Health alert to Muslims

Pharmacist giving health information leaflet to woman holding child.

Pharmacist giving health information leaflet to woman holding child.

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Pharmacists across Derbyshire are offering support and advice to patients during the period of Ramadan.

There are 21,000 Muslims in Derbyshire, many of whom are currently observing fasts until the first week of July.

Eating, drinking (including water), smoking and administration of medicines orally and intravenously are prohibited during this time. However, these activities can continue at dusk until the next fast resumes at dawn.

John Sargeant , chairman of Derbyshire Local Pharmaceutical Committee, said: “Pharmacists can offer professional advice on the management of medicines and can also speak with the patient’s GP to make any necessary changes to their medicines regime during this time.

“Patients with long-term conditions, such as diabetes, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, high blood pressure or heart disease, need to seek medical advice from their pharmacist and GP and should not stop or alter any prescribed medicines without consultation.

“We also advise that each patient is different and responds to medicines in different ways. Patients should be advised not to blindly follow someone with a similar condition to them. Each case requires patient specific management of both the condition and the medicines.”

Derbyshire Local Pharmaceutical Committee has put together a list of facts regarding medication and fasting which include:

l Patients with long-term medical conditions who are taking multiple medicines can continue to fast, as long as their condition is stable. However, this may require the alteration of some of the patient’s medicines to a different formulation or revised dose timings

l Patients with acute medical conditions, such as chest infection, migraine and toothache, can continue to fast, providing they are able to control their symptoms with their medicines outside of the fasting time and with the prior knowledge of their pharmacist and GP.

l Patients with unstable medical conditions should avoid fasting if it is likely to make their condition worse in the short or long term. This may also apply to patients who are on specific medicines, such as insulin for diabetes or certain types of antibiotics for serious infections.

John Sargeant added: “Fasting during Ramadan is obligatory for almost all Muslims. However, the Qur’an states that those who are exempt from fasting include those suffering with a chronic illness, where fasting can cause detriment to health.”