and traditional Chinese medicine boost treatment?

08/05/2023

Hong Kong is a city where the cultures of east and west meet. A lot of people will combine both traditional Chinese and western treatments when they are ill. Is this synergistic or antagonistic?

Although Chinese medicine might seem milder, the fact is all of them have their active ingredients and they might react with the chemicals in the western medicine. Some said they should be taken at least two hours apart. However, if the effect is long-lasting, two hours might not be sufficient to avoid the drug interactions.

The best way is to consult your doctor before deciding on combining the two kinds of treatment. No matter such method is strengthening or weakening the efficacy, they will both increase the burden of your body especially the liver. Never make the decision on your own but seek professional advice first.

 

[Pharma Tips] What is drug allergy?

08/04/2023

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[Pharma Tips] What is drug allergy?

08/04/2023

Doctors always ask if the patient has drug allergies during medical consultation. Such information will be clearly written on the medical history. Drug allergy is not uncommon and its consequences can be disastrous so do not neglect its importance.

Drug allergy is an immune response when your immune system reacts to a certain type of medicine. The drug type and symptoms vary from person to person. Hence, all medications are capable of inducing an allergy. You may not experience allergic symptoms the first time you take a drug but it might happen the next time. Common symptoms include skin rash, swollen lips, wheezing, etc. Stop the medication immediately and seek doctor’s advice if any of allergic reactions appear.

Some will mix up drug allergy with side effect. Drug allergy is related to the health conditions of individuals. It is unpreventable and unpredictable. What we can do is to avoid it from happening again after we discover it. Side effect is an undesirable effect occurs in addition to the desired therapeutic effect of a drug. It is usually related to the dosage and can be found out by pharmacology and clinical research.