Skip to content

UTIs and compliance packaging discussed at Health and Wellness Expo

Unity pharmacist touches on compliance packaging and urinary tract infections to seniors.
Pharmacist Jaycie McCarthy shows a blister pack and explains how it can help people take their medications regularly and at the right times of day. McCarthy was one of the presenters at the Parkview Place Health and Wellness Expo, March 23.

UNITY -- Jaycie McCarthy, pharmacist with Delta Co-op, was one of the presenters at the Health and Wellness Expo hosted at Parkview Place in Unity, March 23. McCarthy started the expo off first thing in the morning with a double-pronged presentation – “understanding UTIs” and “compliance packaging.”

UTIs (urinary tract infections) include infections of the bladder, uretha, ureter and the kidneys, and can lead to hospitalization if left untreated. McCarthy gave details of symptoms and noted that sometimes in elderly patients, symptoms may be not what you expect but rather could include dizziness and confusion.

Medications and when a pharmacist can prescribe them, versus having to go to a doctor, were discussed. McCarthy stressed the importance of always finishing antibiotic medication as prescribed. She said when people, because they are feeling better, don’t take the last two days of the prescription, that leaves the stronger bacteria intact and allows them to continue to grow.

Symptoms combined with any pain in the back or flank necessitate a doctor visit right away as it may be indicative of a kidney infection which requires different medications and takes much longer to treat.

In response to a question from someone in the audience, McCarthy said there is some limited evidence that cranberry juice and pills may help prevent UTIs, but cranberry is not a treatment. Once symptoms appear, antibiotics are necessary.

McCarthy then moved on to the topic of compliance packaging and provided some surprizing statistics.

Did you know 20 to 30 per cent of new prescriptions are never filled at the pharmacy? And 50 per cent of the time medication is not taken as prescribed?

Medication compliance is defined as taking medication exactly the way the doctor prescribes it – the right dose at the right time, in the right way and at the right frequency. Tips to help with that included taking your medication at the same time as another daily routine, for example brushing your teeth, or having a calendar on which you can put a daily checkmark after taking your pill(s).

Another option, especially if you have a number of pills to take each day, is to have the pharmacist prepare them for you each month in a special blister pack. The pack divides the doses by day and by time of day for you, making it easy for you to see if you took that pill at lunchtime or not.

McCarthy encouraged people to consider booking a review of all their medicines with their pharmacist. If you are 65 or older and are taking five or more long-term medications, under the Saskatchewan Medical Assessment Program, there is no cost for the 30- to 60-minute consultation.

Over-the-counter items such as multi-vitamins and calcium pills can be included in the count of five. Even if you are only taking one or two pills a day, certain prescriptions will also qualify you for the free assessment. You may even find that you qualify for free blister packs each month.