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Q. How do you help Members who come to you asking about ways to improve their cognition and memory?

A. It’s important to find the causes for loss or clouding of cognition and memory. I ask the Member if he or she is getting enough sleep and eating healthy meals and about his or her general well-being. Patients may not realize that difficulty with cognition and memory may be symptoms of an underlying condition such as depression or anxiety.

Q. What other possible causes do you consider?

A. It’s important to check the patients medication profile for anything that may affect memory and cognition. For example, diphenhydramine, a common over-the-counter (OTC) allergy and sleep medication, may cause a decline in cognition in elderly patients. Therefore, it is important that patients tell their pharmacists about any OTC medications they’ve been taking. If the cognitive deficit is significant, I may recommend that a patient see a physician to rule out other causes.

Q. Spring is allergy season. Whats your advice for seasonal allergies and hay fever?

A. Patients should keep windows closed, minimize the time they spend outside, and wash their hair and change their clothes when they return from the outdoors. Pharmacotherapy can be tailored to each patient. Prescription and OTC antihistamines and nasal decongestants can treat symptoms of allergies or hay fever.

Q. What should Members not do when dealing with allergies?

A. It is important for patients to not self-medicate. Speak to a pharmacist or health care professional before buying medications for allergies and hay fever. Medications have various potential side effects, drug interactions may occur and health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or hypothyroidism may be aggravated by allergy medications