Pillbox Chemists

This image shows an image of cannabis leaves used for medical uses.

What is Medical Cannabis?

This image shows an image of cannabis leaves used for medical uses.

Medical cannabis is the term given to any kind of cannabis-based medicine that is used to relieve symptoms of physical/mental illnesses. You can purchase many cannabis-based products online but the quality and content are usually unknown and they may be illegal and possibly dangerous.

There are some products on the market that claim to be medical cannabis, CBD oil and hemp oil are prime examples of this, can be bought legally as food supplements from health stores. There is no guarantee that these products will work or provide any benefits to health. Certain cannabis-based products are available only on prescription as medicinal cannabis which benefits a small number of patients.

How to obtain medical cannabis?

In England, it is much harder than say countries like the US to get a prescription for medical cannabis. At this point in time, there are only three likely conditions that medical cannabis could be prescribed to which are:

  • People who suffer from a condition called multiple sclerosis that causes muscle stiffness and spasms
  • Adults and children with rare and severe forms of epilepsy
  • Adults with vomiting/nausea caused by chemotherapy

On top of this, medical cannabis in England is only considered when past treatments for a patient were not suitable and hadn’t worked. 

Nabiximols (Sativex) for MS

Nabiximols (Sativex) is a mouth spray that is a cannabis-based medicine. Nabiximols is licensed in the UK to be prescribed to people with MS-related muscle spasticity that doesn’t seem to be getting better.

Epidyolex for Adults and Children With Epilepsy

This cannabis-based medication is a highly purified liquid which contains CBD (cannabidiol). CBD is a chemical substance that can be found in cannabis which has medical benefits. CBD doesn’t get people high as it does not contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which is the active chemical in cannabis that gets people high. Epidyolex is usually prescribed to patients with Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndrome which are both rare forms of epilepsy.

Nabilone for Chemotherapy Patients

Almost everybody who has to undergo chemotherapy will have periods of time where they feel ill or the need to vomit. Nabilone can be prescribed by a specialist to help relieve the symptoms of chemotherapy but this is usually only done when other treatments haven’t worked or are not suitable for the patient. Nabilone is a medicine which is usually taken as a capsule. It has been developed to act in a similar way to THC which means that patients may experience similar effects.

An image showing you the concept of buying cannabis on a shopping trolley.

Side Effects of Medical Cannabis

Medical cannabis can come with a range of side effects which vary depending on the type of cannabis consumed. Here is a list of the possible side effects you may develop if you use medical cannabis:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Hallucinations
  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Behavioural changes 
  • Mood swings
  • Diarrhoea

If you take medical cannabis and experience any of these effects you should report them to the medical team in charge of your treatment. You can also use the Yellow Card Scheme to report any side effects. 

THC and CBD can interfere with other medicines which can cause even more side effects or stop the medicine from being effective so always refer to a specialist before you take medical cannabis with other medications. CBD is also known to affect how the liver works so if you are taking it your doctor will need to keep a close monitor on you.

Is it Safe to Take Medical Cannabis?

More clinical trials are needed to discover the risks of using cannabis products which contain THC as the at this point in time they are not fully known. Products which are considered pure (cannabis that only contains CBD) do not come with the unknown risks linked to THC. Most medical cannabis does contain THC though even if it is a small amount.

There are two main risks of taking cannabis products that contain THC which are psychosis and of course dependency on the drug. In some cases, regular cannabis use can increase the risk of developing psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia and epilepsy which can induce psychosis as well as increase the likelihood of you becoming dependent on the drug. The risk of dependency is relatively low if it is controlled and monitored closely by a specialist doctor according to scientists.

The more THC that a product contains, the more risks that come with it. The most dangerous cannabis is bought illegally on the street which means that the quality and strength is unknown.

How to Get a Prescription for Medical Cannabis

GPs cannot prescribe cannabis-based medicine as it can only be prescribed by a specialist doctor. It is unlikely that many patients will be prescribed it either as it is only given to a small number and it is usually under special circumstances. A specialist doctor may consider prescribing medical cannabis to:

  • People who suffer from a condition called multiple sclerosis that causes muscle stiffness and spasms
  • Adults and children with rare and severe forms of epilepsy
  • Adults with vomiting/nausea caused by chemotherapy

The specialist will then discuss all other options of treatment with you first before considering cannabis-based products. Medical cannabis will only be prescribed when it is considered to be in the best of your interests and when all other treatment options have been exhausted and have not worked.

The Law

The UK law use this image to say no to Cannabis

Cannabis is considered by the government of the UK to be a class B drug which means that it is illegal to purchase, consume or sell. The government at this time doesn’t seem to have any intention of legalising the use of cannabis for recreation uses. This includes medical cannabis too so if you are caught with it for any reason and do not have a prescription you could be charged, fined and possibly even face prison time depending on the amount.


Blood Pressure Testing and How it is Done

In the image shows a stethoscope, a blood pump and some anti-biotics which all link with the heart

What is Blood Pressure Testing to start off with?

Taking a blood pressure test is a simple method to check whether a patient’s blood pressure is too high or low. The term blood pressure is used to describe the strength at which your blood pushes on the sides of your arteries while it is being pumped around the body. 

Having high blood pressure, which is also known as hypertension, can strain the arteries and organs in a person’s body. This can increase the risk of an individual having a heart attack or stroke. Low blood pressure, also known as hypotension, on the other hand, isn’t as dangerous but it can cause dizziness and fainting depending on the person. 

Taking a blood pressure test is the only way to see exactly whether or not your blood pressure is too high or low as most people won’t show any clear signs or symptoms. Blood pressure tests last less than a minute and taking one could help to save your life.

When Should You Get Your Blood Pressure Tested?

If you are worried that you have low or high blood pressure you can get it tested at your local GP. Some pharmacies also offer blood pressure tests and at NHS Health Check appointments which are typically offered to adults aged between 40 and 74. You can even get your blood pressure checked at home, more on this below, if you own a digital blood pressure monitor or at your workplace if there is one provided. 

A home blood pressure monitoring system can be purchased and are often similar to the ones that you are familiar with at the GP. 

What this means is that you can measure your blood pressure at home and keep records of it to see what your daily activities contribute to your blood pressure and give an indication of what you may need to change if it is too high or too low.

The NHS recommends that every adult over the age of 40 should have their blood pressure tested every 5 years at least so that any problems can be detected before they develop further. People who have been already diagnosed with high or low blood pressure and people who are at high risk of developing either may need to have frequent tests to monitor any changes or developments.

Testing Your Blood Pressure at Home

Testing your blood pressure at home can actually give a more accurate reading of your blood pressure. This is because you are in an environment you are comfortable in and not at a clinic or GP surgery which can make some people nervous/anxious and can affect the results. Doing the testing at home also allows you to monitor your condition more closely and easily in the long term.

A doctor is using a stethoscope to hear the heartbeat from the flow of the blood in the patient's arm.

There are many varieties of blood pressure monitors you can buy on the market for a relatively low cost. It is important that you purchase monitors that have been tested properly so that you can be sure that you are getting accurate readings. Refer to the British Hypertension Society if you feel you need to have your blood pressure tested at home as they provide detailed information about validated blood pressure monitors that you can purchase.

How Blood Pressure Tests Work

Traditional blood pressure testing is usually performed using a device called a sphygmomanometer. This device is typically made up of a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff and also a pump and dial. While these are widely used by most GPs and clinics, some blood pressure tests are performed automatically by devices that use sensors to detect vibrations and digital displays. 

A person is having their blood pressure done in the best position by sitting up straight on a chair.

The optimal position for testing a patient’s blood pressure is to have them sit down on a chair which supports their back and have their legs straight. The patient should then roll up their sleeves (or remove any long-sleeved clothing) if they are wearing clothes with long sleeves. This allows the blood pressure cuff to be placed around their upper arm which is the standard area for blood pressure to be tested. 

Patients should be advised to relax and avoid chatter while the test is being carried out so that the results are as accurate as possible.

The first step to test a patient’s blood pressure with a sphygmomanometer is to have them hold out one of their arms so that it is at the same level as their heart. The cuff is then placed around their chosen arm which should be supported by something to prevent muscle fatigue and to ensure that the results from the test are as accurate as possible. 

The second step is to pump the cuff that has been placed around their arm up to restrict the blood flow. This usually causes some discomfort in the patient but it is necessary and only lasts for a few seconds. 

The third step is to slowly release the pressure in the cuff while using a stethoscope to listen to the pulse of the patient. 

The final step is to record the pressure in the cuff at two points as the blood flow starts returning to the patient’s arm. The measurements that are recorded are used to give the patient’s blood pressure reading. The patient can then find out their results, usually as soon as the test is over, from the healthcare professional who performed the test.

24-hour/Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring

Some patients may be recommended by their doctors to have 24-hour/ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM). This is where a patient’s blood pressure is tested automatically every 30 or so minutes over a 24-hour period. This is usually done by attaching a blood pressure cuff to a portable device which is usually worn on the waist. 

ABPM can help to show how a patient’s blood pressure changes over the course of a day. Patients are advised to carry out their days as normal during the test as long as their daily activities don’t involve getting wet as the equipment may fail.


What Is Needed to Study and Become a Pharmacist?

Applying To Become a Pharmacist

Medicines prescribed by doctors are the most common treatment offered to patients by the NHS. Pharmacists are described as “experts in medicines and their use” and their job requires them to have knowledge of medicines and the effects they have on human beings and their bodies. With this knowledge, they are able to successfully manage many types of medical conditions.

Job Description

Pharmacists are required to perform a wide range of roles which vary from giving advice to providing information on medications and treatments. Within the Pharmacist’s job, they perform all of these tasks listed:

  • Give advice on the dosage of any prescribed medication
  • Suggest the most relevant course of medication for the given condition of a patient and whether or not tablets, injections, inhalers etc. are needed
  • Ensure that patients are taking their medication properly and are not abusing/misusing it
  • Give help to patients and manage long term conditions
  • Give advice to other healthcare professionals such as doctors, nurses and physicians on how to choose the right medicines and their correct uses
  • Make sure that new medicines are safe to use with other types of medication
  • Provide detailed information to patients on how to get the most benefit from the medication they have been prescribed.
  • Give advice on prescriptions and any recommended changes if there are any
  • Provide detailed information on the potential side effects of any medication
  • Give advice on the most effective treatments for particular conditions even if that means medication for sale without prescription
  • Keep a close monitor on the effects of a patient’s treatment and ensure that it is working properly and is safe to carry on

Qualified Pharmacists are sometimes involved in the manufacturing of medicines when medicines that are usually readily made are unavailable for whatever reason. This is normally the case when it comes to certain treatments that require medicines to be specifically made under sterile conditions for individual patients.

Pharmacists often work as part of healthcare teams that work in hospitals but they also work at local community pharmacies too. Some pharmacists work in supermarkets where retail pharmacies are usually found or other parties that provide NHS services like clinics and such. Pharmacists can sometimes also supervise pharmacy assistants and technicians when purchasing, quality testing and dispensing medicines to ensure that the process is being done correctly and the correct medications are being prescribed.

medicine illustration

Community pharmacists are usually based in pharmacies and health centres but they can also spend a lot of time visiting patients at home. This is to ensure that patients who are unable, such as disabled people and pensioners, to leave their homes/residential homes still get the proper treatment and care. 

Entry Requirements, Characteristics and Skills Needed

To begin practising as a pharmacist there are a few things you will need to sort out first. First of all, you must be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) which requires you to study for an accredited Masters degree in pharmacy. There are many Universities and institutions across the UK that offer this full-time course which lasts four years if you are studying full time.

To pass the requirements to study a Master’s degree in pharmacy you need to have achieved three A-B grade A-levels in chemistry, biology, physics and maths as well as five GCSEs grade C or above. These can be any GCSEs as long as English language, maths and at least one of the sciences are among them. If you don’t have all of these there are a few alternative qualifications that they will accept which are:

  • BTEC, HND or HNC including at least one of the sciences
  • NVQ that is relevant to the course
  • Equivalent qualifications if you received them from a Scottish or Irish institution
  • Foundation degree in pharmacy
  • Science-based access course

Every institution sets its own entry requirements so it is imperative that you carefully check what your choice requires exactly. Wherever you decide to study, you will need to show that you have a clear understanding of pharmacy and the benefits it can bring to patients. It is good practice to volunteer and get some work experience with a registered pharmacist so that you know what the work is like and you have a given understanding and know exactly what is expected of you. 

happy pharmacist

Once you have graduated from your chosen University/institution you are required to work for a 1-year pre-registration period while under supervision in a hospital or local community pharmacy and also pass a registration exam. 

The skills and personal characteristics you’ll need to develop before you begin working as a pharmacist are as follows:

  • You must be able to understand and apply the law
  • You must be responsible
  • You must be able to work with all types of people and personalities
  • You must be accurate and methodical
  • You must have an interest in people’s health
  • You must be willing to supervise others
  • You must have good communication skills and be able to listen attentively
  • You must have good customer skills
  • You must be able to explain things clearly to people
  • You must have good science skills

Further Training and Development

Once you are qualified, you have the option to join the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) which many pharmacists do. Registered pharmacists need to keep their skills and knowledge sharp and up to date with annual Continuing Professional Development (CPD). The RPS organises and runs courses, seminars and conferences which pharmacists can use as a platform to exchange ideas and develop their skills further. Pharmacists with a lot of experience can choose to receive additional training and qualifications which can allow them to prescribe medicines.


The Importance of Taking Medication as Instructed

Medication Management

Taking medication that a doctor has prescribed to you should be taken seriously and you should follow all advice and instructions given to you. If you do this you will get the most benefit out of the medication you are taking and have a better chance of a health outcome. Taking the medication improperly or not taking it at all means that whatever the medication was prescribed for might not get better or may even develop further and cause even more problems.

edicine doctor holding a color capsule pill in hand with icon medical network connection on modern virtual screen interface in laboratory background, medical technology network concept

Paid Medication

First of all, if you are paying for medicine as prescribed, you have been advised to follow the instructions given to you, not only for the benefit of your own health but also because what is the point in spending money on something and not using it properly? If you don’t stick to what your doctor prescribed you to do, then it won’t work properly and you’ll just have wasted more money trying to treat yourself. 

Schedule Your Doses

You should be making sure that you remember to take your medication at the same time every day, at proper intervals and not at the wrong times!

To make sure you stick to this you should divide up the time you take your medication doses evenly throughout the day. This means taking two doses every 12 hours for medication that needs to be taken twice a day or every four hours if medication needs to be taken six times a day and so on. To do this, you should set up a schedule that doesn’t interfere with your daily routine and aim to take your medication within an hour of the time that you have scheduled. 

Colored pills and granules medical realistic composition on white vector illustration

Furthermore, you should be taking all doses of the medication as prescribed to you each day so that you stick to the plan and the drugs can take effect as they are supposed to. If you forget a dose, which is easy to do, you should try and take it as soon as you remember, unless it is close to the time of the next dose in which case you should skip it and carry on with the schedule as normal.

As long as this happens only occasionally it shouldn’t interfere much with the treatment and the medication should still work.

It is important not to take a dose you have forgotten if it is close to the next dose as this could cause side effects or worse depending on the type of medication you are taking.

Properly scheduling your doses helps you to absorb the right amount of the medication you have been prescribed so that side effects are less likely to happen, and the drugs can work how they are meant to.

Some medication requires people to be on an empty stomach while others work better if food is consumed a certain amount of time before or after the medication is taken. It is important to read the instructions on any medications you are taking so that you don’t miss important information like this. If these conditions aren’t met, then the drugs may not work properly or could cause nasty problems in your stomach, leading to possibilities of nausea and stomach pains.

Side Effects

Side effects are common in many different types of medications, some more than others, and they can come in many different shapes and forms. Most side effects, such as nausea or vomiting, are temporary and relatively easy to get past while some can last hours or the whole time you are taking the medication. 

The majority of people who experience side effects state that they are much worse during the first couple of weeks after starting the course of medication they have been prescribed. Even if this is the case you should not change the dosage you are taking or stop your medication without talking to your doctor first.

After a few weeks, most people find that they have gotten used to the medications they are taking and the side effects are no longer present or are very mild. If the side effects continue or worsen, you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible to discuss what the best course to continue is.

medication illustration

In some cases, side effects can be more manageable if the dose of the medication in question is lowered. This, however, depends on the medication itself and what particular drug is used. Lowering the dose of some drugs too much can actually make whatever it is supposed to be treating more resistant which means that it loses all effectiveness meaning the medication becomes useless to the individual taking it. You should always talk to your doctor first before lowering the dose of your medication to alleviate side effects. 

It is best to completely stop taking the medication altogether if the side effects are severe or seemingly endless. If this happens, consult your doctor or physician to see if you can lower the dosage or be prescribed a completely different medication. Never lower the dosage of your medication unless you have been advised to.

If you experience any of the following you should stop your medication and seek immediate medical attention:

  • Unexplained bruising/bleeding
  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Heart pounding and chest pains/tightening
  • Fever or chills
  • Sudden and severe stomach pains followed by nausea or vomiting
  • Severe rash with or without symptoms like fever, swelling of the facial area, muscle and joint aches

Do I have to Buy More Medicine to Finish my Medication?

It may be the case that you’ve finished the course of treatment but you are still feeling unwell. If this happens, the best thing to do is to consult your doctor to get their advice before purchasing anything. Your doctor may prescribe you a completely different medication or they may be able to up the dosage.

This can save you both money and stress as if you were to just buy more of the same medicine whatever you are taking it for may become resistant and you would just be wasting money. It is always best to consult your doctor or physician before making any decisions when it comes to medication.

CategoriesPillbox Chemists,  Uncategorized

Who to call if you need help during the festive period?

In East Berkshire, the NHS provides out of hours clinic for the moments that are not serious and does not require you to go to the sometimes crowded a&e departments.

During the Christmas Period, some GPs tend to close. However, in East Berkshire, clinics here work with the Commissioning Groups. What this means for you is that you have access to urgent care centres. In fact, by simply calling the NHS 111 service, you will be able to visit one of their care services or simply walk in at any of these clinics:

The NHS is committed to providing services at all times. 999 is always an emergency contact that is always running and has fully trained advisers manning the phone service who collaborate with the local service. Minor injuries unit are operational and face to face appointments are still available.

The GP surgeries are open from 8 am to 8 pm and have the qualified health professionals working to answer questions about your symptoms even during the festive period. What you can take from this is that by calling 111, you can get yourself the care you require with hours of service and still have time for Christmas to spend.

Out of hours medicines

If you have a prescription that is about to run out and urgently need it, you can go to any of our chemists to get an emergency supply of your medication apart from Christmas Day. You can call 111 and find the nearest NHS walk-in centre that can prescribe you with a couple of days worth of prescription medicine. 

For those who don’t have a prescription, you can get emergency supplies and would prove to be beneficial if you had the old medicine package with you for comparison as to what they can give you. You may be interviewed to find out if you need it immediately and who prescribed it with the amount of dosage in order to decide if they can provide an emergency supply. 

As well as this you can have local shops open nearby such as Spar who are open from 10 am to 8 pm. From there you can get yourself the standard medicines such as paracetamols.

If there are any questions that you have for the festive season about our chemist or opening times, feel free to pop in or contact us on:

Email: info@pillboxchemists.co.uk 

Telephone: 01753680761


17 David Road,

Poyle Industrial Estate,




CategoriesNews,  Pillbox Chemists

Pillbox Chemist FAQ

What is Pillbox Chemist?

Pillbox Chemist is one of the leading UK Chemists and they have a highly skilled team of qualified pharmacists. Offering a wide range of high quality tailored NHS and private pharmacy services.

What services does Pillbox Chemist offer?

They offer tons of different tests which include Allergy Test, Blood Pressure Check, Blood Sugar Test, Cannabis Clinic, Cholesterol Test, Emergency Contraception, Lung Age Test, Medicine Use Review, Now Medicine Service, Winter Flu Jabs, Health Check, Health Check Plus, Heart Rhythm, Pulse + 0.2 Saturation, Travel Clinic, Weight Management, 

Who are Pillbox Chemists?

An independent private healthcare business aiming to provide personalised Medical care of the highest quality; available to all local residents under one roof. PillBox Chemists sites open 5 days a week and offer same day appointments for most procedures, giving you unbeatable access to affordable and instant private care. Beat the NHS waiting times by servicing your health needs at one of our sites. Our highly competitive pay-as-you-go prices and unrivalled membership plans ensure we can meet every patient’s needs, whether you prefer one-off appointments or ongoing membership.

Why should you use Pillbox Chemist?

You should use Pillbox Chemist because they are experts in your field and they are  affordable for everyone to be able to pay for their healthcare. Not to mention the staff are very professional and they are experts in what they do which range from all types of medicines. There’s something for everyone and they’re an expert in that field as well, so don’t hesitate to shop at a family friendly place. 

Can you shop online with pillbox chemist?

You can shop online, which will save you from having to go out to the shops!

What branches does Pillbox Chemist have?

They currently have 23 branches over England so if you wanted to go to any of these you will be able to get the high service that you deserve and within one of these branches you be able to be served with the most professionalism that you’ve ever had.

Is my information safe with Pillbox Chemist?

Your private information is safe with Pillbox chemist we understand that you might feel unsure especially when we’ve not been around as long as some of the others. However we take your privacy very seriously and we will do whatever we must to keep it safe and protected behind our high-tech firewalls.

What days are we open & closed? 

  • Monday 9am-6:30pm
  • Tuesday 9am-6:30pm
  • Wednesday 9am-6:30pm
  • Thursday 9am-6:30pm
  • Friday 9am-6:30pm
  • Saturday Closed
  • Sunday Closed

Is Pillbox Chemist busy during work-days?

We are a very busy company but we have enough time for everyone so if you would like to come in on a work-day, we would be with you very quickly and if you don’t want to wait you can always order online. This saves the hassle of doing it in person, instead you can do it online and it saves you time lining up and paying. The average waiting time when it’s busy is only 5-10 minutes wait. Which might sound long but in reality it’s actually very fast for a Chemist due to all the paperwork, but our staff are great at keeping the waiting time down.

If I shop online how long will it take for delivery?

If you bought online and if they have it in stock it should only take a couple of working days, or if it’s not in stock then it can take up to a week so think to yourself do you need it urgently or can you wait a bit. We also have the option of next day delivery if you don’t want to have to wait for it for too long.

Can I get my Flu Jab done in-store?

You can get your Flu Jab done in-store if you would like if it’s busy then you might be waiting around for a qualified staff member. However if it’s not busy then you should be served quickly and effectively. 

Can I get an Allergy Test done in-store?

If you’re in need of an Allergy Test then you can have one done in store. You may need to book an appointment for us to get all the paperwork and samples in order and you should hear from them within 2-4 weeks as obviously the tests have to be processed once done. 

Do you follow all the regulations NHS has provided?

We follow NHS regulations to the letter, as we understand that medicine is very dangerous if you use it incorrectly. 

What if you don’t have some medicine in, how long will it take for re-supply?

The average waiting time for re-supply should usually take 1-3 working days and if they had delays it could be up to 5 working days, but you can also order online. 

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