The Pharmacist Answers Podcast

Have a question for the pharmacist? Get your answers here! Clear explanations about complicated medical topics that anyone can understand. Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog and related podcast are not to be taken as medical advice, they are for informational and educational purposes only. If you resemble anything that is mentioned in this blog or related podcast, contact your doctor. The information contained in this blog and related podcasts is the opinion of the author and does not relfect the views of her employer, Walgreens. If you want to know what Walgreens thinks, ask Walgreens!
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Now displaying: October, 2015
Oct 26, 2015

Yeast infection = fungal infection

Miconazole = -azole antifungal

Miconazole = Monistat

Yeast, or fungus, can affect any part of your skin.

The medicine in the tube doesn’t care what body part you put it on, but the product manufacturer’s try to convince you that it does by changing the labeling on the package.

Oct 19, 2015

Let’s Review!


Liver contributes to:


1. Digesting your food

2. Metabolizing the energy from your food

3. Storage of Vitamins

4. Detoxing waste and toxins from your blood

5. Production of factors involved in blood clotting


Lastly, your liver keeps your healthy by aiding your immune system.


This is the last time we get to see this guy! *sad*


The last part of the lobule to be discussed is the sinusoids.  Sinuses and sinusoids describe the space between (think about the sinuses in your your face - they are actually just holes and tubes through the bones of your face and skull that allow for empty space).


Sinusoids are lined with Kupffer cells (actually pronounced “Coop-fur”; I said it wrong on the broadcast - blame it on the accent).  Kupffer cells are a part of your immune system (remember that your immune cells flow through the lymph system that parallels your blood vessels).  Some of the cells involved in your immune system are called macrophages (big eater).  When they find something that’s not supposed to be there, they gobble it up and carry it off to be disposed of or dissolve it into it’s basic parts and makes it safe.


To summarize: Kupffer cells are macrophages that are stationed in the sinusoids of your lobules of your liver.


So, if you’ve had an infection and you start to get better, where do all the dead bacteria go?  They end up floating around in your blood and the Kupffer cells will gobble them up.  They will do this for bacteria, fungi, and micro-parasites that they encounter.  They also gobble up dead red blood cells and get them out of circulation.  Other types of cells in your body die periodically and they, too, get gobbled up by Kupffer cells and have their parts recycled.


Dying cells and bacteria can release toxins if you had to wait on them to break down and dissolve on your own.


The liver is very efficient at all the things it does. Without your liver, processes that help your body thrive would take too long for you to reap the benefits.

Oct 12, 2015

Most of the liver’s jobs have to do with taking things away from your blood supply or taking them apart.


Your liver produces 3 important components found in your blood.  Two of them are involved in helping your blood clot.  The third is involved in keeping your blood watery.


1. Prothrombin


The prefix “pro-“ means “starter” or “before”.  Like “prologue” or “prodrugs”.  In medicine, it usually means that it’s the starter piece but something has to happen to it (metabolism) for it to become useable.

Not Prozac…brand names of medications are developed by highly paid branding and marketing professionals.


Prothrombin gets activated into Thrombin when your body gets hurt and sends a signal that it needs help to stop the bleeding.


2. Fibrinogen


The suffix “-gen” means “creating” or “starter”.  Fibrinogen gets activated into Fibrin.


So…. you get cut…. *ouch*

“I’m bleeding!”

The clotting cascade starts (way too complicated for this discussion).

When it gets to clotting factor X (ten).

CF X activates Prothrombin into Thrombin

Thrombin activates Fibrinogen into Fibrin


Fibrin - sounds like “fiber”.  Fibrin is a protein.  Some proteins are globular proteins - they are balled up in globs.  Fibrous proteins are nice and stringy like fibers.  So, Fibrin is fibrous.


Fibrin lays down a matrix over the wound and then the platelets that are floating around in your blood collect on the Fibrin and plugs the hole.


You want the blood in your body to stay liquid. You need the blood flowing out of your body to harden and stop.


3.  Albumin (also found in the white parts of eggs).


It helps maintain the watery-ness of your blood.  They maintain the osmotic pressure of your blood (there’s a big enough difference from the inside of a cell and the outside of the cell to allow the fluid to push through the membrane without needing a portal).  If the pressure on both sides is the same, nutrients and chemicals will not transfer.


Albumin also helps the blood stay isotonic (same saltiness).  You don’t want the fluid in your blood to be more salty than the fluid in your cells because the water will flow out of the cells into the blood to try and dilute it.  But you don’t want the cells to be more salty either because the water will flow the other way and you won’t have enough liquid in your blood.


So, your liver takes the building blocks (amino acids) and puts them together to build these proteins.

Oct 5, 2015

100,000 lobules - get counting!


The hepatocytes contains enzymes.  Enzymes are catalysts.  While a lot of processes would probably happen naturally, they would be too slow to do us any good.  Enzymes make those natural changes happen faster.

Think of an assembly line worker that does they same action over and over again on each piece being made.  That’s how enzymes work.


Things that have floated around your body and done their job (i.e. drugs, hormones), the liver brings them back in and breaks them apart into inactive parts so they can be disposed of in one of your waste systems (urine or poo).


A lot of drugs to through the liver to become active and sent out to do a job, or to be deactivated after the job is done.  You don’t want those things to stay around forever because they can become toxic.


Your liver also detoxes your body of used up hormones.  Your body produces fresh ones as you need them, so the old ones need to be gotten rid of.


The most popular job that your liver does is filtering out alcohol.  Science says an average liver can process 1 standard alcoholic drink per hour (for some people that’s longer - up to 4 hours).


Thus you have to be careful with cocktails and mixed drinks due to the different types of alcohol that get added together.  1 drink DOES NOT equal 1 glass!



Liver cleanses your blood of:

1. Drugs

2. Hormones

     - Sex hormones

     - Adrenaline

     - Cortisol

3. Alcohol


Thank your liver!!