Medications and Nutritional Deficiencies

In CategoryHealth News, Pharmacy

Until recently, I’d never really been into “vitamins.” I eat a fairly well rounded diet. OK, I eat a lot of food, and I’m well rounded. I’ve been fortunate to have good health and even better genes. So, like many healthcare professionals, to some extent I probably take for granted the nutritional status of my patients.

I attended a conference a few weeks ago on nutritional and hormone balance in healthy aging, however, and my eyes were really opened to the importance of nutrition in all aspects of health. Often times we as health care professionals give lip service to a healthy diet, or a multivitamin, but don’t spend the time emphasizing specific nutritional changes or needs that can ensure optimal health in our patients.

In all truthfulness, I didn’t learn a lot about nutrition in pharmacy school. I did, however, learn a lot of biochemistry and pharmacology. It turns out that understanding those disciplines is key in understanding the importance of nutrition.

In pharmacy school ,we were forced to memorize mountains of equations and biochemical pathways. To be honest, I figured I would never use that information again. It turns out, understanding those pathways is crucial in understanding nutrition’s role in health. So as I’ve dredged my memory remembering things like the “Kreb’s cycle” or “liver enzymes,” I’ve really gained a new appreciation for our bodies’ reliance on proper nutrition.

So, since I’m a pharmacist, the follow-up question might be as follows: do medications affect our overall nutritional health?

Simply put: Yes! Medications can cause deficiencies of nutrients necessary for the normal functioning of the human body.

One estimate suggests that 25% of all adverse reactions to medications are caused by nutrient depletion!

Medications have great potential to improve our health, cure diseases, and improve our quality of life. However, medicines are rarely “magic bullets.” My high school social studies teacher, Mr. Nakonechny once said “You can figure out how to dig a perfectly square hole, but you still have to find someplace to hide the dirt.” In my next post, we’re going to examine the dirt: several commonly prescribed medications and nutritional depletions they may cause.

If you just can’t wait, feel free to contact us for more information about the importance of recognizing drug-induced nutritional deficiencies and how they can be corrected to achieve wellness.  You can e-mail me at or give us a call at 815-758-0911 or 815-217-3890 for more information!

Daily Chronicle Article

In CategoryIn the Media, Lehan Drugs News

This article ran in the DeKalb Daily Chronicle on Saturday, February 6th.  Hope you can take a look!

Lehan family mixes up a recipe for healthcare…

Once a staple of every corner drugstore, pharmacy compounding is once again gaining popularity in the healthcare world. When Jim and Emory Lehan opened their drugstore in downtown DeKalb in 1946, compounding was considered an essential skill. “In the early days of the pharmacy, almost all of our drugs were compounded,” says Jim Lehan, whose father, Jim Sr. opened that first location. For Tim Lehan, current owner of Lehan Drugs, the return of interest in compounding comes as no surprise.

“Simply put, prescription compounding is when a pharmacist is able to work with a patient’s physician to provide customized medication solutions to ensure the patient is getting the best possible care he or she needs. Rather than using a one-size fits all medication, the compounding pharmacist has the potential to help so many people by working with patients’ physicians to customize a medication to the patients’ specific needs. We see many patients with a wide array of needs benefit from compounding; children with autism, hormone therapy for women, veterinarian compounding, chronic pain patients, dental problems such as canker sores and the list just continues. We really felt the need in our community for a strong voice advocating great medication solutions for patients.”

Tim Lehan had been looking into compounding for a long time. However, it was never something he and his wife Ann, also a pharmacist, had time to work into their very busy practice. In 2008, their son, Dr. Jon Lehan came to work at the pharmacy after earning a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Iowa and a 3 ½ year stint in the Air Force. With Jon back, Tim and Ann felt it was time to reevaluate, and decided to send Jon to complete an advanced training course in compounding. The family, however, was in for a little surprise.

“Grandpa Jim heard us talking about it, and asked if he could get trained as well”, Tim noted. “Considering his experience over the years as a pharmacist, we really thought this was a perfect fit.”

“I only really retired because my hearing had been deteriorating. I still loved that part of pharmacy.” Jim noted. “In the early days of the pharmacy, almost all of our drugs were compounded. There weren’t so many products available in tablet form. We even made something called artificial earwax.”

In July, Jim and Jon traveled to Houston to the Professional Compounding Centers of America to complete the hands-on training. PCCA is the country’s leading organization supporting the art of compounding in the country. PCCA was surprised to have their first-ever grandfather-grandson tandem as students since its inception in the early 1980s.

Jon said the folks at PCCA were quite impressed. “This was very intense training, and Grandpa really hung in there. He was making a lot of these younger pharmacists just stand there scratching their heads that this 82 year old guy could put in 5 hours of lecture and 5 hours of hands on compounding practice a day. He is just so amazing. PCCA even featured him in their monthly newsletter, going to to a few thousand compounding pharmacies internationally.”

“I just think it’s great how we’re really returning to the roots of pharmacy.” Jon said.  “Pharmacies were centerpieces of communities, where the pharmacists knew their patients. I think so often medication is treated like a commodity, like a gallon of milk or pair of socks. Compounding is a great way to connect with patients. The compounding pharmacist helps to evaluate what they need from their medication and works with the physician to ensure the best treatment .”

“Today we are able to ensure the products we make are of highest quality, with great technology and equipment, and we have ability to test what we do for potency and stability.”

“What my grandpa really helped instill in us was a commitment to our patients as members of our community. Every patient is unique, and being able to spend time with our patients, and customize their medicines when necessary truly allows us to affect patients’ health and achieve positive health solutions.”

“We want to be there for our community and our area’s physicians. I feel like we know our patients so well, almost like they are part of our family. The better we know people the more we can help by providing custom medication solutions.”

Jim also points out that compounding can be, well…fun.

“I really enjoyed making different flavored animal treats that are used to mask flavors of medications for pets. I also enjoyed learning to make medicated lollipops. I decided to combine the two, and make a fish-flavored lollipop.” Jon had a good laugh from that. “We had to trade our lollipops with other students. I feel bad for the one who got Grandpa’s fish-pop.” Grandpa Jim is now back in the business. “I’m really proud how our family business has been able to continue to evolve, providing care to the community through the pharmacy, immunizations, home medical equipment, and compounding. They’re really at forefront of community pharmacy in Illinois.”

And the rest of the family is very proud of Grandpa.