The medSask newsletter is a monthly publication curated for pharmacists in Saskatchewan. Through our newsletter, we highlight information and resources to support pharmacists through practice changes, minor ailment prescribing, and drug shortages. The newsletter also includes frequently asked questions we receive through our health care professional line.
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Recent Editions

December 22, 2022: Biosimilars and Drug Shortages

  • The medSask newsletter is now posted on our website.
  • Drug shortage updates: spironolactone, Estrogel® and antibiotic suspensions
  • COVID-19 fall/winter booster program: updates to eligibility based on date of last dose
  • Saskatchewan Biosimilars Initiative: biosimilar bookmarks
  • Influenza prescribing guidelines: 8 minute video summarizing key points for antiviral prescribing
  • From the medSask database
    • Carmen’s Resource Share: LactMed
    • Holiday hours
  • Share your feedback with medSask! Help us create a valuable newsletter each month by completing a short (2-minute) survey.
  1. medSask. medSask newsletter [Internet]. Saskatoon, SK; 2022 [cited 2022 Dec 15]. Available from: https://medsask.usask.ca/professional-practice/medsask-newsletter.php#RecentEditions
  2. medSask. Drug Shortages and Discontinuations [Internet]. Saskatoon, SK; 2022 [cited 2022 Dec 15]. Available from: https://medsask.usask.ca/professional-practice/drug-shortages.php
  3. Grindrod K, Barrett B, Killeen R. How to rethink Antibiotic Prescriptions. Pharmacy5in5. [Internet]. University of Waterloo; 2019 [2022 Dec 16]. Available from: https://uwaterloo.ca/pharmacy/sites/ca.pharmacy/files/uploads/files/ams-clinician-infographic_0.pdf
  4. eHealth Saskatchewan. Biologic Products. Saskatchewan Immunization Manual. Government of Saskatchewan. [updated 2022 Dec; cited 15 Dec 2022] Available from: https://www.ehealthsask.ca/services/Manuals/Documents/sim-chapter10.pdf
  5. Health Canada [Internet]. Ottawa, ON: Government of Canada. Biosimilar biologic drugs in Canada: Fact Sheet; 2019 [cited 2022 Dec 19]; [10 pages]. Available from: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/biologics-radiopharmaceuticals-genetic-therapies/applications-submissions/guidance-documents/fact-sheet-biosimilars.html
  6. Biosimilar Drugs: Your Questions Answered. [Internet]. Canada’s Drug and Health Technology Agency; 2021 April [cited 2022 Dec 15]. Available https://www.cadth.ca/sites/default/files/pdf/biosimilar_drugs_patient_tool.pdf
  7. CDHFtube. IBD: Switching from a Biologic to a Biosimilar [video file]. 2021 March [cited 2022 Dec 15]. Available from: https://cdhf.ca/en/switching-from-a-biologic-to-a-biosimilar/
  8. Arthritis Society Canada [Internet]. Toronto, ON: Arthritis Society Canada; 2022. Biologics and Biosimilars for the Treatment of Inflammatory Arthritis; [cited 2022 Dec 15]; [11 pages]. Available from: https://arthritis.ca/treatment/medication/biologics-and-biosimilars
  9. Arthritis Research Canada. Biosimilars: What You Need to Know [video file]. 2021 May [cited 2022 Dec 19]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsK15BzXZEI
  10. Mertens C, Rothblatt Z. Breaking Down Biosimilars [Internet]. Upper Nyack, NY: Global Health Living Foundation; 2021-2022 [cited 2022 Dec 19]. Available from: https://ghlf.org/breaking-down-biosimilars/
  11. medSask. Influenza Minor Ailments Prescribing Guidelines [video file]. 21 Dec 2022. Accessed 22 Dec 2022. Available from: https://us06web.zoom.us/rec/play/CmYnoabl9MNm5k0oPEx530ODzVMJtSZVF9u67cJnzaRLLv7-5EpRkd9MzYj6PiPw8GuRfB91c-Grsffp.TTRvvhuyVUYAA5Ls?continueMode=true&_x_zm_rtaid=q3_7n1sZS4unVKdbEzcXLg.1671737322584.894243c5111446a86529fe36d2903238&_x_zm_rhtaid=274
  12. Toxnet Toxicology Data Network.  Drugs and lactation database (LactMed) [homepage on the Internet].  Bethesda, MD: U.S. National Library of Medicine; 2016- [cited 2022 Dec 15].  Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK501922/

December 9th: medSask Special Edition: Influenza

  • Oseltamivir Availability: update on supply and alternative administration
  • Managing influenza symptoms at home 
  • Co-infection: COVID-19? Influenza? or Both?
  • How to use the Relenza (zanamivir) Diskhaler
  • Key Points & Highlights from the Influenza Minor Ailment Guidelines

Influenza Newsletter – special edition. References are recorded in the order in which they appear.  

  1. medSask. Influenza minor ailment guidelines. [Internet]. Saskatoon, SK; [updated Nov 2022; cited 6 Dec 2022]. Available from: https://medsask.usask.ca/professional-practice/restricted-guidelines/influenza.php
  2. Bareham J, Regier L, Kosar L, et al. Medication Administration Challenges in Older Adults: To Crush or Not to Crush List. Geri-RxFiles. 3rd ed. Saskatoon, SK: University of Saskatchewan; 2019. p. 181-191.
  3. CPS [Internet]. Ottawa (ON): Canadian Pharmacists Association; c2021 [updated 2020 Feb 7; cited 2022 Dec 6]. Tamiflu [product monograph]. Available from: http://www.e-cps.ca or https://pdf.hres.ca/dpd_pm/00067405.PDF
  4. At Home with COVID-19 or Influenza? [Internet].  medSask; 28 Nov 2022 [6 Dec 2022]. Available from: https://medsask.usask.ca/documents/covid-documents/managing-covid-19-flu-at-home.pdf
  5. CPS [Internet]. Ottawa (ON): Canadian Pharmacists Association; c2021 [cited 2022 Dec 6]. Available from: http://www.e-cps.ca or http://www.myrxtx.ca. Also available in paper copy from the publisher.
  6. DynaMed [Internet]. Ipswich (MA): EBSCO Publishing. 1995 – 2012.[cited 2022 Dec 6]. Available from http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/. Registration and login required.
  7. Up to Date [Internet]. Wolters Kluwer N.V. 2022. [cited 2022 Dec 6]. Available from: https://www.uptodate.com. Subscription required.
  8. Playforth K. The Pediatrician Mom blog [Internet] Virginia: The Pediatrician Mom. 2022. [cited 2022 Dec 6]. Available from: https://www.thepediatricianmom.com/blog
  9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [Internet]. Atlanta, GA. Similarities and Differences between Flu and COVID-19; 2022 Sept 28 [cited 2022 Dec 6]; [6 pages]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/flu-vs-covid19.htm#print
  10. Relenza Prescribing Information. GSK Products [Internet]. GlaxoSmithKline; 2008 [updated 2021 October; cited 2022 Dec 6]. Available from: https://gskpro.com/content/dam/global/hcpportal/en_US/Prescribing_Information/Relenza/pdf/RELENZA-PI-PIL-IFU.PDF
  11. CPS [Internet]. Ottawa (ON): Canadian Pharmacists Association; c2021 [updated 2018 July 20; cited 2022 Dec 6]. Relenza [product monograph]. Available from: http://www.e-cps.ca or  https://pdf.hres.ca/dpd_pm/00046474.PDF
  12. Medicines Org Uk. How to use your diskhaler [video file]. 2010 [cited 2022 Dec 6]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wak2lw_4GjM
  13. Influenza Q & A [internet]. Immunize Canada; 2022 [cited 2022 Dec 6]. Available from: https://immunize.ca/sites/default/files/Resource%20and%20Product%20Uploads%20(PDFs)/Campaigns/Influenza/2022-2023/influenza_q_and_a_2022_web_e.pdf

November 30th: Drug Shortages and Biosimilars

This edition of the newsletter covers the following content:

  • Professional Practice
    • medSask drug shortage resources: amoxicillin, propranolol, Twinrix®Jr. and spironolactone
    • Using adult pain and fever medication in children and adolescents
    • Paxlovid™ expiry extension - UPDATED infographic to communicate adjusted expiry
  • The Saskatchewan Biosimilars Initiative
  • From the medSask database
    • Ozempic® for weight loss?
    • Kerrie’s Resource Share: Canadian Immunization Guide (CIG)
  • Share your feedback with us! Help us create a valuable newsletter each month by completing a short survey. 

October 28th: Acetaminophen Shortage and Paxlovid

This edition of the newsletter covers the following content:

  • Bivalent COVID-19 vaccines currently available in Saskatchewan 
    • Assessing for bivalent vaccine eligibility & confirming valid primary series 
  • Options for influenza vaccine in 65+
  • The Saskatchewan Biosimilars Initiative 
  • Updating your Paxlovid™ prescribing/dispensing status with DPEBB
  • Providing FREE take home naloxone kits within your pharmacy or practice site
  • Acetaminophen Shortage Infographic QR Code Update 
  • Translation services for medSask callers 
  • From the medSask database 
    • Changes to Prevnar®13 availability – Update
    • Dorothy's resource share: Canadian ADHD Practice Guidelines

October 17th: Special Edition on Acetaminophen Shortage

This is a special edition of the medSask newsletter highlighting the Acetaminophen shortage and what pharmacists can and cannot do to manage the shortage. This edition of the newsletter covers the following content:

  • Can pharmacists provide compounded acetaminophen suspension?
  • Signage for your pharmacy (education for the general public)
  • Offering alternatives to acetaminophen
  • Key information about prescribing, compounding, and dispensing acetaminophen suspension.

September 29th: Spikevax™ and Influenza Resources

This edition of the newsletter covers the following content:
  • Moderna Spikevax™ Bivalent as a booster dose in Saskatchewan
  • Optimizing a vaccination appointment: giving COVID-19 booster dose with influenza vaccine 
  • Influenza immunization resources
  • Navigating the acetaminophen shortage 
  • From the medSask database: Prevnar 20™ and doxepin for itch 
No part of this work may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the copyright holder. For copyright permission requests, please contact druginfo@usask.ca.