Roosevelt University Pharmacy Students Explore Use and Abuse of Over-the-counter Medications

Harper EventCHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–November 20, 2015.  Four teams of Roosevelt pharmacy students from the Class of 2017 have won awards this fall for patient-education posters that can help the public in dealing with common ailments frequently treated with over-the-counter medications. (The posters were presented at Harper College in Palatine during the annual Patient Education Poster Symposium, which is pictured above).


Camille Andres, Joellitta Anson, Cony Hartnett, Edward Loy, Amanda Mertsching and Justin Santos won first place for the poster addressing and treating infant teething.  (Pictured at right).

Second place winners were Harmeet Brar, Jesvin Chacko, Brett Dunham, Anthony Gasso, Zahra Soukar and Jovante Wallace, whose poster presented over-the-counter medications that can be poisonous to young children.

Two teams of second-year students from the College of Pharmacy shared third-place honors. They included Jordan Faison, Stacy Harthan, Ed Principe, Freddy Sonfack and Jenny Vyskocil, for a poster about heartburn and best ways to treat the condition, and Sarah Adekola, Lezley Diaz, Ibrahim Hugais, Evelyn Martinez, Shantelle Prasad and Remeen Yaldo for a poster about the growing problem of sleep deprivation among teens.

The posters were among 11 presented recently during the college’s annual Patient Education Poster Symposium held for the first time this fall at Harper.

“We had some interesting topics and our students had the opportunity to practice patient education with the public,” said Jucimara Markoff, a Roosevelt clinical science instructor and the organizer of the event that attracted dozens of Harper and Roosevelt community members.

Cony Hartnett, team representative for “One tooth, two teeth! How to comfort your baby while teething,” said the winning poster outlined misconceptions about symptoms related to teething and also provided guidelines for treating the condition.

“We recommend, above all, trying non-drug measures like massaging the baby’s gums with a cool wash cloth. Over the counter medications should be a last resort,” said Hartnett of the project that found over-the-counter medications that are intended for oral conditions aren’t always safe for babies, particularly if those medications contain benzocaine.

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Andrew Gasso, spokesperson of the team that created “Preventing Medication Overdoses in Adolescents,” (pictured at left) said it was disheartening to learn there were so many over-the-counter products – allergy medications, vitamins and vapor rubs are just a few – that can be lethal if ingested by young children.

“Our project focused on trying to help people prevent their kids from getting hold of over-the-counter medications,” said Gasso, whose team recommended locking cabinets, using pillboxes, putting medications out of site/reach, and under lock and key when possible.

“There was a great turnout and it gave us the opportunity to take what we learned and share the information with other people, which is what pharmacists do every day,” said Gasso.


Stacy Harthan, team representative of a third-place poster on heartburn (pictured at right) said everybody from professors to students had questions about a condition that has affected millions of Americans. “There was a lot of activity in our area and I felt like we were able to convey information and teach people outside our community about heartburn and some of its triggers,” she said.

Sarah Adekola, spokesperson for the other third-place team, said members worked together, first to determine whether sleep deprivation among teens was a problem. After discovering that 70 percent of teens aren’t getting proper sleep, the team developed tips for improving teens’ sleeping times and patterns.

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“We had a very interesting topic and there were a lot parents as well as students asking us for advice,” said Adekola, whose poster (pictured at left) included tips to improve sleep hygiene, the importance of making the bedroom dark and putting cell phones out of reach during sleeptime, focusing on a relaxing activity before bedtime and maintaining the same sleep schedule nightly.