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Author: Subject: Should Pharmacists know what Potassium Hydroxide is?
RogueRose
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[*] posted on 9-1-2016 at 21:17
Should Pharmacists know what Potassium Hydroxide is?


So I walk up to the pharmacist and ask if he can order some KOH (I said "potassium hydroxide") and I got a confused look and was asked "if it came in pills or something"... I had no idea how to react and I figured it may be better to order elsewhere. Later I wondered if he had said "prills" but I've never heard of KOH referred to as prills but beads.

I went to another pharmacy in town and asked the PHARMACIST the same thing and was told she had never heard of it and didn't stock it. She asked what it was used for and I told her (drain opener, soap making - mentioned fight club scene, as a major chemical in industry for production of 1000's of chems) and the response was, "that sounds dangerous, I don't think I should order that". This was the pharmacist that fills the controlled scripts, so she has been through school for the job - the first pharm was the same - he was ~15-20yrs older than the girl.

I can't tell you how mad I was at being denied, at them not having it (lol :) ) and mostly the stupidity of the people who claim to be "as smart and as trained as doctors) when they deny scripts b/c they know more than the prescribing doctor (that is a major problem in the US for some people, there have been suicides due to pharmacist harassment of some patients - openly telling people what meds customers use).

Just thought I would share the story and see what other think,,
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KesterDraconis
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[*] posted on 9-1-2016 at 22:47


Quote: Originally posted by RogueRose  
So I walk up to the pharmacist and ask if he can order some KOH (I said "potassium hydroxide") and I got a confused look and was asked "if it came in pills or something"... I had no idea how to react and I figured it may be better to order elsewhere. Later I wondered if he had said "prills" but I've never heard of KOH referred to as prills but beads.

I went to another pharmacy in town and asked the PHARMACIST the same thing and was told she had never heard of it and didn't stock it. She asked what it was used for and I told her (drain opener, soap making - mentioned fight club scene, as a major chemical in industry for production of 1000's of chems) and the response was, "that sounds dangerous, I don't think I should order that". This was the pharmacist that fills the controlled scripts, so she has been through school for the job - the first pharm was the same - he was ~15-20yrs older than the girl.

I can't tell you how mad I was at being denied, at them not having it (lol :) ) and mostly the stupidity of the people who claim to be "as smart and as trained as doctors) when they deny scripts b/c they know more than the prescribing doctor (that is a major problem in the US for some people, there have been suicides due to pharmacist harassment of some patients - openly telling people what meds customers use).

Just thought I would share the story and see what other think,,


Well, I wouldn't really be going to a pharmacist to order this stuff anyway, Amazon is a nice place.

That said, I did one time ask for some glycerin at a pharmacy, in hopes of using it to lubricate lab equipment, and various reaction (lighting thermite, nitroglycerin, and so on)

The woman pharmacist there walked over to one of the shelves looking little frustrated/confused, and asked me to state my request again, and looked around for a bit. After a bit she picked up one of the boxes and said, "This should do you, I don't know for sure though. Why are you having the constipation?"

I laughed, and explained that I actually just wanted plain, pure, glycerin, glycerol, or whatever name. It suddenly dawned on her what she had done, and immediately put the box of suppositories down and took me to a different part of the store. I got what I wanted, and she explained that a lot of people will simply refer to the suppositories, no matter what they really are, as "glycerin".
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RogueRose
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[*] posted on 9-1-2016 at 23:28


Quote: Originally posted by KesterDraconis  
Quote: Originally posted by RogueRose  
So I walk up to the pharmacist and ask if he can order some KOH (I said "potassium hydroxide") and I got a confused look and was asked "if it came in pills or something"... I had no idea how to react and I figured it may be better to order elsewhere. Later I wondered if he had said "prills" but I've never heard of KOH referred to as prills but beads.

I went to another pharmacy in town and asked the PHARMACIST the same thing and was told she had never heard of it and didn't stock it. She asked what it was used for and I told her (drain opener, soap making - mentioned fight club scene, as a major chemical in industry for production of 1000's of chems) and the response was, "that sounds dangerous, I don't think I should order that". This was the pharmacist that fills the controlled scripts, so she has been through school for the job - the first pharm was the same - he was ~15-20yrs older than the girl.

I can't tell you how mad I was at being denied, at them not having it (lol :) ) and mostly the stupidity of the people who claim to be "as smart and as trained as doctors) when they deny scripts b/c they know more than the prescribing doctor (that is a major problem in the US for some people, there have been suicides due to pharmacist harassment of some patients - openly telling people what meds customers use).

Just thought I would share the story and see what other think,,


Well, I wouldn't really be going to a pharmacist to order this stuff anyway, Amazon is a nice place.

That said, I did one time ask for some glycerin at a pharmacy, in hopes of using it to lubricate lab equipment, and various reaction (lighting thermite, nitroglycerin, and so on)

The woman pharmacist there walked over to one of the shelves looking little frustrated/confused, and asked me to state my request again, and looked around for a bit. After a bit she picked up one of the boxes and said, "This should do you, I don't know for sure though. Why are you having the constipation?"

I laughed, and explained that I actually just wanted plain, pure, glycerin, glycerol, or whatever name. It suddenly dawned on her what she had done, and immediately put the box of suppositories down and took me to a different part of the store. I got what I wanted, and she explained that a lot of people will simply refer to the suppositories, no matter what they really are, as "glycerin".


Well you may not go to a pharmacy to get it, but that certainly doesn't make it the wrong place to go in my situation. I needed high quality (min food grade) KOH, hopefully same day, so are there really any other options? This place supplies hospitals, Doc offices and labs, so I think that is a reasonable place to shop for something like that in addition to them being a compounding pharmy..

[Edited on 10-1-2016 by RogueRose]
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JJay
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[*] posted on 9-1-2016 at 23:42


Pharmacists should have a pretty good chemistry background, but often they don't remember a lot of what they probably learned in school. I would be pretty surprised if a pharmacist doesn't know what potassium hydroxide is, but I wouldn't expect most pharmacies to carry it since it isn't usually used in pharmacy formulations or home remedies.

They might know where to get it locally, though, so it's probably not a bad place to ask.

Oh and soap shops often carry food grade KOH.
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[*] posted on 10-1-2016 at 00:04


Around here a "pharmacy" is often called a "chemist". It is a misnomer. There are two kinds of staff inside -- the qualified pharmacists who dispense prescriptions and will also advise you on cold "remedies" and heamorrhoid cream and other products that are not on the display shelves. Then there are the other staff who will attempt to sell you homeopathic remedies, cosmetics and hair dye.
So, although I have bought 6% peroxide, potassium permanganate and glycerine from the pharmacy, it would never occur to me to ask about KOH. I doubt it is regularly stocked and I have never seen it on the shelves.
OTOH, I would expect the qualified pharmacist to remember enough basic chemistry to know what it is. But given that these same people occasionally come to the front of the store to show homeopathic alternatives, I would really not be at all surprised if their science knowledge proved almost entirely lacking.




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[*] posted on 10-1-2016 at 02:28


Should Pharmacists know what Potassium Hydroxide is?
Yes
http://www.uspbpep.com/bp2008/data/4855.asp
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[*] posted on 10-1-2016 at 11:53


A Pharmacist knows very well what potassium hydroxide is.

A pre-requisite for the degree course is an A level in Chemistry.

They simply did not want to sell you any or are prohibited from doing so, or just did not have any.

Mostly they sell 'remedial' chemical formulations in specific doses/formats, not bulk IOC chemicals.

It is highly unlikely that a Doctor will prescribe a cup of KOH 4 times a day.

Pharmacology is all about how IOC and OC reagents interact with living biochemical systems, usually when said systems are already in far-from-normal conditions, which is a tad more complex than soap making.

[Edited on 10-1-2016 by aga]




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KesterDraconis
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[*] posted on 10-1-2016 at 13:16


Quote: Originally posted by aga  
A Pharmacist knows very well what potassium hydroxide is.

A pre-requisite for the degree course is an A level in Chemistry.

They simply did not want to sell you any or are prohibited from doing so, or just did not have any.

Mostly they sell 'remedial' chemical formulations in specific doses/formats, not bulk IOC chemicals.

It is highly unlikely that a Doctor will prescribe a cup of KOH 4 times a day.

Pharmacology is all about how IOC and OC reagents interact with living biochemical systems, usually when said systems are already in far-from-normal conditions, which is a tad more complex than soap making.

[Edited on 10-1-2016 by aga]


Yeah, pure bulk chemicals really isn't there thing. Its about the chemistry of healing and health there, not just chemistry, so if its not commonly used to help the body recover from a wound or fight of an illness, then its probably not there.
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[*] posted on 10-1-2016 at 15:07


Even if they're not a good source of KOH, they should still know about it in my opinion.

I've noticed the local pharmacists I've met know nothing about chemistry. They seem to be more like people who organize and give out pills than anything else.




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[*] posted on 10-1-2016 at 15:40


The average pharmacists doesn't use any chemistry knowledge in daily practice, and as a result they know almost nothing in this area. (There are rare exceptions ofcourse).

You can exploit this.

The young, inexperienced, pretty female pharmacist in the small village I lived in when I was young and just getting started in chemistry (>25 years ago) happily gave me a kg of potassium chlorate when I asked for 'kalii chloras'. I found about its latin name in an old encyclopedia and one day when I felt bold and saved up a little money decided to try if they had it.
To this day I have no idea why they even stocked this stuff, but only with great effort did I contain my joy when she returned with a large container from their storage room and simply stated its price, wrote a receipt and handed me what I then thought would be a lifetime supply of a very exciting chemical.

A few years later, I tried again asking for sodium azide, potassium perchlorate and magnesium powder but only got funny looks. Now, I would not even dare to ask.

[Edited on 10-1-2016 by phlogiston]




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[*] posted on 10-1-2016 at 17:54


I think pharmacists are schooled well in chemistry as the pharmacy school in my area only has room for the best students in organic chemistry. But they probably quickly forget it as it is not needed for their job of using computer programs to check for drug interactions and doing other paperwork. Only one pharmacy in my area does actual compounding.

When my old mother was running low on potassium she was taking a prescription for "KCl." This would be a high purity but prohibitively expensive way to obtain potassium chloride.

A few years back I got up enough nerve to ask my local Rite-Aid pharmacist for chloroform and some other chemicals I thought he might stock. He tried to be helpful and would have sold them to me if he had them. But he could only get what was in his catalog which he let me peruse. I didn't see anything in this of use to the home chemist.




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[*] posted on 13-1-2016 at 11:15


When I went to the doctor to have an ingrown toenail treated she put a small drop of NaOH solution in the nail bed to stop it from growing back. She seemed surprised that I knew what NaOH was.

All the pharmacists that I go to simply sell pills. They don't mix anything. Maybe a compounding pharmacy would have a better supply and know more, although its easier to say "I don't know what it is" than explain why you can't have it.

Ages ago the drugstore had bottles of S, KNO3 and KMnO4 on the shelf.
I think KClO3 was used in mouthwash and as weed killer.
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[*] posted on 13-1-2016 at 12:11


I went to a pharmacy yesterday and asked for potassium permanganate and was told by the licensed pharmacist that all they had was potassium chloride. I explained to her that I was more interested in the permanganate part, and she told me that she couldn't place small orders. She then suggested that I go to a specific health food store that actually does carry lots of interesting chemicals, although I didn't have time to wait around to place an order.
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[*] posted on 28-1-2018 at 20:14


:D cool topic nice opinions.






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[*] posted on 28-1-2018 at 20:35


I have found that most pharmacists seem to know almost nothing about chemistry. They surely had some chemistry education at some point, but most seem to remember very little of it. I don't think people approach them asking them to order chemicals very often, and they are also often reluctant to order anything that might not be used for medicinal purposes. Some will, and some have great knowledge, but typically pharmacies are very expensive places to buy chemicals anyway.





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[*] posted on 28-1-2018 at 21:48


It wasn't always the case. In the 70s, as a kid with a chemistry set under the basement stairs, my local pharmacist could get me potassium nitrate and sulfur. Probably some other things, too, but that's what I was playing with. Cheaper than the Perfect chemistry set refills I could get in the toy section of the local department store. I suspect if I had had more chemical knowledge at that age, I likely could have found some quite interesting things at the hardware store, too.



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[*] posted on 28-1-2018 at 22:18


I remember going to a family owned pharmacy lately asking for KOH. I sort of wanted to support the local place, instead of some internet venue. Note that I had bought nitric acid from the old man some several years before. But now the young woman had never heard of KOH and 'could not order it', the application of making soft soaps was unheard of. Apparently times are changing and not for the better at least for us.
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[*] posted on 30-1-2018 at 15:25


I'm more optimistic. The internet has arguably created a golden age for home chemists; the availability of most chemicals to the average Joe has never been higher. I recently ordered a mildly exotic reagent at a fantastic price from a Russian lab. Twenty years ago I probably wouldn't have been able to get it at all outside of the context of a legitimate corporation or educational institute and even then only at considerably higher cost.

There also seems to have been a rise of interest in hobby scale crafting in fields like fireworks, photography, pottery, biodiesel, etc. There's a lot of chemicals out there being sold from non-'chemistry' suppliers to hobbyists.

The local pharmacy might not be the source it once was, but sources for hobby chemists have never been better! :-)
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[*] posted on 1-2-2018 at 06:02


Something to consider here, pharmacists coming out of school come in all levels of aptitude. Just like medical doctors and lawyers. The really sharp ones get well respected jobs working on the cutting edge of the art. The low grade graduates take jobs that pay the bills. These jobs are required to exist to serve the public, but that doesn't mean the people filling the position are all that great. Medical licenses are issued both to marijuana doctors and research oncologists. Attorney licenses are issued both to personal injury lawyers and corporate counsel. The low grade pharmacists mostly follow corporate procedures and computer dialogs to perform their jobs safely, trust the procedure not the credentials. The better question would be, where are the smart pharmacists working in the world? The ones who didn't sleep through organic chemistry, but rather enjoyed it. They're probably working in special compounding labs alongside medical researchers.
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