NuCara in Pleasant Hill Adds New Natural Product Line

By: Julia Johnson, MHA, CPhT

Your NuCara Pharmacy in Pleasant Hill has a special integrative approach to healthcare and carries several natural products designed to help each person reach their maximum health potential. The pharmacy’s newest addition of natural products is the renowned Young Living brand of essential oils. The popularity of essential oils is rapidly growing due to their ability to act as natural medicine without any side effects. The medicinal benefits derive from the oils’ antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Essential oils (EOs) are concentrated liquids containing volatile aroma compounds from plants and have been used medicinally for thousands of years. Although EOs have declined in evidence-based medicine, they are reemerging as the popularity of aromatherapy and natural medicine increases. Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine intended to support overall health and wellbeing through the aroma of EOs. Aromatherapy goes beyond appealing smells by offering some of the following health benefits:
• Relaxation and stress relief
• Mood enhancement
• Relief of minor discomforts
• Boosting the immune and respiratory systems

In addition to their aromatic uses, essential oils can be used topically and in some cases internally. Not all EOs can be ingested, so it is important to read their labels carefully.
Listed below are a few common essential oils and some of their uses:
• Lavender: Known for its calming properties, wound healing, insect bites and reduces inflammation.
• Peppermint: Provides natural boost of energy, improves mental alertness, relieves/reduces migraines, alleviates symptoms of congestion and aids in digestion.
• Lemon: Has antiviral properties, great for cleaning, uplifting, and detoxing.
• Frankincense: Strengthens immune system and soothes inflamed skin conditions.

The Young Living essential oils are 100% pure, therapeutic-grade oils. Young Living is confident with their purity and authenticity claims due to their patented Seed to Seal process. This five-step process applies the most rigorous quality controls possible to ensure consumers are receiving essential oils the way nature intended.

Overall, essential oils can be a great natural, complementary health treatment in a variety of situations. However, due to a lack of scientific evidence, EOs should not replace traditional medical treatments recommended by your doctor. It is suggested to do research and talk with qualified individuals before using EOs.

For more information and ideas on how to use essential oils, visit Young Living’s official blog:

NuCara Continues to Lead the Way in Telepharmacy

Brett Barker, Director of Operations at NuCara says, ” “We also are using Telepharm for respiratory therapy. Let’s say we have a patient that’s an hour away and an issue about his therapy comes up. With Telepharm we can take the respiratory therapist right into his living room on his iPad.”

Find out more information about innovative ways NuCara is using Telepharmacy here…


Bone Basics: How To Keep Your Bones Healthy

by NuCara Intern, Deann Lawin, PharmD Candidate, Class of 2016, University of Iowa College of Pharmacy

In honor of National Osteoporosis month we are going to talk about some bone basics. To start, what is osteoporosis? Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones that happens when you make too little bone, lose too much bone, or both. It can make your bones weak and easy to fracture or break. There are a few things you can do to keep your bones healthier and prevent falls and fractures, each topic is discussed below.

Get Enough Calcium Each Day.

Calcium is the material your body uses to build bones. Getting enough calcium daily allows your body to build up your bones and helps decrease the breakdown of them. Calcium can be found in foods and supplements such as multivitamins. The amount of calcium you need varies with age and gender.


Calcium can be found in many foods. Dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese are great sources of calcium. Some leafy green vegetables also contain calcium. Another food source is soymilk, cereals, and juices that have calcium added to them. To determine the amount of calcium in each food source you can check the nutrition label. The percentage given is based on a daily value of 1,000mg, so for example 30% would be 300mg of calcium, and 15% would be 150mg of calcium.

If you are unable to get the recommended amount of calcium from foods you can use supplements. Calcium supplements come in pill and chewable forms. Calcium may also be found in multivitamins, but be sure to check the label. Your pharmacist can help you find the best supplement for you, just ask for their help!

Get Enough Vitamin D Each Day.

Your body needs vitamin D in order to use the calcium you take in. If you don’t get enough vitamin D, the calcium you take in will not be used. The amount of vitamin D you need varies with age.


*Some people will need more vitamin D. If your doctor recommends a higher amount, follow their directions.

Vitamin D can be found in foods and supplements as well as sunlight. Sunlight helps your body make its own vitamin D. Sunscreen can block your body from making vitamin D, but is very important due to the risk of skin cancer. Thankfully there are other ways for us to get the vitamin D we need.

Good food sources of vitamin D include fatty fish such as tuna or salmon. Vitamin D is also added to foods like milk, soymilk, juices and cereals. To determine the amount of vitamin D in each food look at the nutrition label. The percentage given is based on a daily value of 400 IU, so for example 25% would be 100 IU of vitamin D, and 10% would be 40 IU of vitamin D.

If you are unable to get the recommended amount of vitamin D from sun or foods a supplement should be used. Vitamin D can be found in multivitamins, and is often included in calcium supplements. If you need help choosing a vitamin D supplement, ask your pharmacist for help.


There are two main types of exercise, weight bearing and muscle strengthening. Weight bearing exercises help keep bones strong and include activities such as dancing, jogging, walking, stair climbing, using the elliptical, and many more. Muscle strengthening exercises also help keep bones strong and include activities such as weight lifting, lifting your own body weight, yoga, pilates, and many more. There are also balance and posture exercises that can help reduce risk of falls and fractures, including Tai Chi and yoga.

*Before starting a new work out be sure to consult your doctor to make sure it is safe for you

Avoid Tobacco and Excessive Alcohol Intake.

Tobacco products such as cigarettes and chewing tobacco are related to many poor health outcomes, including increasing your risk for osteoporosis.

Drinking alcohol can lead to bone loss and increase your risk of falls and fractures or breaks. You should limit alcohol to no more than 2-3 drinks per day.

For more information on osteoporosis and ways to keep your bones healthy you can visit The National Osteoporosis Foundation at

Johnsrud Celebrated for Lifetime Achievement

TJ Johnsrud 1

In a symposium held on Thursday, October 9, the College of Pharmacy celebrated the recipient of the 2014 Osterhaus Medal for Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Thomas J. Johnsrud.

TJ Johnsrud is a 1966 graduate of the college and is the founder and president of NuCara Management Group, LLC, headquartered in Conrad, Iowa, which oversees pharmacy locations in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota and Texas. He has been honored for his commitment to excellence in pharmacy in Iowa with the 1991 Bowl of Hygiea, the 2001 Robert G. Gibbs Distinguished Pharmacist Award, and the 2003 Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy.

“TJ exemplifies the spirit of entrepreneurism. His business ventures and professional organizational endeavors serve as testament to his drive, determination, and commitment to advancing pharmacy practice,” said College of Pharmacy Dean Donald E. Letendre. “He has been a lifelong devoted college alumnus and friend to countless pharmacists nationwide.”

Mr. Johnsrud has served as past president and remains a current member of the Iowa Pharmacy Association, where he is chairman of the Task Force on the Iowa Pharmacists New Practice Model. TJ was the first chairman of the board of PACE Alliance multi-state pharmacy buying group. He is a member of the National Community Pharmacists Association, the American Pharmaceutical Association, the National Association of Chain Drugstores, and a lifetime member of the University of Iowa Alumni Association. TJ is currently serving on the Executive Leadership Board of the College of Pharmacy of the University of Iowa. He has served the University of Iowa on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the College of Pharmacy, the College of Pharmacy Second Century Fundraising Campaign Committee, the University of Iowa College Curriculum Advisory Council, and by participating as a President’s Club member since 1983, Golden Hawk member since 1982, and the Kinnick Society since 2003.

The Osterhaus Medal for Lifetime Achievement Award is presented annually to one or more individuals who have made extraordinary achievements in the pharmacy profession. This medal is the pinnacle award given by the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy, for a recipient who has advanced the practice of pharmacy in profound ways, or made substantial strides in drug development or drug discoveries.

NuCara Pilots New Pharmacy Practice Model

Pamela Wong, our Director of Clinical Services, leads an innovative New Pharmacy Practice Model pilot project with four of NuCara’s pharmacy locations: Lenox (Alicia Lynn), Story City (Betty Grinde), Traer (Phyllis McKee), and Washington (Samantha Peterson).
Under the guidance of the New Pharmacy Practice Model Task Force and coordination with the Iowa Board of Pharmacy, a pilot and research demonstration project was designed to ensure safe and effective medication dispensing through a pharmacy technician verification process (i.e., Tech-Check-Tech) in controlled situations in community practice as a means to provide pharmacists the time and resources for clinical pharmacy services. Tech-Check-Tech programs have been effectively implemented across hospitals in Iowa and across the country, but not within a community pharmacy setting. Given the importance of medication therapy to manage chronic conditions, community pharmacists are well-positioned to deliver services, such as medication therapy management (MTM), while addressing medication non-adherence and other medication-related issues.
This is a model of pharmacy practice that enhances patient safety and improves patient health outcomes.  It is important for this new practice model be recognized by patients, other healthcare providers, and payers of healthcare as a valuable service model; reproducible; professionally rewarding; and financially sustainable. All participating pharmacies plan to utilize the full breadth of patient care service offerings including:  medication therapy management (MTM), immunizations, medication synchronization, disease state management, collaborative practice agreements, and care coordination services with local health-systems.
For the full article, click this link:

Current Issues in Health Care: Diabetic Shoe fitting

womensshoeAs our healthcare system continues to evolve, pharmacy as it is practiced today is changing, and hopefully for the better. Here is the last of four topics hat are in the “hot seat” as we round up the first half of 2014:


Pharmacies around the state of Iowa pride themselves as being able to provide more than just prescription and over-the-counter medications. One of these services is the fitting and selling of therapeutic shoes. These are most often for diabetic patients suffering from neuropathy (continual loss of sensation) in their feet. Approximately three months ago, Iowa pharmacies were informed that, starting on July 1st of 2014, it was no longer within their legal means to help patients find the right shoe and minimize their discomfort 7.

Current Standing

After receiving this news, the Iowa Pharmacy Association immediately went to work to resolve this issue. To allow pharmacists to keep providing useful assistance to their patients, IPA met with the Iowa Board of Pharmacy and Attorney General’s Office, other accrediting organizations, and even shoe manufacturers. The IPA’s proactive response led to the Iowa Board of Podiatry and Board of Pharmacy writing a total of eight letters to accrediting organizations and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Within the three months of lobbying, it was determined Iowa pharmacies will be able to continue therapeutic shoe fitting 7.

How are YOU, the patient, affected?

Continuing this service will allow pharmacists to help patients achieve these four objectives in shoe fitting as laid out by the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society: (1) relieve areas of excessive pressure, (2) reduce shock and shear, (3) accommodate, stabilize, and support deformities, and (4) limit the motion of joints to decrease inflammation 8. If you have questions or concerns about diabetic neuropathy, ask your local pharmacist today. Therapeutic shoe fitting is also provided at the majority of NuCara stores.

References for all four topics:

2. As of June 20th, 2014 on
7. Letter from CEO of IPA Kate Gainer on June 19th, 2014. Further questions or requests for information can be emailed to


Current Issues in Health Care: New Practice Model

7990As our healthcare system continues to evolve, pharmacy as it is practiced today is changing, and hopefully for the better. Here is the third of four topics that are in the “hot seat” as we round up the first half of 2014:

New Practice Model


Since 2010, the Iowa Pharmacy Association and its New Practice Model (NPM) Task Force have been developing a practice model to let pharmacists allocate more time for clinical analysis and patient service. The idea is to use technology in place and multiple certified pharmacy technicians to verify prescriptions and free more time up for the pharmacist. Ultimately, the New Practice Model promotes patient safety and desired health outcomes 6.

Current Standing

NuCara and the other participating pharmacies began the statewide pilot project on June 2nd. The technician verification process, otherwise known as the tech-check-tech system, is being closely monitored for errors in real time by pharmacists at these stores. Along with that, IPA is getting biweekly feedback from the stores participating in the pilot. The goal is to expand the model in other community settings by November 2014, and eventually reproduce the model nationwide if it is successful 6.

How are YOU, the patient, affected?

Pharmacists today are equipped with wide-ranging clinical skills. Pending on the success of the pilot, you, as the patient, can expect more time to discuss any health-related concerns with your community pharmacist. Third party pricing decisions have lead some pharmacies to demand their pharmacists to sacrifice time with patients. At NuCara, we want to promote the NPM so pharmacists can apply their knowledge and help their patients! More than just counseling on a new prescription, pharmacists can identify medication interactions, assist in over-the-counter purchases, and directly communicate beneficial medication adjustments to doctors.