Frequently Asked Questions
How to Self-Inject Methotrexate
How to Inject using a Pre-filled Syringe
How to Inject using an Autoinjector
Information to come
HIV Information and Resources
HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus is a virus that slowly weakens your body’s defences against infections and diseases. HIV weakens your immune system. If HIV is untreated over a long time your body cannot fight off serious or fatal illnesses. There is no cure for HIV but current treatments can help you stay healthy.
Drug therapy for HIV is known as antiretroviral therapy. There are numerous drugs for HIV. These drugs are taken in combination and work to suppress HIV. Taking HIV drugs will suppress the virus and allow your body to fight infections and diseases. With good suppression of HIV most people with HIV should live a normal lifespan.
Antiretrovirals are not the only way to stay healthy. You must also look after your general health through a good diet, exercise and sleep routine.
Drug treatment of any kind may cause side effects which can be minor or serious. Most people find they can deal with the challenges of HIV treatment with helpful advice from their doctor or our HIV pharmacist.
It is very important that you take your medications on a regular consistent schedule. Regular drug schedules put pressure on HIV so that the virus cannot replicate successfully. Talk with your doctor or our pharmacist about the best ways to incorporate a regular drug schedule in to your life.
A comprehensive guide to HIV treatment is available at www.catie.ca.
Read more about HIV Diet - Wellness Report click here
What is the main concern being on a biologic medication?
The main concern while on a biologic is that the immune system is lowered slightly which may make it harder for you to fight off an infection. We advise you to hold off on your next dose if you have any sign of infection until it is resolved. Taking your biologic dose could make the infection last longer or even cause the chance of it becoming worse. The home injections can sometimes cause an itch or irritation at the injection site. Most patients on biologics tolerate without any trouble. We advise some blood tests as ordered by your doctor to monitor for rare adverse effects such as low blood counts.
Hepatitis Information and Resources
Lack of energy (lethargy)
Jaundice (yellowish eyes and skin)
Anyone who has done something to put them at risk (risky sex, IV drug use, sharing a crack pipe)
Anyone who has symptoms of hepatitis (fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, lethargy, abdominal pain,
jaundice or dark urine)
Anyone who has lived in India, Pakistan, Vietnam, Egypt or south Italy and has been exposed to blood products, medical procedures or vaccinations.
Flu Vaccine Information
Why was I put on a biologic?
What is a biologic medication?
Biologics are a category of drugs that genetically engineered proteins derived from human genes. They are designed to inhibit specific components of the immune system that play pivotal roles in fueling inflammation, which is a central feature of rheumatoid arthritis.
How do biologics treat rheumatoid arthritis?
Biologics are used to treat moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis that has not responded adequately to other treatments. They differ significantly from traditional drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis in that they target specific components of the immune system instead of broadly affecting many areas of the immune system. Biologics may be used alone but are commonly given along with other rheumatoid arthritis medications.Biologics have been shown to help slow progression of rheumatoid arthritis when all other treatments have failed to do so. Aggressive rheumatoid arthritis treatment is known to help prevent long-term disability from RA.
What are the long-term effects of a biologic?
Some biologics such as the anti-TNF medications have been approved in Canada for 15 years and have been studied long term here and in many other countries. Fortunately, serious adverse effects have been rare. They do not appear to affect the liver or kidney long term with the exception of the more recent product Actemra, which requires liver testing. There has been concern over the slight risk of lymphoma with the biologics. Many countries have monitored this risk for 10 years and longer and concluded that in adults, the autoimmune disease itself increases the lymphoma risk similar to the lymphoma risk while on a biologic. Still, patients should be aware of rare reports of lymphoma as well as lupus, seizures, MS, and recurring infections. Biologics have not been used in children for as long and there is less data on long term safety in children.
How long will I be on this medication for?
Indefinitely. There are occasions, especially for those newly diagnosed, where these treatments can knock the disease into remission. Most patients require ongoing treatment to continue to feel the benefit. There have been patients on a biologic for 10 years or longer. Some patients who remain symptom free for long periods can discuss with their specialist if they can try without medication. Recognize that autoimmune diseases are chronic and stress, illness, and other factors can bring on a flare-up.
What are the side effects of a biologic?
The most common side effect seen with biologics is pain and rash at the injection site. This occurs in less than 30% of patients. Patients taking biologics should seek immediate medical attention if they develop persistent fever or unexplained symptoms. Vaccinations that prevent infections should be considered prior to administration of biologics. Patients should not receive live vaccines while taking biologic medications.
Why do I have both a nurse and a pharmacist involved in my medication?
We provide medication training and continued support. The nurse is for injection training and the pharmacist is your direct link to training on the medication. NKS Health differs from typical pharmacies. We focus on a few chronic disease states and highly train our pharmacists to provide the most current treatment information to our patients. Pharmacists and nurses have different skill sets and work together as part of your team with your physician in healthcare to give you the best information and follow up to improve your disease state. Our pharmacist pays a personal visit to biologic patients in their home.
How will I know when to take this medication?
How will I pay for this medication and can NKS Health help me?
What else can I do to improve my condition?
Where can I get more information on my disease state?