We are now heading into the hay fever season and we would like to remind you of the products available for you to buy over the counter at your local pharmacy.
You all have our sympathy. Hay fever is unpleasant, although transient and not dangerous. Below is a list of the preparations available without prescription:
- Cetirizine and Loratadine (antihistamines. Buy unbranded products – they are equivalent and much cheaper)
- Beconase or Nasobec nasal steroid spray
- Pirinase – non steroidal anti allergic nasal spray
- Cromoglycate eyedrops
We regret that we have nothing to offer other than the products available without prescription. There are no treatments available on prescription that are better than those without.
You may have heard, or read on line, about immunotherapy involving injections, or the use of steroids. Neither of these are recommended. Injections have, on occasion, caused death or serious injury, and while steroids will improve symptoms, they cannot be used long term, and on stopping the symptoms may come back worse than before.
There are certain times the practice does not routinely prescribe sedatives. The two most frequently requested sedatives are for patients attending for MRI scans and for patients with a fear of flying.
We do not routinely prescribe diazepam for patients attending for MRI scans, as the medication is not meant for use in this way or in these circumstances.
Please be aware we do not routinely provide prescription of sedatives for fear of flying. This policy decision has been made by the GP Partners and is adhered to by all prescribers working in the practice. The reasons for this are as follows:
1) Diazepam is a sedative, which means it makes you sleepy and more relaxed. If there is an emergency during the flight it may impair your ability to concentrate, follow instructions and react to the situation. This could have serious safety consequences for you and those around you.
2) Sedative drugs can make you fall asleep, however when you do sleep it is an unnatural non-REM sleep. This means you won’t move around as much as during natural sleep. This can cause you to be at increased risk of developing a blood clot (DVT) in the leg or even the lung. Blood clots are very dangerous and can even prove fatal. This risk is even greater if your flight is greater than four hours.
3) Whilst most people find benzodiazepines like diazepam sedating, a small number have paradoxical agitation and in aggression. They can also cause disinhibition and lead you to behave in a way that you would not normally. This could impact on your safety as well as that of other passengers and could also get you into trouble with the law.
4) According to the prescribing guidelines doctors follow (BNF) Benzodiazepines are contraindicated (not allowed) in phobia. Your doctor is taking a significant legal risk by prescribing against these guidelines. They are only licensed short term for a crisis in generalised anxiety. If this is the case, you should be getting proper care and support for your mental health and not going on a flight.
5) Diazepam and similar drugs are illegal in a number of countries. They may be confiscated or you may find yourself in trouble with the police.
6) Diazepam stays in your system for quite a while. If your job requires you to submit to random drug testing you may fail this having taken diazepam.
We appreciate that fear of flying is very real and very frightening. A much better approach is to tackle this properly with a Fear of Flying course run by one of the many airlines.
Blood Pressure Readings
If you have previously been diagnosed with either Coronary Heart disease or stroke, or if you have not provided us with a BP reading within the last 5 years, please can we ask that if you have a BP machine at home that you provide us with a reading at your earliest opportunity. Any reading received will be added to your medical record so please include your name, Date of birth, and BP reading on any paperwork provided.
If you do not have a BP machine at home, we will be looking to hold some BP monitoring clinics in the near future. These will be small clinics where patients will be allowed in one at a time to use the waiting room BP monitor under supervision and following COVID guidelines.
Berkshire Primary Care Ltd are progressing well with vaccinating our patients with the COVID vaccine. They are currently contacting and vaccinating everyone in groups 1-6. They will be starting to call group 7 very soon, and then it is hoped they will move swiftly through groups 7-9 due to more vaccines becoming available in the coming weeks.
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