What a year. Of course, we were saying exactly the same thing in December 2020, but here we are again.But there are ‘reasons to be cheerful’, as Ian Dury once said. Pharmacy has emerged from the pandemic as a stronger and more trusted profession, although policy-makers could do more to recognise that fact. At this stage, we all know the statistics and the feedback from the public, so I won’t labour the point.

But still, it has been a challenging year for everybody so as a palate-cleanser, let’s keep it light and take a sideways look at Christmas traditions around the world. If the Christmas window displays are up in community pharmacies, then it’s open season (TV movie channels dedicated to Christmas films have been popping-up since October!)

Try this with the kids — in Portugal, some people give their gifts to each other on Christmas eve. The catch is, you’re not allowed to open them until Christmas morning. Who knows, perhaps Portuguese kids have more self-control than Irish ones, but good luck with that one and your eight-year-old. Meanwhile in Germany, it’s not uncommon for children to go singing door-todoor during Christmas to collect money for charities. Good for you, kids. However, children in Germany, Austria and some parts of Eastern Europe also have to deal with the Krampus, a traditional figure who is half-goat and half-demon and preys on naughty children on 5 December, armed with bells and rusty chains.

In Catalonia, the typical nativity scene includes an extra character — the Caganer. This satirical figure whose name literally means ‘The Pooper’ is depicted with his trousers down and busy in the process of defecating. Gives new meaning to the traditional ‘yuletide log’. Over to Venezuela, where it’s customary for parishioners to roller-skate to early-morning church services during the Christmas period.

In Venezuela, that’s just how they roll.

A Christmas monster also features in the festive period in Iceland, this time in the form of an angry cat. The Jólakötturinn, or ‘Yule Cat’, lurks in the snow, ready to savage and devour people who are wearing scruffy clothes. It’s a tradition dating back to medieval times as a way to motivate wool workers in advance of the bitterly cold Scandinavian winter. If you worked well, you were rewarded with new clothes. If you didn’t, you faced the furry fury of the Yule Cat.

In the US state of Arizona, the Scottsdale Gun Club hosts an increasingly popular event where you can get your selfie with Santa and an AK-47 automatic weapon. Across the border in Canada, Santa actually has his own registered post code for children who want to drop him a line to lobby for gifts. Not only do the authorities there recognise the post code, but they also endeavour to ensure that as many letters as possible are answered.

If you’re tempted to put pen-to-paper for the big guy, his official post code is, ‘Santa Claus, North Pole, Canada, HOHOHO’.

Your writer As Gaeilge, Mark Jordan, has taken on extra commitments that mean he will be unable to continue writing for Irish Pharmacist. On behalf of the team here and our readers, I’d like to thank Mark for his thoughtful contributions and wish him and his all the very best for Christmas and the year ahead.

Similarly, on behalf of everybody at Irish Pharmacist, I’d like to wish all our readers a peaceful, restful, and well-deserved happy Christmas and New Year holiday. Despite a couple of tough years, we do have some ‘reasons to be cheerful’.

Thar an gcuntar as Gaeilge

Ionadú cineálach, PPI’s agus statáin De réir an taighde, tá taithí dhearfach ag an mórchuid de chógaiseoirí pobail in Éirinn maidir le cógais chineálacha agus na dearcaí a chuireann othair in iúl. É sin ráite, an mhalairt atá fíor agus muid caint faoi chógais cosúil le Esomeprazole, Atorvastatin, Omeprazole agus a leithéid, ach cén fáth?

Sa chás seo, ba bhreá liom dá mbeadh hata amháin agam le caitheamh. Mar gheall ar gur eolaithe muid, taitníonn torthaí deimhneacha linn – nuair nach bhfuil réimse éiginnte ann. Ar an lámh eile, mar daonna agus gairmí a bhfuil grá aige do dhaoine, tá hata eile agam. Ní ghlactar le hionadú cineálacha, go háirithe PPI’s agus statáin, Cén fáth?

Rinne Scoil na Cógaisíochta i gColáiste na Tríonóide, Baile Átha Cliath staidéar ar chógais a mheastar a bheith inmhalartaithe agus dearcadh an Chógaiseora maidir le réasúnaíocht neamh-ionadaíochta an t-othar. Rinne comhordaitheoirí taighde suirbhé gan ainm a léirigh gur constaic mhór a bhí acu maidir le hothar a athrú ó chógas brandáilte go cógais cineálach ná mímhuinín an t-othar in ionadú cineálacha. Chomh maith leis sin, fuarthas amach go raibh gnéithe eile a chuaigh i bhfeidhm ar a gcinneadh, mar shampla, hipiríogaireacht i leith eisfhearadh agus mearbhall an t-othar.

Mar a léirigh mé thuas, is iad PPI’s agus statáin na chógais is minice a iarrtar neamh-ionadú. An tseachtain seo, déanaimis é a chur chuig an bhfóram. An bhfuil sé chomh simplí sin é a mhíniú don othar? Nó ar cheart dúinn
breathnú níos dlúithe ar na drugaí seo? Cad iad na cúiseanna eile a fuair tú maidir le comhlíonadh laghdaithe i gcás ionadach cineálach agus tú mar chógaiseoir?