Ask a Pharmacist: Evaluating the Most Prescribed Medications for Heart Conditions

Many medical conditions can impact the health of your heart. These conditions may be treated with strict diet and exercise, through surgical techniques, and frequently, through the use of medications. In order to control this fast-growing problem, physicians have a wide range of medications available to prescribe. Sometimes a single drug is all that is necessary, but more often, a combination of drugs is used to achieve optimal therapeutic results.

Ken Hammond, pharmacist and Community Cares Rx CEO, talks about the different types of heart medications prescribed for different heart conditions.

Rapid Heart Rates

“A rapid heart rate may be a sign the heart is not functioning efficiently.  If diagnosed, a class of drugs called ‘beta blockers’ are often used to regulate the heart rate. These drugs help slow the heart rate, allowing it to pump more efficiently. Some of the more commonly prescribed drugs in this class are Carvedilol (Coreg) and Metoprolol (Lopressor). This class of drugs has been used for decades, and come in a variety of strengths and dosage forms — and most are available generically at lower cost.”

Anti-Arrhythmic Medications

“Another condition impacting heart rhythms is called Atrial Fibrillation, which is frequently referred to as AFib. AFib is a rapid and irregular heart rate which often exhibits no symptoms although fainting, lightheadedness and even chest pain may occur. It is a serious condition, which, left untreated can result in stroke, dementia, or heart failure.”

“The greatest risk from AFib is the formation of blood clots. Physicians will generally use a combination of medications to maximize control, often using anti-arrhythmic drugs like verapamil and diltiazem. These drugs are in a class of drugs called calcium channel blockers.”

Blood-Thinners

“In addition, blood thinners or anticoagulants will be prescribed to further reduce the risk of clots.  Aspirin may be the initial choice, but newer medications like Xarelto or Eliquis are now commonly prescribed. These anticoagulants slow the body’s clotting process, lowering the chances of clot formation.”

Talk to Your Doctor

Like all medications, these drugs have potential side effects. Physicians may need to try a variety of combinations to find the one that works best for an individual. Most of these drugs are available in once-daily dosage forms, which make them easier to remember to take.

With the Community Cares Rx Pharmacy Discount Card, you can find your heart medications for up to 70% off, and the card is completely free. Print your free discount card today and start saving.

ShopRite teams with PBM for free glucose screenings

Paramount Rx said Tuesday that at select ShopRite supermarkets, the retailer’s registered dietitians will assist with the glucose tests and share tips with customers to help prevent and treat diabetes. The screenings are designed to help individuals and families identify diabetes risk factors and mitigate the potential medical expenses of diabetes-related health care.

“ShopRite is committed to improving total health and wellness,” Natalie Menza, manager of health and wellness at ShopRite, said in a statement. “Community events like these give us the unique opportunity to raise awareness and help our customers make informed, educated lifestyle choices when it comes to their preventing and treating diseases such as diabetes.”

ShopRite is offering the free glucose screenings at stores in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

Paramount Rx reported that more than 29 million Americans have diabetes, representing nearly 10% of the population, based on data from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. One in four of these people are undiagnosed and don’t seek out medical treatment, while another 86 million people over age 20 are prediabetic.

“Diabetes is a pervasive disease, but a simple blood glucose test can provide crucial information to at-risk individuals,” stated Ken Hammond, chief executive officer of Paramount Rx. “Together with ShopRite, we want to give local residents access to the expertise and resources they need to take care of themselves and their families.”

ShopRite provides customers with a range health and wellness offerings, including an assortment of better-for-you products, flu shots, blood pressure monitoring stations and in-store dietitians in many locations. The chain, part of Wakefern Food Corp., also has more than 220 pharmacies in its 260-plus supermarkets.

Tips to Save Money on Your Prescriptions in 2017

As the New Year approaches, planning a budget for the year is a top priority for many. It’s important to include prescription costs while creating your budget. There are many ways to ensure you are getting the best possible prices on your medications in 2017 -- here are a few that can be instrumental in saving you money.

Take Advantage of Preventive Care Screenings

Routinely taking advantage of preventive screenings such as mammograms, glucose screenings, vaccines, and colonoscopies can help ensure that any major health problems are caught as early as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment can reduce your chances of having to take multiple medications throughout the year.

Consider Generic Medications

Choosing generic medications can save you 80-85 percent compared to brand name medications. According to the FDA, “Generic drugs are important options that allow greater access to health care for all Americans. They are copies of brand-name drugs and are the same as those brand name drugs in dosage form, safety, strength, route of administration, quality, performance characteristics and intended use.”

 “Health care professionals and consumers can be assured that FDA approved generic drug products have met the same rigid standards as the innovator drug. All generic drugs approved by FDA have the same high quality, strength, purity and stability as brand-name drugs. And, the generic manufacturing, packaging, and testing sites must pass the same quality standards as those of brand name drugs.”

Properly Store Your Medications

Did you know the way you store your prescriptions can have an effect on their shelf life? For example, storing medications in a bathroom is actually harmful to your medications, due to the heat and humidity. Check out our blog for ways to properly store your medications to maximize their shelf life and reduce replacement costs.

Use Community Cares Rx’s Pharmacy Discount Card

Our pharmacy discount card can save you up to 20 percent on brand name medications and up to 70 percent on generic medications. It’s the best way to save extra money on your regular prescriptions and an easy, resourceful way to save money in 2017.

For more information about our pharmacy discount card, contact us and print our free card today.