Can You Take Tylenol and Ibuprofen Together? Here’s the Answer

You can take Tylenol and Ibuprofen together if you need extra pain relief. Both these over-the-counter (OTC) medications work in different ways with minimum side effects.

But it is important to be cautious while taking these OTC pain relievers together. For instance, there might be adverse drug reactions due to other medications you are taking.

Don’t worry. We’ll take you through the recommended dosage for taking Ibuprofen with Tylenol. Plus, you will also learn the side effects of these OTC medications to stay safe.

What is Tylenol?

Tylenol is the brand name for Acetaminophen. It reduces fever and provides pain relief. Tylenol works wonders for severe pain, including acute postoperative pain.

It is an oral medicine that you take with water. Make sure you follow the dosage recommendations of your doctor.

You can take up to two 325 mg pills every 6 hours. But you can take two pills every 8 hours if each tablet is 500 mg.

Check out this article to know if you should take brand-name drugs or their generic versions.

The highest Acetaminophen dosage you can take is 4 grams per day ( i.e., eight 500 mg tablets). But don’t try unless your doctor suggests it.

Does Tylenol Have Side Effects?

Tylenol can cause allergic reactions in your body. You may develop swelling in your face, tongue, lips, and throat. You might also experience breathing difficulties in some rare cases.

Sometimes, Acetaminophen can lead to severe skin reactions. Talk to your doctor immediately if you have rashes or blisters on your skin. They might ask you to stop your medication.

You may also experience some other symptoms like:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Appetite loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Jaundice
  • Dark urine

Can You Take Tylenol While Pregnant?

Tylenol can help relieve pain in pregnant women. Aches and pains are normal during pregnancy. Additionally, doctors often prescribe Tylenol to treat mild to moderate pain or fever.

It provides better pain relief and is safer than other medications. Over 65% of women have taken Acetaminophen during their pregnancy.

However, don’t combine Tylenol with other OTC medications without professional medical advice.

Can You Take Tylenol After The Covid Booster?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says you can take Tylenol and other OTC pain relievers after taking your covid booster dose.

Taking these medicines may provide relief from the side effects of vaccination, like pain and swelling. However, the CDC doesn’t recommend taking Tylenol before your vaccine.

What is Ibuprofen?

Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that reduces pain and inflammation in your body.

Ibuprofen is super helpful for toothaches, headaches, menstrual cramps, arthritis, and minor injuries.

How Much Ibuprofen Can You Take and How Often?

Your Ibuprofen dosage depends on several factors, such as your age and body weight. The recommended dosage for adults is 200 to 400 mg per dose.

Make sure there is a gap of 4 to 6 hours between each dose.

Children below 12 years can take 5 to 10 mg per dose at an interval of 6 to 8 hours.

What are Ibuprofen’s Side Effects?

Like Tylenol, you can also have an allergic reaction to Ibuprofen. You may experience swelling in your throat or face.

Taking Ibuprofen can also cause other side effects like:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Rashes
  • Weight gain
  • Vision changes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Kidney problems
  • Liver problems
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Bleeding

You can’t take Ibuprofen if you have a stomach ulcer. That’s because it’s an anti-inflammatory drug. It works by blocking the actions of two chemicals in your stomach that cause inflammation. But, blocking these chemicals can cause stomach irritation, worsening your ulcer. If you have chronic gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining), consult your doctor before taking NSAIDS.

Can You Take Ibuprofen While Pregnant?

You might want to take pain relievers to ease your aches and pains during pregnancy. But, don’t take Ibuprofen without consulting your health provider if you are pregnant. It can lead to harmful side effects for your baby.

Taking Ibuprofen after 30 weeks of pregnancy can even be fatal for your child. A 2013 study shows that Ibuprofen during pregnancy can cause asthma and other health disorders in your child.

Can You Take Ibuprofen for Pain Relief After The Covid Booster?

The CDC recommends you can take OTC Ibuprofen and other over-the-counter medicines after your COVID booster vaccine. It will provide relief from the side effects like pain, fever, and swelling.

However, the CDC doesn’t recommend taking over-the-counter NSAIDS before your vaccine.

Can You Take Tylenol with Ibuprofen?

You can take Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Ibuprofen together. They work differently on your body and are safe. Research shows that these two drugs relieve certain types of pain with minimum side effects. For instance, Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen work like magic in extreme dental pains.

The combination of these two drugs is safer than many OTC medications. But it is crucial to remember the recommended doses. Make sure you aren’t taking other medications containing Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen, leading to an overdose.

Let’s see why the combination of these two medications is safe.

Why is The Combination of Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen Safe?

Peer-reviewed studies by medical associations show that these nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are combined to relieve acute oral pain.

Studies have shown that a combination tablet of Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen is more effective than both these tablets taken separately. Plus, it’s also a better pain reliever than any oral opioid.

Both these popular over-the-counter medications work differently. Moreover, they are removed from the body by different organs. While the liver breaks down Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen gets broken down by your kidneys. That’s why taking Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen together won’t have any negative side effects.

Since your liver breaks down Acetaminophen, its chronic use can lead to liver damage. Ibuprofen gets broken down in your kidneys. So, taking more than the recommended dosages can cause acute kidney disease.

Thus, it is safe to take Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen together. But, an overdose of any one medication can cause severe side effects.


Taking Tylenol and Ibuprofen together might help ease chronic pain. However, don’t try to experiment with the dosage without talking to your doctor.

Reach out to the emergency department if you experience severe symptoms due to an overdose of these medicines. Also, make sure you know the recommended dose of all common medicines from your pharmacist to avoid risks in the future.

Hero Health Pharmacy has experienced pharmacists who can guide you with any medication.

Get in touch with an expert pharmacist today!



How to Choose a Safe Sunscreen for Your Skin?

Whether you are out buying groceries, going to work, relaxing at the beach, or taking a walk just to feel the sun on your face, you can’t escape the sun’s radiations. Even if you remain indoors all day, harmful UV rays can still visit your skin uninvited through your windows.

This is why you need to protect your skin from getting damaged by sunlight by introducing sunscreen into your daily skincare routine.  However, not all sunscreens are created equal. Some are more eco-friendly and effective, and less likely to cause skin irritation than others.

Knowing how to choose a sunscreen that’s right for your skin will help ensure you get adequate sun protection and prevent you from wasting hard-earned money on the wrong products.

In this post, we are going to walk you through everything you should keep in mind to choose a safe sunscreen and using it correctly.

Why Do You Need Sunscreen?

Did you know…

  • Ultraviolet (UV) radiation has been proven to be a human carcinogen—a substance or agent capable of causing cancer.
  • Skin cancers are the most common type of cancer in the world. They are mostly basal and squamous cell carcinomas and about 1% of melanomas, which accounts for most skin cancer deaths despite the small share.
  • At least one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetimes.
  • Having five or more sunburns—or doubles your risk of developing melanoma.
  • About 90% of nonmelanoma and 86% of melanoma skin cancers are linked to exposure to UV radiation from the sun.
  • Regular use of sunscreen—SPF 15 or higher—can cut down the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by about 40% and melanoma by 50%.
  • Approximately 90% of skin aging is caused by sun exposure.
  • The skins of people who use SPF 15 or higher sunscreen daily show 24% less aging than those who neglect to use sunscreen daily.

As you can see, constantly exposing your skin to the sun without sun protection can cause a lot of damage ranging from premature aging to cancer, and possibly, death. The only way to effectively cut down your risk of getting skin cancers and keep your skin looking amazing well into old age is by applying sunscreen daily.

Different Types of Sunscreen You Need to Know

There are two types of sunscreen based on the active ingredients they use and how they work to protect your screen from the sun’s UV radiation.

Mineral sunscreens

A mineral or physical sunscreen, as it is also known, is typically made with ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium oxide which function as a reflective barrier for UV rays. It sits on top of your skin and acts like a shield that blocks and bounces off rays from the sun before they penetrate your skin.

Mineral sunscreens begin to work as soon as they are applied. However, since they are designed to remain on the surface of your skin, they can come off easily when you sweat or come in contact with water.

Also, mineral sunscreens usually have a thicker consistency and can be hard to rub in completely, so you might end up with a little white cast depending on the brand you buy. If you have sensitive skin, you may be better off with mineral sunscreens because they are gentler on the skin and less prone to causing irritations.

Chemical sunscreens

Chemical sunscreens—also known as organic sunscreen—take a different approach to sun protection. They absorb UV rays and turn the rays into heat which is then released from your skin. You may find ingredients like octisalate, avobenzone, and octocrylene on the label for a chemical sunscreen.

Since chemical-based sunscreens get absorbed into the top layer of your skin instead of just staying on the skin’s surface, they are easier to spread and less likely to leave a white sheen. They also won’t come off as easily as mineral sunscreens, but they take between 15-30 minutes after application to start working.

This means you can’t just jump right into the sun after using a chemical sunscreen, you have to wait for the ingredients to bind to your skin first.

How Long Does Sunscreen Last?

No matter the amount of sunscreen you apply in one go, it’s still going to break down and wear off at some point. This is why it’s recommended that you reapply your sunscreen at least every two hours to ensure that you are being properly protected throughout the day.

If you go swimming or engage in any activity that makes you sweat excessively—e.g., exercising—make sure you reapply your sunscreen immediately after toweling off. Even if your sunscreen is water-resistant, still reapply it anyway because when it comes to sun exposure and its attendant risks, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

How Does Sunscreen Work?

Sunscreens with mineral-based filters such as titanium oxide and zinc oxide work by blocking UV rays and deflecting them away from your skin before they can cause any harm.

For sunscreens that use chemical-based ingredients like homosalate, octisalate, avobenzone, octinoxate, or oxybenzone, sun protection is offered by absorbing the UV rays and converting them into heat before they get a chance to damage your skin.

Some sunscreens also contain a mix of mineral and chemical ingredients, and they work by deflecting and taking in harmful UVB and UVA rays.

How, When, and Where to Use Sunscreen

Proper sunscreen application is key to giving your skin the best possible protection against the sun. Here are some best practices to keep in mind:

  • Skimping on sunscreen is a no-no. You need one ounce—the equivalent of a shot glass or plastic medicine cup—to adequately cover your entire body. Alternatively, you can use 9 teaspoons of sunscreen to fully protect your body. Divide it accordingly: 1 teaspoon for your face and neck, 1 teaspoon for your chest and abdomen, 1 teaspoon for your back and buttocks, 1 teaspoon for each arm, and 2 teaspoons for each leg.
  • Apply sunscreen daily, especially if you plan to be out in the sun for any period of time.
  • For full protection, apply sunscreen about 15-30 minutes before you go outside and reapply every two hours until sundown. Reapply more often if you sweat too much or come out of the water after going swimming.
  • Always use sunscreen on all parts of your skin that get exposed to the sun including your ears, lips, feet, hands, shoulders, eye area, and the back of your neck.
  • Get a lip balm with SPF 15+ for your lips and a sunscreen stick for your eye area because unlike lotion, oils, or sprays, it won’t wipe off easily or stray into your eyes.
  • Try to apply sunscreen to your body before getting dressed. But if you are already dressed, make sure you apply sunscreen underneath clothing straps so that your skin stays protected even if your clothes shift.

Get to Know Sunscreen SPF Numbers

To figure out how to choose sunscreen SPF, you have to know what it’s all about.

SPF means Sun Protection Factor. It’s a unit of measurement that shows how effective a sunscreen product is at protecting you from sunburn and other kinds of skin damage.

Sunscreens need to be tested to determine how much exposure to UVB radiation it would take to produce sunburn when using the sunscreen compared to how much exposure it would ordinarily take to cause sunburn without sunscreen. The result of that test reveals the SPF Number.

An SPF value of 15 simply means that it will take 15 times the amount of sun exposure to cause sunburn when using the sunscreen than it would with no sunscreen. The higher the SPF number, the bigger the level of exposure it would take to develop sunburn while using the product, and the greater the level of sunburn protection you will be getting.

However, the difference in protection becomes minuscule as the SPF number goes up. These are the UVB radiation protection levels you can get from different SPF sunscreens:

  • SPF 15 — 93%
  • SPF 30 — 97%
  • SPF 50 — 98%

This does not mean that you do not need to reapply sunscreen every two hours if you are using a higher SPF. It just means you will get a bit more UVB blocking power from your sunscreen.

To offer your skin better protection, it is highly recommended that you go with an SPF 30 or higher when selecting a sunscreen.

5 Tips to Choose the Safe Sunscreen for Your Skin and Environment

Following this simple checklist when shopping for sunscreen will help you buy the right product every time.

1. Read the Label Carefully Before Choosing Your Sunscreen

A product’s labeling can contain a lot of information, some of which may not make sense to you. But here are the important things to look out for:

  • Check the SPF — Whether you are buying a sunscreen lotion, oil, gel, stick, or powder, you want to make sure it has an SPF of at least 30.
  • Look for “broad spectrum” — SPF protects you against UVB rays that cause sunburn and cancer, but it may not necessarily offer protection against UVA rays that also cause skin cancer, early skin aging, and skin damage. To guarantee that your sunscreen also protects you from UVB rays, the label has to specify that it is a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
  • Beware of sprays — It’s hard to determine how much sunscreen ends up on your skin and how much is carried away by the wind when using sunscreen sprays. This makes it difficult to ascertain if you are using an adequate amount of sunscreen. It’s also easy for the particles to be inhaled or find their way into your eyes.

Know the Pros and Cons of Mineral and Chemical Sunscreens

Mineral and chemical sunscreens both offer ample sun protection. The one you choose to use will depend on your preference after weighing its benefits and disadvantages.

Chemical sunscreens have lighter, cosmetically elegant formulas and better absorption that suit daily wear and exercise.

However, doctors recommend going with mineral-based sun protectants if you are in the market for sunscreen for sensitive skin. Since they don’t get absorbed into your skin like chemical sunscreens, they are less likely to clog your pores and cause skin issues.

Mineral sunscreens are also deemed better for the environment than chemical sunscreens that can contain ingredients that are harmful to marine ecosystems. The only downside of mineral sunscreens is that it might leave a white cast behind when applied.

“Water Resistant” vs “Waterproof.”

The FDA has banned sunscreen manufacturers from claiming their product is “waterproof” because it is a complete lie. All sunscreen, no matter how well it is formulated, eventually breaks down and washes off when it comes in contact with water.

However, a sunscreen can be labeled as “water-resistant” if it has been proven to offer protection when in water for 40 or 80 minutes before it will need to be reapplied.

Choosing water-resistant sunscreen is a great idea if you plan to be in or near water. It can also offer extra protection on humid days by slowing down the rate at which you sweat away from your sunscreen.

Keep the Vitamin D Factor in Mind

When your body gets exposed to sunlight, it creates vitamin D which plays a significant role in your bone health, mood regulation, immune system functioning, and your general wellness.

Make sure you apply sunscreen before you go get your daily dose of vitamin D from the sun, so you don’t end up getting skin cancer along the way. You can also boost your vitamin D levels by taking supplements and eating foods like salmon, mackerel, beef liver, and egg yolks.

Avoid These Sunscreen Ingredients

Oxybenzone is a chemical ingredient that is often used in producing chemical sunscreens, but research has shown that this substance can be harmful to people. It can cause allergies, hormone problems, shorter pregnancies, lower testosterone levels in boys, and increase the risk of breast cancer and endometriosis.

One study conducted in 2020 found that rats exposed to oxybenzone were more likely to develop thyroid tumors. Although the harm that oxybenzone can cause to humans is yet to be conclusively proven, the chemical is no longer used in many parts of the world, including Europe.

Other active sunscreen ingredients such as octocrylene, octisalate, homosalate, octinoxate, and avobenzone have also been shown to be easily absorbed into the bloodstream. They are detectable in the body for up to 21 days after a single application of sunscreen containing these products.

However, the FDA still considers products with any of these ingredients to be safe to use, pending further testing.

What Else Should You Know to Choose a Safe Sunscreen?

Knowing how to choose a safe sunscreen and applying it regularly is most of the battle. But there are still a few things you need to be aware of to maximize the level of sun protection that you get.

  • To ensure that your sunscreen is giving you the level of protection specified on its label, avoid using any sunscreen product that has passed its expiration date. If it has no expiration date, consider it expired if it was purchased more than three years ago.
  • Some cosmetics products contain sunscreen but they typically don’t provide adequate sun protection so you still need to use sunscreen before your makeup.
  • If you are allergy-prone, avoid using products that contain para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA).
  • Expensive doesn’t equal better. A pricey product might have a better smell or texture, but that doesn’t mean it will be more effective than a cheaper brand.
  • Try to limit your sun exposure by staying under a shade when out in public as much as possible. Wear protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses that block UV light.

Stay safe in the sun

No matter what the weather reports are saying or how cloudy the day seems, you should never leave your house or go a day without applying sunscreen. Consider it the most important step in your skin care regimen. Your future self will thank you for your efforts.


Benadryl Dosing Guide – How Much and How Often Can I Take Benedryl?

If you have a common cold or allergic reactions, your doctor might recommend taking Benadryl. It is an over-the-counter drug that can ease the symptoms of hay fever, colds, and other allergies.

But how much Benadryl can you take and how often? This article will serve as your Benadryl dosing guide. Plus, you will also learn about Benadryl’s drug interactions and side effects.

What is Benadryl?

Benadryl is the brand name of the drug diphenhydramine. You will find “Benadryl Allergy” written on the label when you buy it from your pharmacist.

It is a common antihistamine used to treat symptoms of allergies and colds. It provides relief from several symptoms, including

  • A runny nose
  • Watery and red eyes
  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Sneezing
  • Nose irritation due to allergic rhinitis (a condition in which your nose gets irritated by something you are allergic to)

It also helps in the prevention and treatment of motion sickness and insomnia. Plus, it is also used to ease the symptoms of certain medical conditions. For example, Benadryl can control abnormal movements in patients of Parkinson’s disease.

Benadryl Ingredients

Diphenhydramine is the active ingredient in Benadryl. Each tablet contains 25mg of diphenhydramine HCl. You can also get it in other brand names like Banophen.

Diphenhydramine comes in different forms like tablets, capsules, and liquids. Your doctor may prescribe you any one depending on your needs and preferences.

Several other OTC drugs also contain diphenhydramine. Most of them are cough, cold, and flu medicines. So, make sure you always read the drug information label to keep track of your diphenhydramine intake.

How Does Benadryl Work in Allergic Reactions?

Benadryl is an antihistamine. It blocks the production of histamine in your body. Now, what is histamine? It is a substance solely responsible for allergic reactions in your body.

When your body produces too much histamine, you experience symptoms like itching, sneezing, and red eyes. Benadryl weakens or stops your body’s reaction to histamine. That reduces the symptoms of allergies.

How Often Can You Take Benadryl?

You can take a dose of Benadryl every 6 hours. Make sure your doses are spaced out. Otherwise, you might experience acute side effects.

Take the lowest effective dose (i.e. 25 mg) and space out the doses. That will prevent severe effects on your body.

How Much Benadryl Can You Take?

For mild seasonal allergies, you can take 25 to 50 mg of Benadryl every 4 to 6 hours. But 300 mg is the max amount of Benadryl you can take in 24 hours.

Children aged 6 to 11 years should not take more than 12.5 mg to 25 mg every 6 hours.

Follow the same dosage instructions if you are using Benadryl without a doctor’s prescription for motion sickness. Take the medicine around half an hour before the event that causes motion sickness.

If you have insomnia, you can take 25 to 50 mg of Benadryl 30 minutes before bedtime. The Benadryl for sleep dosage is the same that you take during allergies. But, using it regularly is not a good idea.

You should not give this medicine to children below 6 years old at any time. Even children below 12 years should only be given Benadryl for seasonal allergies.

How to Take “Benadryl Allergy” (Diphenhydramine)?

Take Benadryl according to the recommendations of your doctor. And if you are using it off-label, make sure you don’t take more than 50 mg every 6 hours.

Don’t take more than the recommended dose. It is also advisable not to continue taking Benadryl for a long time. You should discontinue use once your symptoms vanish.

You can also buy topical versions of Benadryl for rashes and skin irritation. Read the drug information on the label and apply it to the affected area to use it. That will give much-needed relief from pain and irritation.

Consult your doctor if the condition you are treating persists without any change.

Can You Take Benadryl While Pregnant or Breastfeeding?

It is safe to take small dosages of Benadryl during pregnancy. It doesn’t pose any risk to your fetus.

However, the drug passes into breast milk and may reduce your milk supply. Taking Benadryl while breastfeeding might also increase your child’s risk of side effects.

It is recommended to consult with your physician if you plan to take Benadryl during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

Benadryl Dosing Guide – Is Benadryl Safe for Infants?

benadryl dosing directions

                                                     Source – FDA

Benadryl is not safe for infants. The active ingredient, diphenhydramine, is an antihistamine and can have dangerous side effects in children below 2 years old. It can lead to a rapid heartbeat and convulsions in infants. Thus, the drug could prove to be fatal for your child.

If your child is between 2 and 6 years old, you must talk to your doctor or pharmacist before giving any over-the-counter drug.

Children aged 6 to 12 years can take diphenhydramine. But you need to give them versions of the medication meant for children. They come in safe dosages and are also easier for your child to take.

Common Side Effects of Benadryl

Let us look at some common side effects of Benadryl.

  • Blurry vision – It is a common side effect of this drug. Your vision might become blurry because diphenhydramine dries up your body.

Talk to your doctor if you have problems with your vision. They might recommend a different medicine. Also, make sure you don’t drive until your vision becomes normal.

  • Fast heartbeat – You might experience shortness of breath and feel like your heart is racing.

Consult your doctor if you experience a rapid heartbeat when taking Benadryl.

  • Memory loss or dementia – Older adults might develop this side effect due to prolonged intake of Benadryl.

Your doctor will ask you to stop the medicine if you experience memory loss.

  • Dizziness – Dizziness is a common side effect of diphenhydramine. But, it can lead to several risks. For instance, driving a car can be fatal if you feel dizzy.

Caution is better than regret. So, make sure you don’t drive or operate any machinery after taking Benadryl.

The concerns increase as you age. Older adults and senior citizens above the age of 65 years are at a greater risk of experiencing side effects from Benadryl.

What Happens If You Overdose on Benadryl?

Data from studies on Benadryl use show that Benadryl is one of the most abused drugs in the United States. Taking too much of it can have deadly consequences. A 2016 study showed that 3.2% of drug overdose deaths are due to diphenhydramine.

Let’s see what happens when you take more than the recommended dose of diphenhydramine.

Benadryl Overdose Symptoms

Histamine receptors are present throughout the body. Thus, the effects of Benadryl can be severe since it is an antihistamine.

The medicine blocks the histamine receptors in your body. When it attaches to the histamine receptors of the brain, you experience the most severe effects.

You will feel tired and dizzy. The medicine will slow down your breathing and lower your blood pressure.

Very high doses can also affect your heart. It can lead to irregular heartbeats, which can be fatal at times.

What Should You Do When You Take Too Much Benadryl?

Contact your physician immediately if you feel you have taken too much diphenhydramine. Don’t delay if you feel extremely dizzy and experience irregular heartbeats.

You can also call 911 for support if someone takes too much Benadryl and experiences difficulty breathing or seizures.

Benadryl Dosing Guide – Confirm your Benadryl dosage with your pharmacist

This article has walked you through the Benadryl dosing guide. Take your medicines as directed by your doctor. You can also ask your pharmacist about the dosage of all your medications.

An experienced pharmacist will also tell you about the warnings associated with a medication. Hero Health Pharmacy has expert pharmacists to guide you leaving no room for confusion.

Talk to our experts and take charge of your health. You can also visit our website for more details.



Pregnancy Tests: How They Work and When to Take One

You’ve noticed some changes in your body over the past week. Maybe your breasts have felt swollen or tender, you are tired all the time, and maybe you even have spotting (light bleeding that’s not from your period).

Or, maybe you don’t have any symptoms at all, and your period is simply late. Either way, it’s natural to wonder, “am I pregnant?”

It’s time like these when you reach for a pregnancy test. Read on to learn more about how pregnancy tests work, the different types of pregnancy tests, and how to use them effectively.

What is a Pregnancy Test?

A pregnancy test is a tool that can measure the amount of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) in your body. hCG, commonly called the “pregnancy hormone,” is produced by the placenta (an organ that develops during pregnancy to provide oxygen and nutrients to the baby). hCG is the hormone that stops your body from menstruating and thickens the uterine lining for a growing embryo.

Your body will start to produce hCG shortly after a fertilized egg implants in your uterus. Your hCG levels build up gradually over the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. This is why you can’t detect a pregnancy immediately after conception.

Different Types of Pregnancy Tests

There are two ways to test for pregnancy: blood tests and urine tests. Let’s cover each now.

Blood Tests

You must see your doctor to get a blood pregnancy test. Typically, your doctor or a pathologist will use a small needle to draw a sample of your blood. They will then send this blood to a lab to test hCG.

There are two forms of blood pregnancy tests:

  1. Qualitative hCG tests. These simply check for the presence of hCG in your blood. They can tell you whether or not you are pregnant.
  2. Quantitative hCG tests (or “beta hCG” tests). These measure the amount of hCG in your blood. Quantitative hCG tests can tell you the exact age of your fetus. Doctors also use these tests when diagnosing ectopic pregnancies (a pregnancy where the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus) and tracking potential problems with a pregnancy.

Results from blood pregnancy tests are not instant. You may need to wait up to a week for results.

Urine Tests

Urine pregnancy kits (also called “home pregnancy tests” or “UPT tests”) are available from drug stores, supermarkets, gas stations, and retail outlets that sell medications and personal care products. These tests are Over-The-Counter (OTC), meaning you do not need to consult a doctor or advanced care provider to access them. Some doctors also use urine tests.

To use these tests, you will need to remove the test from the package, expose it to urine, and wait. There are several forms of urine pregnancy kits, including:

  • Test sticks that you dip into your urine mid-stream (so 2-3 seconds after you begin urinating)
  • Test sticks that you dip into a cup of urine (the cup is usually provided in the test kit)
  • Test sticks that require you to collect urine in a cup and use a dropper to place it on the test stick

How Quickly Pregnancy Tests Work

Pregnancy tests take five to fifteen minutes to work.

If you receive a positive result (no matter how faint the line) or believe the result is not accurate, you should consult your doctor for a more sensitive test that can confirm if you are pregnant or not.

How Do Pregnancy Tests Work?

Urine pregnancy kits require you to expose the sample pad of the test to your urine mid-stream. The sample pad of the test contains antibodies with an enzyme attached to them.

Excess antibodies bind to immobilized antibodies, and this causes the control line to appear on the pregnancy test. The control line will show up first. If there is hCG in your urine, immobilized antibodies will bind to it and cause the second line on the pregnancy test to become visible.

The control line shows that the test is working. The second line tells you whether or not you are pregnant. If you see two lines (even if the second one is very faint), you are pregnant.

Some tests do not use the line system. The mechanism for these is the same, except they will show a “-” or “+” or say “pregnant” or “not pregnant.”

How Accurate are Pregnancy Tests?

Both blood and urine pregnancy tests are up to 99% accurate when used correctly.

The accuracy of your blood pregnancy test depends on when you take it and how your provider handles and stores it.

The accuracy of your urine pregnancy test depends on:

  • How carefully you followed the instructions
  • Whether or not the test has expired
  • When you took the pregnancy test
  • How diluted your urine was (if your urine is too diluted, the pregnancy test can’t detect hCG)

To ensure your test is accurate, wash your hands before taking the test and avoid contaminating the test stick and equipment. Common household items like detergent have been known to cause false results.

Never use a damaged or broken pregnancy test.

If you have recently given birth or experienced a miscarriage, you may get a false-positive result from both blood and urine pregnancy tests. It takes several weeks for your hCG levels to drop, so consult your doctor or advanced care provider if you believe you are pregnant during this time.

How Soon Can You Take a Pregnancy Test?

hCG levels start to rise in your body between 6 — 10 days after the fertilized egg implants in your uterus. Most of the time, a urine pregnancy test can detect a pregnancy 10 days after fertilization (though keep in mind that fertilization does not occur immediately after sexual intercourse).

To get the most accurate result possible, take a pregnancy test after the first day of your missed period. This will ensure there is a detectable level of hCG in your urine.

Some very sensitive pregnancy tests can detect hCG before you miss your period. However, if you do take one of these early tests, consider re-doing the test if you miss your period to confirm the results.

When to take a pregnancy test

You should take a pregnancy test if:

  • You have missed your period
  • You have nausea, cramps, sore breasts, food aversions, exhaustion, or are urinating frequently
  • Your contraception failed
  • You have reason to believe you may be pregnant

Ideally, you should take the pregnancy test first thing in the morning. As you have likely not urinated in several hours, your urine will be more concentrated, and it will be easier for the test to detect hCG.

However, that’s not to say that pregnancy tests taken at other times of the day are not accurate. The test is likely to work as long as your urine is concentrated.

Can a UTI Medication Affect Pregnancy Test Results?

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are infections in your urinary system, including in your urethra, bladder, ureters, or kidneys. UTIs themselves do not usually affect pregnancy test results, but there are two situations where they can.

Situation 1.

If you are taking antibiotics to treat your UTI, the antibiotics will change your urine’s composition. This may dilute your urine and make it difficult for pregnancy tests to detect hCG.

Consult your doctor if you are treating a UTI with antibiotics and believe you are pregnant.

Situation 2. 

Frequent urination is a common symptom of UTIs. Some people with UTIs also drink more water than usual to try and “flush out” the UTI. In either case, hCG can sometimes go undetected in diluted urine, causing a false negative result.

If your urine is too diluted for a pregnancy test, try taking a test first thing in the morning. Or ask your doctor for a blood test.

Can Fertility Drugs Affect Pregnancy Test Results?

Some medications used during In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) can affect pregnancy test results.

Clomid (clomiphene citrate), for example, can cause a false positive because it contains synthetic hCG. A five-day course of Clomid alongside a trigger shot of Novarel, Ovidel, or Pregnyl is often given to women to induce ovulation.

It takes 10 days or so for the hCG in Clomid to leave your blood and urine. So, if you took a pregnancy test during this period, the test would detect the Clomid and return a positive result. Wait at least two weeks after taking Clomid to do a home pregnancy test.

Human Menopausal Gonadotropin (hMG), another injectable IVF or IUI drug, can also cause false positives. hMG medications like Menopur, Repronex, and Pergonal contain two hormones: Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH). LH is structurally similar to hCG, so pregnancy tests can often confuse the two.

What Happens Next?

If your test is positive, make an appointment with your doctor to get a blood test to confirm your pregnancy and discuss your next steps.

If your test is negative and you took the test after you missed your period, you are unlikely to be pregnant. Urine pregnancy tests are highly accurate when performed correctly.

If you have done multiple urine pregnancy kits and gotten mixed results, consult your doctor.

And if you have taken a pregnancy test and do not believe the results are accurate, repeat the test or consult your doctor. In case you have not missed your period yet, you may be pregnant, but your hCG levels may be too low to detect.



Why Do I Have To Take My Thyroid Medication on An Empty Stomach in the Morning?

Taking thyroid replacement medication can help you combat symptoms of hypothyroidism such as depression, muscle aches, constant tiredness, weight gain, thinning hair, slow heartbeat, and sensitivity to cold so you feel like your normal self again.

However, you can’t just take your thyroid medication whenever or however you want. There’s a specific routine and process that you need to follow to ensure that the drugs work properly and provide your body with the maximum benefits.

In this article, we are going to explain some of the common guidelines for using the medication so you can understand the importance of following them religiously.

How synthetic thyroid hormones work

Thyroid hormones are responsible for boosting cellular metabolism which oversees growth, tissue development, food processing, heartbeat rate, regulation of body temperature, brain function maintenance, and many other cellular activities.

As a result, insufficient or abnormally low thyroid hormone levels in your body can create problems and throw various bodily functions into disarray.

Your thyroid gland naturally produces two main hormones: triiodothyronine (T3) and tetraiodothyronine or thyroxine (T4). Of the two hormones, T3 is the more active one and it regulates most of your biological processes.

However, most of the T3 in your body starts out as T4, but when the T4 is released by your thyroid gland and it interacts with other cells in your blood, it loses one iodine atom. When this loss occurs, the T4 then transforms into T3 which your body uses to carry out different cellular metabolic processes.

When your thyroid gland is not functioning as it should and is failing to produce enough of the thyroid hormone, the standard course of treatment used to rectify it is synthetic thyroid hormone, also known as levothyroxine.

Synthetic thyroid hormones simply mean that the hormones are man-made, rather than naturally derived from animals. Despite being man-made, synthetic hormones are able to mimic the T4 hormones that are naturally produced by your body.

When you take synthetic thyroid medication, the aim is to make up for the insufficient hormones being supplied by your thyroid gland. It typically comes in pill form containing T4 or a combination of T3 and T4, and once you swallow it, your body will absorb it and convert it into the T3 your cells need to perform certain actions.

Why you need to take your thyroid medication first thing

How and when you take your thyroid medication can make a huge difference to your recovery process. Doctors usually recommend taking levothyroxine first thing in the morning, with water, at least 60 minutes before you eat or drink anything. Here’s why:

Food can stop your body from absorbing it

The absorption of thyroid stimulating hormone can be negatively impacted when you take it with or too close to certain foods. Eating food can interfere with your daily dosage and prevent the medication from being completely absorbed into your gut, which means it won’t work like it is supposed to and your thyroid disease might worsen.

Even after taking your medication on an empty stomach, it is recommended that you avoid eating some kinds of food much farther apart from the time you take your medication because they can still affect your body’s ability to absorb the drug and cause fluctuations in your thyroid hormone levels. These foods include:

  • Walnuts
  • Cottonseed meal
  • Grapefruit or juice
  • Fried, fatty, or sugary foods
  • High calcium foods like milk, cheese, yogurt, or milk derived from plants
  • Soy-based foods or flours like tofu, miso, edamame
  • Foods that are high in fiber like kale, cabbage, broccoli

An easy way to maximize absorption and ensure that you take your thyroid medication first thing in the day is by setting an alarm for 5/6 AM, taking your daily dosage, and then returning to sleep if necessary. This way, you will be taking it on an empty stomach and will have plenty of time between when you take your medication and your first meal of the day.

Other medications interact with it

If you are taking other medications, they could end up interacting with your thyroid drugs in the wrong ways, which is why it is important to avoid using other medications at the same time or too close to thyroid stimulating hormones.

Some common prescriptions and over-the-counter medications that can interfere with the way your thyroid medication is absorbed and reduce its effectiveness include:

  • Birth control pills
  • Antibiotics like ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin, or levofloxacin
  • Blood thinners like warfarin
  • Anti-seizure meds like phenytoin, carbamazepine
  • Cholesterol-lowering drugs like cholestyramine (Questran), colesevelam (Welchol)
  • Antacids like Tums, Omeprazole, Pantoprazol, or Pepto-bismol
  • Antidepressants like fluoxetine, sertraline, amitriptyline, or theophylline

Try to take other medication at least two hours after using your thyroid hormone replacement drug. However, for drugs like antacids, sucralfate, cholesterol pills, gas relievers, and calcium or iron supplements, it is highly recommended that you wait four hours after or before taking your thyroid medication.

Taking it first thing keeps you on a regular schedule

Your thyroid medication won’t work properly if you don’t take it consistently. If you take it in the evening on some days and in the morning on other days or even forget to take them sometimes, it can interfere with how the drug is absorbed and lead to fluctuations in your hormone levels.

When this happens your thyroid blood tests which are used to track and manage dosages for optimal therapy won’t show accurate results. Your doctor might interpret the changes in your thyroid hormone levels to mean that you are not on an appropriate dose and increase your dosage accordingly. Meanwhile, the problem is with your irregular and inconsistent use of the medication, and not with the dose.

Constant adjustments to your medication can make it harder to regulate your thyroid levels and improve your well-being so you can live your life to the fullest. The best way to get the most out of your medication is to take the prescribed dose around the same time, in the same manner, every single day.

It is harder to forget to take your meds in the morning than at other times during the day. This is because in the morning, your mind is clearer and you have not yet begun doing all the things that could distract you, so you can easily remember to take your drugs before the chaos of the day creeps in.

Can you take your thyroid medication at bedtime?

Although the usual advice is for patients with thyroid disease to take their medication in the morning, it’s also perfectly acceptable to take it at night too if that’s the more convenient option for you.

If you cannot afford to give up adding milk to your morning cereal or coffee, taking levothyroxine at night can help you avoid improper absorption. You can also consider switching from morning to bedtime administration if you have a consistent sleep schedule.

Before deciding whether you are better off taking your thyroid medication at bedtime, you need to know that it must be administered four hours after your last meal or snack for the day. If you are taking other drugs in the evening, they must also be administered four hours before you use your thyroid medicine.


  • Some research suggests that taking thyroid stimulating hormones at night may improve your body’s ability to absorb the drug.
  • Taking levothyroxine at bedtime can also reduce the likelihood of interactions with other drugs or supplements that you might take in the morning.
  • You don’t have to bother with timing your breakfast or eliminating certain foods that can interfere with absorption.


  • You can easily fall asleep or forget to take your medication at night time.
  • You might keep snacking throughout the night and fail to leave four hours between eating and when you take your thyroid medication.
  • Some thyroid hormones are energizing and can make it difficult for you to sleep when taken at bedtime.
  • You may not retire to bed at the same time every day and inconsistency in your routine can cause changes in your thyroid hormone levels.

What to do if you miss a dose of your thyroid medication

There is no need to panic if you miss a dose of your medicine. Just take the missed dose as soon as you remember and all will be fine. However, if you don’t remember early enough and it’s almost time for your next scheduled dose, skip the dose you missed and continue taking your medication on your normal dosing schedule.

Never take a double dose to make up for the dose you missed. You can also speak to your doctor to find out what approach they would like you to take when you miss a dose of your thyroid medicine.

Over to you

With thyroid replacement therapy, consistency is everything. Whether you are taking your medication in the morning or at bedtime, the most important thing is to ensure you use it at the same time every day. Plus, remember to stay apart from food, drugs, and supplements that can reduce its efficacy.

With Health Hero Pharmacy, you can get your thyroid medication at competitive prices and have it delivered to your doorstep. We also provide access to a healthcare team who can help you create personalized therapies to effectively manage your thyroid disease and other health concerns.

Get started today!



I Get Yeast Infections Every Time I Take An Antibiotic. Is There Anything I Can Do About This?

Sometimes, after using antibiotics, you might notice that your vagina smells or feels different. You might even experience a burning or itchy sensation down there signaling that you have a yeast infection.

In this post, we are going to explain the link between antibiotics and yeast infections, and what the tell-tale signs of a yeast infection are. We also shed light on how you can effectively treat these infections when they occur or prevent them from arising in the first place.

What is a yeast infection?

Yeast infections, also known as candidiasis, happen when there is an overgrowth of yeast in a specific part of your body. They are usually caused by a type of fungus called candida albicans that live in damp areas around your body such as the mouth, vagina, and digestive tract.

Normally, candida is able to happily coexist with all the other natural organisms in your body without causing problems as long as there are healthy bacteria keeping it in check. But if something happens to disrupt the natural balance of this ecosystem, the Candida population can become unmanageable and result in a yeast infection.

If you have a mild yeast infection, it might go away on its own after a few days if your body successfully fights it off. However, in most cases, it will get worse over time if you don’t endeavor to treat it.

Types of yeast infections

The most common kinds of yeast infections that people can be affected by are:

Oral thrush

When you have a Candida infection in your throat or mouth, it is called oral thrush. The symptoms typically manifest as white or yellowish lesions or patches on the gums, cheeks, tongue, tonsils, or throat that may hurt or bleed when touched.

Thrush can also lead to sore throat, loss of taste, difficulty swallowing, and a burning sensation in the mouth.

Cutaneous candidiasis

The Candida fungus can overgrow on moist areas of your body like between fingers and toes, around the groin, under the breasts, in the armpits, or skin folds. The main symptom of cutaneous candidiasis or candidiasis of the skin is a rash that usually causes swelling, redness, and itching.

The infection may also cause the skin to crack or blisters and pustules to appear in the affected areas.

Vaginal yeast infections

When Candida cells in the vagina grow out of control, you can end up with a vaginal yeast infection. This condition is very common and easily treatable—3 out of 4 people with vaginas will develop a yeast infection at least once in their lifetime. Some may even experience it multiple times in their lives or suffer from recurrent yeast infections.

If you have a vaginal yeast infection, you may experience symptoms like

  • Itching, soreness, or irritation in the vagina
  • Burning or pain when urinating or having sex
  • Swelling and itching around the vulva
  • Watery vaginal discharge
  • Thick, whitish-yellow vaginal discharge resembling cottage cheese

Do antibiotics cause yeast infections?

The work of antibiotics is to combat diseases and destroy harmful bacteria that could wreak havoc on your body. But in the process of doing this job, it can end up killing beneficial bacteria as well, making you more likely to develop a yeast infection.

The vagina has its own culture and a specific blend of bacteria and yeast that help keep it in healthy condition. One of such bacteria is Lactobacillus and they are responsible for maintaining the slightly acidic nature of the vagina, which limits the excessive growth of yeast.

When you take antibiotics to cure the infection and wipe out harmful bacteria, other healthy bacteria like Lactobacillus can become collateral damage. Your vagina might no longer have enough Lactobacillus to keep it acidic or offer protection against disease-causing organisms. This allows Candida to flourish and cause yeast infections.

Which antibiotics commonly cause yeast infections?

All antibiotics are not created equal. Some are more likely to disrupt your body’s balance of natural bacteria and leave you more prone to vaginal yeast infections. Broad-spectrum antibiotics fall into this category. This is because they are designed to wipe out a wide range of bacterial types, rather than specific species of bacteria.

The following types of broad-spectrum antibiotics are the most common culprits for drug-induced yeast infections:


These antibiotics are typically prescribed for hard-to-treat infections like UTIs, bronchitis, bacterial prostatitis, and nosocomial pneumonia. Examples of quinolones include

  • Lomefloxacin (Maxaquin)
  • Moxifloxacin (Avelox)
  • Norfloxacin (Noroxin)
  • Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)


Tetracyclines are usually prescribed to treat STIs, acne, skin infections, gum disease, eye infections, gastrointestinal infections, respiratory infections, and infections caused by tick bites. Some generic and brand name examples of tetracyclines include

  • Doxycycline (Adoxa)
  • Minocycline (Solodyn)
  • Oxytetracycline (Terramycin)
  • Demeclocycline (Detravis)
  • Omadacycline (Nuzyra)
  • Sarecyline (Seysara)


Amoxicillin is a penicillin-type antibiotic used in the treatment of a wide variety of bacterial infections. Some of them are pneumonia, bronchitis, infections of the nose, ears, skin, throat, or urinary tract, and stomach ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori infection.


These types of antibiotics are given by injection for the treatment of severe or multi-drug resistant bacterial infections like endocarditis, cystic fibrosis, febrile neutropenia, bacterial meningitis, as well as complicated urinary tract infections, intra-abdominal infection, and community-acquired pneumonia.

Examples of carbapenems include:

  • Ertapenem (Invanz)
  • Imipenem (Primaxin)
  • Meropenem (Merrem)
  • Doripenem (Doribax)

Can probiotics help prevent yeast infections?

Think of probiotics as beneficial bacteria or living microorganisms that are good for the body. Probiotics come in many different forms, one of which is Lactobacillus—a strain of bacteria that helps in treating and preventing yeast infections.

They can be found in certain types of food like yogurts with live cultures and are also available through supplements and suppositories. If you get recurrent yeast infections or you are taking an antibiotic that makes you more susceptible to candidiasis, using probiotics may be very effective in alleviating symptoms.

Although the lack of extensive research on the effectiveness of probiotics in eliminating and stopping vaginal yeast infections makes it difficult to conclusively prove that it works, existing data leans in favor of probiotics.

Studies have found that a mixture of yogurt and honey has similar effects in reducing the symptoms of yeast infections compared to traditional antifungal medications.

Using probiotic vaginal suppositories with prescription antifungal medication has also been found to increase the effectiveness of the antifungal agent and reduce the possibility of a yeast infection returning.

If you are looking for a way to rebalance your vagina’s pH level by reinforcing the lactobacillus population, probiotics might be the perfect solution for you. What’s more, current data hasn’t discovered any risks that can be connected with using probiotics as a treatment or prevention plan for yeast infections, so there is really no harm in trying.

Other ways to reduce the chances of a yeast infection while taking antibiotics

Doing the following things before, during, or after taking antibiotics can lower your odds of developing a yeast infection.

1. Be upfront with your doctor

If you get yeast infections whenever you use antibiotics or you experience recurring yeast infections, don’t hesitate to tell your doctor right away. They will likely prescribe fluconazole (Diflucan). This is an oral antifungal medication that you can take while using antibiotics to prevent yeast from growing out of control.

2. Eat yogurt

Yogurt is packed with natural probiotics that can help regulate your vaginal flora by replenishing all the healthy bacteria that may accidentally be killed by antibiotics. This equips your body to keep fending off candidiasis naturally. Endeavor to eat yogurt regularly, especially one that contains live cultures.

3. Try an antifungal cream

Antifungal cream or suppository can be very effective in preventing vaginal yeast infections from using antibiotics. Using one can help check the growth of yeast and many of them are available over-the-counter.

To achieve optimal results, ensure you follow the directions on the box and start using your antifungal at the beginning of your course of antibiotics.

4. Avoid baths

Yeast loves moisture and warmth. So, taking baths where you need to soak for long stretches of time can create an ideal environment for candida to multiply and overpower your vagina’s good bacteria.

Staying away from baths and sticking to showers, especially when taking antibiotics can go a long way in preventing the overgrowth of yeast.

5. Wear breathable fabrics

Breathable fabrics or underwear made of cotton are great at absorbing moisture or heat and keeping your vagina dry, cool, and less welcoming for yeast.

6. Stop using vaginal products with fragrance

Yes, fragrance makes things smell nicer, but they can throw your body’s natural pH levels off balance and promote an environment for yeast infections to develop. Avoid using scented pads, tampons, lube, bubble baths, laundry detergents, and any other products that could end up near your vagina. Always go for the fragrance-free option.

Over to you

It’s common for antibiotics to disrupt your body’s good bacteria and increase your chances of getting a yeast infection. However, you can take steps to limit this occurrence or prevent it from happening completely.

If you suspect that you might have a yeast infection or you are experiencing itching, burning, or redness around your vagina, speak to a healthcare provider right away so you can get a diagnosis and begin treatment.

Health Hero Pharmacy gives you unlimited virtual access to trusted medication specialists. You can chat with a pharmacist from wherever you are, on your phone, and they will help you figure out whether you have a yeast infection and prescribe the appropriate treatment.



If I Miss My Blood Pressure Medication, Should I Double Up?

If you have high blood pressure, your doctor might prescribe medication to lower your blood pressure levels. But, what if you miss a dose? Should you double up to compensate for it?

It’s better not to take a double dose of your blood pressure medication. Read on to find out why and also equip yourself with some superb tips to prevent missed doses in the future.

What does blood pressure medication do?

Have you ever wondered how your blood pressure medication works?

The first thing you should know is there are different categories of blood pressure medicines. Knowing what they do in your body will help you stay better informed about your treatment.

1. Diuretics

Diuretics help in eliminating excess salts and water from your body through urine. That reduces the volume of blood flowing through your blood vessels, reducing your blood pressure.

Some common examples of diuretics include hydrochlorothiazide and furosemide.

Here are some possible side effects listed by the American Heart Association.

  • Some diuretics may reduce your body’s potassium levels leading to weakness and fatigue.
  • They may increase the blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. However, it’s not that serious and gets cured with insulin or a change in medicine.
  • Impotence may occur in some cases.

2. Beta blockers

These drugs block a hormone that increases your heart rate. That reduces the blood pumped by your heart, lowering your blood pressure.

Betaxonolol and atenolol are some common beta blockers your doctor might prescribe.

These medicines might have some unpleasant side effects like:

  • Tiredness
  • Insomnia
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Reduced heart rate
  • Worsening of asthma symptoms

3. ACE Inhibitors

ACE stands for angiotensin converting enzyme. Angiotensin is a hormone that narrows your arteries, especially in the kidneys. ACE Inhibitors reduce the production of angiotensin, allowing blood vessels to expand. Thus, your blood flows more easily and your blood pressure decreases.

Benazepril and Captopril are some common ACE Inhibitors. Some of the side effects of these drugs include:

  • Chronic dry cough
  • Skin rash
  • Loss of taste
  • Kidney disease
  • Harmful to both the mother and baby during pregnancy

4. Calcium Channel Blockers

They help in widening (dilating) the blood vessels by reducing the amount of calcium in their cells. Thus, your blood pressure and heart rate decrease. Some common calcium channel blockers are:

  • Felodipine
  • Verapamil
  • Amlodipine
  • Diltiazem

Calcium channel blockers can also have some unpleasant side effects like:

  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Swollen feet and ankles
  • Palpitations

5. Alpha blockers

They work in the same way as beta blockers by blocking a hormone that increases the heart rate. Thus, your blood pressure and heart rate decrease. Prazosin hydrochloride is a common alpha blocker.

These drugs may have side effects like dizziness and a sudden drop in blood pressure.

6. Central Agonists

These drugs stimulate a receptor in the brain that reduces blood pressure. They follow a different pathway than alpha and beta-blockers but have the same effect on your blood pressure levels. Clonidine hydrochloride is the most common central agonist.

These medicines can have some severe side effects. For instance:

  • There can be a drastic drop in blood pressure, leading to drowsiness and weakness.
  • Your blood pressure can rise to dangerously high levels if you miss a dose.

What happens if you miss a dose of your medication?

If you miss a single dose of your blood pressure medicine, it’s not a problem. But, missing your doses frequently can lead to several complications.

Your blood pressure medication keeps your blood pressure levels healthy. Thus, it reduces the risk of stroke, heart attacks, and congestive heart failure. So, missing your doses will put you at a higher risk of these diseases.

Missing one dose might cause mild headaches and nausea. These symptoms will worsen if you continue missing your doses. You may also experience a condition called rebound hypertension. That means your blood pressure will rise drastically to the levels before you started treatment.

The sudden and drastic rise in blood pressure levels can be fatal.

Contact your physician immediately if you experience severe symptoms due to missed doses of your blood pressure medication.

What to do if you miss a blood pressure medication dose

If you miss a dose of your blood pressure medicine, never double up to make up for the missed dose. That can lead to several complications. For example, your blood pressure may drop to dangerously low levels. Thus, you might feel dizzy and empty-headed.

So, what can you do? Well, if you remember in the afternoon that you have missed your morning dose, you can take it then. But, what if you realize it the next day? Continue with your regular dosing schedule without bothering about the missed dose.

In short, take your next dose at the usual time.

When to contact your doctor

You don’t have to worry if you miss one dose of your blood pressure medicine. But if you miss doses regularly, consult your doctor as soon as you experience some unpleasant symptoms.

Monitor your blood pressure levels and see your physician if you notice any drastic changes. Also, check if you are experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Nervousness
  • Nausea
  • Severe headaches

Get in touch with your doctor immediately if you experience any of the above symptoms.

Many patients experience side effects from the medicines. But, you shouldn’t stop your medicine suddenly without your physician’s advice. Check with your doctor if there are other alternatives for the drug.

Tips to help you prevent missed doses in future

Here are some pro tips so that you never forget to take your blood pressure medicines on time.

1. Store your medication where you can see it

You plan to take your pill before going out. But you forget to and realize it only when you are out of home. Does it sound familiar? You can keep some pills in your bag or pockets to prevent such incidents.

At home, try to keep your blood pressure medicines in a convenient place. For instance, you can put them on your bedside table. That will make it easier for you to find them and you will never miss any doses.

2. Always fill your prescription before it runs out

Many patients miss doses of their blood pressure medications because they run out of stock before refilling. That’s why it’s better to plan ahead so that you always have stocks ready.

You might have several things to take care of. So, it’s natural for you to forget. You can set a reminder on your phone. That way you will never skip a dose.

3. Set an alarm to remind you to take your medication

You have bought your medicine from the pharmacist and kept it in a convenient place. But what if you still forget to take the drug at the right time?

Don’t worry. Set a daily alarm on your smartphone. Now whenever your alarm rings at that fixed time of the day, you’ll know it’s time to take your blood pressure medicines.

Don’t forget to check with your pharmacist if you should take your medicine before or after having food. Here are some other questions you must ask your pharmacist while buying medicines.

4. Switch medications if your current one is too expensive

If the cost of your blood pressure medication is too high, talk to your doctor. They will try to find a more affordable alternative for you.

Your physician may prescribe a generic variant of the medicine. That will reduce the cost significantly. They might also reduce your medications and suggest some alternate treatment.

It’s better to be frank with your health care provider. Skipping a medicine because you can’t afford it is the worst idea and can damage your health in the long run.

There are also several assistance programs to help patients in need. You can get their details from your doctor.

5. Speak with your doctor if you are experiencing side effects

Don’t discontinue your medication if you experience side effects. Instead, disclose your problems to your doctor. They will change the medicines prescribed earlier and give you new meds for your treatment.

Check out these essential oils that will help you relax. You can talk to your doctor and use them along with your medicines for hypertension.

Over to you

High blood pressure can lead to a host of health issues. So, make sure you take all the medicines your doctor prescribed. Don’t try to experiment with your drugs and their dosage without your doctor’s advice.

Still confused about your medicines? Health Hero Pharmacy can guide you to beat hypertension and stay healthy. Our expert pharmacists help you stay at the peak of good health.

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Blood Sugar 101 – Why is My Cholesterol Important For My Diabetes?

Are you getting nightmares about your diabetes and cholesterol? Both these conditions can pose serious health risks. Moreover, high blood sugar levels may also lead to high cholesterol. But you can lead a healthy life by keeping both under control.

Read on to know more about the relationship between diabetes and cholesterol levels. Plus, get to know how to manage your blood sugar and cholesterol to stay fit.

What is Cholesterol and Why Should You Monitor It?

Cholesterol is a fatty substance made by your liver. It is present naturally in your blood and circulates in your body.

Cholesterol is an essential component of your body because every cell uses it. It helps your body make Vitamin D and some hormones. It’s also a crucial component of bile.

There are two types of cholesterol in your body: LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein and HDL refers to high-density lipoprotein. While the former is bad cholesterol, the latter is good.

Now, what exactly do these mean? LDL cholesterol travels from your liver to the cells that need it. But higher levels of LDL can cause a build-up of fatty materials in your artery walls, restricting your blood flow. That leads to high blood pressure, increasing the chances of cardiovascular disease.

HDL cholesterol, however, travels from your cells back to the liver where they get broken down. Thus, it is called good cholesterol.

Now you know that high levels of LDL cholesterol lead to heart disease. It increases the chances of heart attack and stroke. That’s why you should monitor your cholesterol levels to ensure you are healthy.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition when your blood sugar levels become too high. It happens when your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or the insulin produced isn’t effective.

Your pancreas produces insulin. This hormone helps the glucose in your blood to enter the cells to provide energy. But, this system doesn’t work if you have diabetes. Thus, there is excess glucose in your blood.

There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.

In Type 1 diabetes, your body’s immune system destroys the cells that produce insulin. While in Type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or the insulin produced doesn’t work.

A blood test can help you detect diabetes. You can’t reverse type 1 diabetes. But you can manage type 2 diabetes with a healthy diet, exercise, and other lifestyle changes.

Diabetes can lead to eye problems, digestive and kidney diseases, and other health issues. So, you should follow a healthy lifestyle and monitor your blood glucose levels regularly if you are diabetic.

How are Cholesterol and Diabetes Related?

If you have diabetes, you are at a greater risk of developing high cholesterol. Let’s see how that works.

Research shows that diabetes can lead to a condition called diabetic dyslipidemia. It reduces the level of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and increases the level of LDL cholesterol ( bad cholesterol) in your body. Thus, the walls of your arteries get blocked, increasing your risk of stroke and heart attacks.

Apart from that, the LDL particles in your body are smaller and denser when you have diabetes. So they easily invade the walls of your blood vessels, causing blocks in your arteries.

A diabetic patient develops insulin resistance. You know that insulin helps in the absorption of glucose to your cells. But it also prevents the breakdown of fats into fatty acids by a process called lipolysis.

Insulin resistance increases the breakdown of fats in your body, increasing the lipid particles in your blood. These include the harmful LDL particles which form plaques in your arteries.

Diabetes also damages the linings of your arteries. So, the LDL particles can easily stick to them, causing blocks.

Even people with regulated glucose levels  can develop diabetic dyslipidemia. But, your risk of developing high cholesterol increases if you don’t monitor and regulate your blood sugar level.

How to Manage Cholesterol and Diabetes?

Living with diabetes and cholesterol can be challenging. It’s crucial to manage your glucose and blood cholesterol levels to lead a healthy life. A healthy diet and regular physical activity will keep your blood sugar and cholesterol levels in check.

Here are some top tips to keep your blood sugar and cholesterol levels healthy.

1. Watch your blood sugar levels and cholesterol numbers carefully

A blood test will help you monitor your glucose and cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association recommends that adults above the age of 20 should check their cholesterol levels every 4 to 6 years.

But if you have diabetes, your doctor will ask you to check your cholesterol levels more frequently. That’s because diabetic patients are at a greater risk of developing heart diseases.

The National Library of Medicine suggested the following cholesterol levels as healthy for adults.

  • Total cholesterol: 125-200 mg/dl
  • LDL cholesterol: less than 100 mg/dl
  • HDL cholesterol: 40 mg/dl for males and 50 mg/dl for females

The normal blood sugar level while fasting ranges from 70 to 99 mg/dl. And it should be less than 140 mg/dl after 2 hours of having your meal.

2. Take your medications as per schedule

Sometimes, diet and exercise might not be enough to lower your cholesterol. Thus, your doctor may prescribe medicines to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

Make sure you take your medications on time. Missing them might lead to complications. Some medicines your doctor might prescribe to reduce cholesterol levels include:

  • Statins
  • Fibrates
  • Bile acid resins
  • PCSK9 inhibitors

Your physician might also advise you to take insulin to keep your blood glucose levels in check.

Are you worried about the side-effects of your medicines? Check out these questions you must ask your pharmacist while buying any medicine.

3. Exercise daily

Regular exercise can help you lead a healthy life and keep your diabetes and cholesterol under control. You can engage in some aerobic exercise daily. It involves any physical activity like brisk walking, running, jogging, cycling, or swimming. That will help you maintain a healthy weight and also lower your blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

The American Diabetes Association suggests people with diabetes exercise for 30 minutes at least 5 days a week. That will also help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends 2 hours and 30 minutes of physical activity every week. What if you don’t get enough time? Well, you can make exercise a part of your daily chores. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator or walk to the grocery store.

4. Try aerobic breathing exercises

Aerobic breathing exercises increase your breathing and heart rate. Thus, the oxygen supply to your body increases. As a result, your muscles get more oxygen to fuel their activity.

When your muscles are active, they draw in glucose from your blood. That reduces your blood sugar levels, thereby lowering the risk of dyslipidemia.

5. Eat healthy meals

Diet impacts your health more than anything. A healthy diet can help eliminate your cholesterol problems.

A Cambridge University study showed that LDL cholesterol levels decreased by 22 to 33% in people having a controlled diet. Their diet contained reduced saturated fats and included healthy foods like nuts.

Foods to consider avoiding

If you have diabetes and are trying to control cholesterol, you should avoid processed foods with added salt and sugar. Stay away from foods with saturated fats like meat, cheese, and dairy desserts. They are high in cholesterol and can increase the risk of heart disease.

Foods to consume regularly

Including whole grains and fiber rich foods in your diet can maintain a healthy weight and lower your cholesterol levels.

You can have more of:

  • Oats
  • Blueberries
  • Flax seed
  • Soybeans
  • Avocado and
  • Salmon

Foods with soluble fiber prevent your digestive tract from absorbing cholesterol. So, make sure you have more whole grains, beans, and fruits like bananas and oranges in your diet.

The CDC recommends you consume more foods with unsaturated fats like nuts, avocado, and vegetable oils like olive oil. These foods help manage high levels of LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL or good cholesterol levels.

6. Reduce your alcohol and cigarette intake

Smoking leads to increased risk of heart disease and stroke. So if you are diabetic, it is better to quit smoking.

You should also lower your alcohol consumption. It makes you overweight and increases your LDL level. Thus, you develop a higher risk of heart diseases.

The CDC recommends females have no more than 1 glass of alcoholic beverage per day while males shouldn’t have more than 2.

Over to you

Living with both high cholesterol and diabetes is challenging. But, you can protect your health by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Follow the tips listed above and don’t forget to stay in touch with your physician.

Confused about where to start? Health Hero Pharmacy can guide you to stay at the peak of good health.

Connect with our expert pharmacists today to take care of your overall health.



Should I Always Get Brand Name Drugs?

You go to a doctor. They prescribe you a brand-name drug. But when you visit the pharmacy, the pharmacist tells you there’s a generic version available of the same drug. Now you are confused. Which one should you choose?

Should you always go for brand name drugs? Are generic drugs effective? Well, generic drugs work the same way as brand name drugs for the most part but there are key differences you should know.

Read on to know more about the difference between brand name and generic drugs. You will also get an idea of which one to choose and when.

What are Brand Name Drugs?

Brand name drugs are marketed and sold by a particular pharmaceutical company that has a patent for the drug. Let’s see how a brand name drug is born.

It all begins with research and development. The pharmaceutical company comes up with a potential new drug through their research. Now the company runs clinical trials and obtains the required approval from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).

Once the company gets a patent for the drug, it is ready for marketing. That’s where the drug gets its brand name. The pharmaceutical company gives a catchy name that’s easy for the general public to remember. That’s one of the reasons why brand name drugs are so popular and often household names.

Differences Between Brand Name and Generic Drugs

Let’s look at detailed differences between brand name drugs and generic medications.

Active ingredients

Generic medicine contains the same active ingredients as its branded counterpart. The active ingredients are the therapeutic or medicinal portion of the drugs that act on your body to cure your illness.

For example, cephradine is an active ingredient present in the brand name drug Velocef. But its generic version—cephradine systemic—also contains the same active ingredient. No matter whether you buy the generic or brand name drug, the active ingredient in both will help fight bacterial infections in your body.

Antihistamines help treat allergies. Most of them have generic versions that are as effective as the brand name medicines because they have the same active ingredients.


Generic versions of drugs are available at 80% to 85% lower costs than the brand name version. There are two reasons behind this huge difference in cost.

Firstly, generic drug manufacturers don’t have to spend money on research and clinical trials. These processes have already been completed by the company that discovered the drug and obtained the patent.

Secondly, the FDA doesn’t set any limit to the number of generic versions of a drug that can be produced. Thus, several pharmaceutical companies produce and sell the generic version of a brand name drug. That creates a competitive market and brings down prices.

Research costs

Brand drug companies incur considerable research costs. They have to spend on research and development before coming up with the final drug. But, a generic drug manufacturer doesn’t incur any research costs.

All the research work is already done by the brand name drug manufacturer. A generic drug company is generally responsible for purely manufacturing the drug and getting it approved by the FDA.

Insurance coverage

Insurance companies prefer generic drugs because they cost less. So, you will get opportunities for full coverage if you use generic medication.

But what if your doctor asks you to take a brand name drug? Chances are your insurance provider will not cover it. However, you can ask your doctor to file an appeal to the company so that they consider covering it.

Some companies cover brand drugs if you pay more for your insurance premium. But what if your insurance company denies coverage for your prescribed brand name drug? Time to go on a discount hunt!

Do your research and see if there are any coupons offered by pharmaceutical companies to reduce your medical expenses.


If brand name and generic drugs look the same, how will you differentiate between them?

Though they have the same active ingredient, different inactive ingredients are present in branded and generic medicines. The inactive ingredients do not react biologically in your body. But, they affect the looks, taste, or smell of the drug.

The U.S. trademark law doesn’t allow generic medications to have the same appearance as their brand name counterparts. However, there are strict standards regarding the extent of difference. That’s because they should have the same quality to pass the FDA approval.

A company has to file an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) if it wants to produce a generic drug. The FDA will check if the generic medication has the same quality as its brand name counterpart.

Though physical differences are allowed, a significant difference can create problems. For instance, the doctor and patients will be unable to identify the drug. Plus, it might also lead to false perceptions among the patients. They can start believing that the drug is less effective.

Approval standards

Generic drugs don’t get FDA approval easily. They have to fulfill certain conditions to get approved.

  • The generic drug should have the same active ingredient as its brand name counterpart.
  • The active ingredient should be present in the right amount. Plus, it should get to the target area in the recommended dosage.
  • The manufacturer should produce the generic drug consistently by following all guidelines.
  • The inactive ingredients in the generic drug should be safe for consumption.
  • The drug should have a suitable box, bottle, or container.
  • The generic drug should have the same effects on the body as its brand name variant.

Making a Choice: Brand Name Drugs vs. Generic Drugs

Here are some considerations to make while choosing between generic and brand name medications.


According to the Office of Generic Drugs, a generic medicine should have the same high quality, purity, and strength as its brand name version. Moreover, the manufacturing and testing sites of generic drugs should pass the same quality standards as brand name drugs.

The American College of Physicians advised doctors to prescribe generic drugs rather than the more expensive brand name variants. That testifies the quality of generic medicines.

Generic drug producers need to submit an Abbreviated New Drug Application to the FDA. They go through a strict approval process before getting the green signal to launch the drug in the market.

Thus, you can trust generic medicines to have the same quality as their brand name version.


Rising medical expenses can give you nightmares. Going for generic medication won’t dig a large hole in your pockets.

A 2017 study showed that 98%brand name medicines witnessed a regular annual or biannual price rise. That makes some expensive drugs unaffordable for common people.

Generic drugs cost 80-85% less than branded ones. That makes them affordable for the masses.

If the branded version of a life-saving drug is too expensive, you can always go for the generic variant.

Insurance coverage

Your insurance company will prefer that you use generic drugs rather than branded ones. That’s because they don’t want to bear the extra cost of brand name medicines.

However, your doctor may ask you to take the branded version of a particular medicine. Or the generic version of a drug might not be available. In that case, you can request your doctor to help you file an appeal with the insurance provider.

Some plans let you choose brand name medicines if you pay an extra premium. Make sure you read all the documents before purchasing your health insurance.

General customer sentiment

The general beliefs and attitudes of customers also influence their purchasing decision while purchasing drugs. Many customers have a belief that generic products are of inferior quality. This view extends to medicines as well.

Sometimes, the opinions of healthcare professionals also impact the views of patients towards generic drugs.

You should do your research rather than relying on established beliefs. Before buying any drug, read its label carefully. That will give you an idea of the composition, risks, and side effects.

Here are some questions you can ask your pharmacist to be sure about the medicines you are buying.

When To Go With Brand Name Drugs

Now you know that generic drugs have the same active ingredients as their brand name counterpart. Moreover, they have a lower price. But some situations might compel you to buy a brand drug. Let’s take a look at them.

No generic versions available

Some medicines might not have a generic version available. For instance, a new drug won’t have a generic version because the manufacturing company’s patent has still not expired. Other pharmaceutical companies can manufacture the generic variant only when the patent expires.

Some special types of drugs might also not have a generic variant. If the branded version is too expensive, you can request your physician for an alternative treatment.

If you have a poor response to the generic drug

Sometimes, your body might respond poorly to a generic drug. It happens rarely. But you can ask your health practitioner for a brand name version if the generic drug doesn’t suit you.

When taking narrow therapeutic index drugs

With some drugs, a minor difference in dose can lead to serious reactions. A study showed that patients experienced severe side effects when switched to a generic epileptic drug.

Try to check the therapeutic index of a drug before using it. The larger the therapeutic index, the safer the drug.



Essential Oils at Health Hero Pharmacy

Health Hero Pharmacy is happy to be able to offer essential oils from Plant Therapy. This essential oils manufacturer provides test reports for all of its products, so you can be sure you’re getting pure, high-quality oils with each purchase.

Consider some of the following benefits of Plant Therapy oils:

  • They offer oils with USDA Organic Certification, meaning they are free from pesticides and made with the conservation of natural resources in mind.

  • Testing is completed via a third party, so you can trust the results.

  • Oils are certified by Cosmetic Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), meaning ingredients, production practices, and packaging conform to the highest standards.

  • Products are never tested on animals.

  • The company is an EPA Green Power Partner and participates in philanthropy efforts like COVID-19 relief.

Available Products

Plant Therapy sells 100% pure essential oils, carrier oils, and CBD oil. All are produced with flawless oils, and anything that does not pass quality tests is sent back. The company is committed to safety, and they offer kid-safe oil blends, as well as downloadable educational information on essential oil use.

Some of the following products are available via Plant Therapy:

  • Single oils, including sandalwood, bergamot, blood orange, cinnamon, frankincense, and lavender

  • Blends, such as a Rainy Days Blend, which includes lemon, coriander, ho wood, orange essence, copaiba oleoresin, fir needle, and amyris

Plant Therapy Essential oils have a variety of uses, and each oil comes with its own benefits. People apply oils topically with a carrier oil or inhale them via a diffuser to enjoy these benefits. They may be used to alleviate skin issues or joint pain, or simply for their relaxing aroma. You can learn more about essential oils by viewing the company’s downloadable educational material.