The past few months have really opened my eyes to the unique position I have in regards to food allergies (FA) and medication. Since my son was diagnosed with SEVERE allergies to egg, soy, peanuts (PN) and tree nuts (TN), I have become an enthusiastic food allergy education advocate (especially in regards to educating pharmacists and pharmacy techs as well as helping the newly diagnosed navigate some of the immediate necessities of dealing with food allergies). I grew up used to food allergies–my sister has a milk protein allergy. But, until I really had to contend with multiple severe food allergies as a mom, I didn’t have the true understanding of what it meant to live with FA.
This blog is not meant to replace the relationship that you have with your pharmacist. As a matter of fact, my hope is that this blog will enhance the relationship you have with your pharmacist. It is my belief that the pharmacist (and pharmacy tech) is the BEST and LAST line of defense when it comes to food allergies and medicine. That being said, most pharmacists and pharmacy techs are unaware of the food allergies that are hidden in the medications they dispense. It’s not that they don’t care, it is honestly that they just DON’T KNOW. Pharmacists are not formally educated about food allergies; at this point, unless they have been personally affected by food allergies, it’s not even on their radar. One of my goals is to make food allergy questioning a staple at every pharmacy.
I have been working in various pharmacy settings as an intern and ultimately as a pharmacist (with a Doctorate of Pharmacy) for close to 14 years. These experiences have allowed me to educate thousands of people about medication “adverse reactions” (aka side effects), use and storage, as well as insurance issues and food allergies. I will always strive to give up-to-date, factual information. I will also cite and, when possible, link sources so that everyone may read the data and become empowered to ask questions! That being said, please keep in mind that the art and science of medicine is always changing. Just like we read ingredient labels before each purchase because recipes change, inactive ingredients in medications change and studies discover new links and interactions. We must be vigilant with medications just as we would with food. Any information discussed should be verified with your healthcare provider as you and your provider decide what is best for your particular situation. Ultimately, I want everyone to use this information as a jumping off point to speak with your pharmacist, allergist, etc., to open lines of communication, and to ask the questions that need to be addressed with regards to food allergies and medications. You are your best advocate. Education is the key.
Finally, I would like to thank Homa Woodrum of http://ohmahdeehness.wordpress.com/ for encouraging me to start this blog.