Wednesday, July 18, 2018

“Z” Class Sleeping Medications and Their Alternatives

Based in Roanoke, Virginia, Ashok Pinnamaraju, PhD, guides Williamson Road Pharmacy, where he emphasizes customer-centered service. With a doctorate in pharmacy from Oregon State University, Dr. Ashok Pinnamaraju is knowledgeable about the full range of medications his retail location stocks.

There are several classes of drugs available for insomnia and other sleep disorders, including the “Z” sedative-hypnotics, which work as agonists and facilitators of the GABAA receptors, which inhabit the central nervous system and are linked with brain activity. 

Among the first-line drugs in this class are zaleplon (Sonata), zolpidem (Intermezzo, Ambien), and eszopiclone (Lunesta). One thing to be aware of with these controlled substances is that there are dependency risks, so they should be taken with caution. Potential side effects include residual drowsiness and dizziness the next day, as well as vivid dreams and parasomnias.

By contrast, benzodiazepines do not last as long and are accompanied by fewer “hangover” symptoms the next day. However, they, too, must be taken with caution, as their binding to GABAA receptors is less selective and dependence is a serious issue. For many people, melatonin, which occurs naturally as a hormone, is a less disruptive alternative that also has uses in fighting jet lag.

Friday, June 29, 2018

APhA Recommends Pharmacists Provide Sunscreen Guidance

The recipient of a PhD in pharmacy from Oregon State University, Ashok Pinnamaraju guides Williamson Road Pharmacy in Virginia as owner and head pharmacist. To better serve his customers, Ashok Pinnamaraju provides guidance for both prescription and over-the-counter products.

Each summer millions of Americans hit the beach or the backyard to take advantage of the sunshine. However, sun exposure can cause a number of health complications, from cosmetic issues such as wrinkles and age spots to life-threatening diseases such as skin cancer. In recent years, public health initiatives have stressed the importance of wearing sunscreen during outdoor activities, but studies have shown that many people do not understand how to choose the correct product for their needs.

As such, the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) recommends that pharmacists become familiar with different types of sunscreen and be prepared to provide guidance to customers. Pharmacists should be especially fluent with the current labeling schemes on sunscreen products, which can be confusing for customers. These labels, which are required by the FDA, should indicate the level of the skin protection factor (SPF) and whether the product is waterproof.

For most people, a waterproof sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 is the best choice. However, experts point out that each person is different, and these requirements can vary depending on the customer’s age and specific health concerns.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

APhA and FDA Warn of Fake Flu Cures

A pharmacist with over a decade of experience, Ashok Pinnamaraju is the owner of Williamson Road Pharmacy, an independent retail pharmacy in Roanoke, Virginia. Active in his field, Ashok Pinnamaraju belongs to the American Pharmacists Association (APhA).

Last March, the association echoed warnings from the US Food and Drug Administration about fraudulent influenza "cures." This past flu season was particularly rough, with a number of deaths reported from the illness. Attempting to capitalize on the heightened public concern, scammers have taken to marketing over-the-counter products that they say will cure or prevent influenza, even though the FDA has approved no such drug for that purpose. 

The flu shot remains the most effective prevention tool available for the public to ward off influenza. For those who do contract the illness, it is important to remember that there are drugs available to treat symptoms, such as fever, but not to outright cure the condition.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Future Facing the US Pharmaceutical Industry

Ashok Pinnamaraju is a well established Roanoke, Virginia, pharmacy owner who guides operations at Williamson Road Pharmacy. Focused on providing quality services to prescription customers, Ashok Pinnamaraju keeps current on evolving industry trends

Americans spend the most per capita for prescription drugs worldwide, with the $1,112 per person spent annually significantly outpacing Japan, Canada, and Germany, all of which inhabit the $740 to $800 range. 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates that spending in this category will increase more than six percent annually through 2025. This is healthy for the pharmaceutical industry, but at the same time it places pressure on the federal budget, as some 40 percent of retail drugs consumed are covered through US government programs. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' figures for 2015 put retail prescription drug expenditures at $325 billion, which constituted approximately 10 percent of total national health care costs.

One complex equation that many people believe needs to be balanced encompasses health insurance premiums, R&D incentives for the creation of new drugs provided by 20 year patent terms, and the cost advantages offered by generics as they come online.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

NCPDP’s RxReconn Keeps Subscribers Up-To-Date on New Legislation

A dedicated pharmacist with more than a decade of experience, Ashok Pinnamaraju is the owner and pharmacist at Williamson Road Pharmacy in Virginia. In this capacity, he oversees all operations at his pharmacy and ensures customer care remains a top priority. Active within his professional community, Ashok Pinnamaraju belongs to such organizations as the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP).

As part of its efforts to promote health care standards and improve outcomes, NCPDP offers several products and services designed to improve pharmacy operations. One such product is RxReconn.

Powered by the leading Government Relationship Management System, FiscalNote, RxReconn provides subscribers with real-time updates of issues relating to the industry. The tracking tool compiles all federal and state regulatory and legislative activity relating to such topics as biosimilars, ePrescribing, mail-order pharmacy, and off-label drug use.

To ensure subscribers receive information pertinent to their business, RxReconn allows individuals to customize the reporting tool. Custom summaries and legislative reports can be created and exported through the tool, and subscribers can keep track of upcoming results and hearings related to the topics they select. Meanwhile, FiscalNote maintains a legislative outlook tool that subscribers can access, and RxReconn maintains an interactive advocacy map.

Subscribers to RxReconn are also given access to the tool’s legislative database. Bill number or keyword can be used to search for bills, and professionals have the ability to search legislative trends on social media. Further, NCPDP provides subscribers with weekly updates on the specific topics selected by each individual.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Increasing the Speed of a Tennis Serve

A pharmacist with over a decade of experience, Ashok Pinnamaraju leads Williamson Road Pharmacy as its owner and pharmacist. When he’s not busy overseeing the concern and serving his customers, Ashok Pinnamaraju enjoys playing tennis.

Regardless of a tennis player’s accuracy or skill, his or her overall game can be hugely impacted by the speed of his or her serve. The following are a few ways that players can increase the speed of their service:

- Change grip. By far the best grip for increasing serving speed, the continental grip can accommodate several types of serves and is frequently used by players who are known to have a powerful serve. Further, players should try loosening their grip to allow their racket to move more freely as they swing it forward.

- Experiment with wind-ups. Depending on the wind-up players choose, the tennis ball may move in different ways. Classic wind-ups, which involve bringing the racket down and back, are more standard and allow players to move more smoothly. However, shorter wind-ups, which bring the racket up and back, result in a more powerful serve.

- Check point of contact. This is the most basic component of the tennis serve. While players can alter their grip and wind-up, having a poor point of contact dramatically decreases a serve’s speed. Ideally, players are fully extended when the ball touches the racket face to ensure their body generates as much power as possible.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Improving Customer Service at Pharmacies

The owner and pharmacist of Williamson Road Pharmacy in Virginia, Ashok Pinnamaraju, possesses more than a decade of experience in the field. He began his career as a pharmacist at Walgreens and later served as the owner of Lexcare Pharmacy. Throughout his career, Ashok Pinnamaraju has maintained a strong commitment to customer service and both he and his company have a reputation for providing superior patient care.

Good customer service plays an essential role in maintaining and increasing customer satisfaction and retention for pharmacies. Fortunately, there are several simple ways to ensure pharmacy customers receive top-quality service. Below are a few examples:

- Train employees well. Although many pharmacy owners try hiring employees with great people skills, these skills still need development through ongoing training. All pharmacy employees should receive routine training to maintain standards of positive and friendly behavior toward customers.

- Listen. Few things infuriate customers as much as feeling ignored. Combat this by giving customers a chance to share their feelings or express concerns. Further, pharmacies can request feedback from customers about what they should improve and interact with their customers through social media.

- Take responsibility. Taking responsibility for a mistake allows pharmacies to demonstrate that they value their customers. Any problems or complaints should be handled quickly, and customers should receive a personal notice if their prescription is delayed. Apology notes, small discounts, and gift cards also show customer appreciation following an issue.

- Go the extra mile. Offering extra services can help a pharmacy stand out from the competition and demonstrate customer value. Whether a pharmacy special orders a product or home delivers prescriptions to a customer without a car, customers notice the extra effort and are more likely to return.