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First Impressions Matter!

Do first impressions count? A whiter smile can often make the difference..or so the ads say….find out in this episode with pharmacist, Vien, as he meets folks within our community.

In this funny episode-we call it “edu-tainment”-Vien gets behind the scenes of next door’s dental centre. Safa is a tour guide/practice manager and Rami shares his view on the best teeth whitening products.



Safa and her team of dentists can be reached at:

02 9787 6611


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The socially acceptable Terror on our Roads

This one is just going to be short and sweet. But excuse me if I get on my soapbox and rant.

I’m just so angry that over the last two months I’ve seen three accidents. My sister, two days later myself then only last weekend our barista next door.

The latter two involved the other driver at fault and more importantly, under the influence of alcohol.

On the 6th of Feb I was driving my girlfriend home…had just left home and driving past Canterbury Hospital when I noticed a white van signalling to turn onto a side street. The idiot didn’t see me driving straight and we had a collision. I swear the first thing I noticed after the crash one that his front wheels were still spinning. Suggesting he did not even hit the breaks. He was just blind drunk? He got out of the car…lit a cigarette and acted like he knew nothing. I was so stupid to let him get back into the van and he did a runner. Luckily we had his number plate on camera.

You know what the really dumb thing is? Police eventually found him that night but because of the delay…couldn’t officially use alcohol breath tests. He wasn’t charged for driving under the influence. And I am left without a car for 6+ weeks and waiting.

The barista was in a worse off accident. Horrific when she retold it to me. She was in a hired van with her partner and was on Canterbury Road waiting to turn right. Suddenly I madman rear-ends their van at ~80km/hr….sending the van towards oncoming traffic…causing a secondary head on collision with another car. The first idiot was also under the influence of alcohol. The barista and her partner had to be hospitalized for two days.

Roundabout story but this alcohol fueled insanity is not healthy for our communities. Honestly men, if you can’t handle your alcohol-man up about it. Stop putting other people’s families in harms way for your recklessness. I think we need tougher laws..maybe following the USA for once and implementing a 21 year age limit is a good idea? And tougher sanctions on those who have previously offended with DUIs. I once had a chat with a lawyer and he said paraphrasing here: “Hands down alcohol is the biggest offender and responsible for much of the harm in the Sydney area-Much more than other illicit drugs”

Do you know someone involved as an alcohol-fuel collateral? Leave your 2 cents in the comments.

Vien LeTran (Pharmacist)

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WOTOI: Social media and Depression. Is there a link?

WOTOI (Whats Our Take On It) is a layperson’s plain English interpretation of medical journals found online.

This one is going to be unique because I look at TWO journals and give my thoughts and opinions. The journals are:

  1. Online and Social Networking Interventions for the Treatment of
    Depression in Young People:A Systematic Review, 2014, by Rice SM, Goodall J, and others.
  2. Association Between Social Media Use and Depression Among U.S. Young Adults, 2016, by Liu yi Lin, Jaime E. Sidani, and others.

Two articles. Two different hypotheses. But for sake of clarity essentially: Does Social Media Positively or Negatively Affect Young Adults in Terms of Depression.

Facebook Suicide Reporting
Facebook now has tools to flag a friend as possibly suicidal thereby allowing appropriate support staff and resources to be made available. Photo: TechCrunch  @meganrosedickey

Before I dig into the results…I want to say I felt that each had its good points but were quite limited by its scope. Let me explain:

For instance, Article 1 only looked at Facebook as the ONLY social media platform available, which back in 2014, definitely wasn’t the case. There was and still is Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, among others.

I’ll digress for a moment here: If you consider how you typically use Facebook vs Instagram vs Snapchat…..the thinking would be:

  • Facebook-use to keep up with birthdays and anniversaries and nearby events;
  • Instagram-foodporn, aspirational lifestyles of the rich and famous, motivational infographics;
  • Pinterest-hunt for the next home DIY project; aspiring trophy homes; and
  • Snapchat: share daily musings, bloopers, and more intimate moments.

Clearly the study is limited to only Facebook where people might see a ton of baby anniversary photos and possibly feel glum that they’re still single (just one possibility) VS say browsing foodporn on Insta and salivating for their ossu bucco at Jamie Oliver. Different platform, different feelings!

Article 2 did better to cover all social platforms by asking people: Q: how many hours do you spend on social media each week. Again though I think there’s room to drill down further into the data! They looked at: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn,
Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Vine, Snapchat, andReddit. But wait! what about Whatsapp, or Weibo, or Messenger? Social media surely covers that too? It has photos, it has messages, it involves people. Seriously it is a disservice to do a study and exclude the second most used platform in the world! Look below!

Source: Smart Insights,


So back to the study results Article 1 says social media is an “OK” tool for psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors and mental health workers because it is a very accessible way for young adults to find and get help (rather than sitting in a cold waiting room I presume!). Because the of the scattered data that they found on social media, it was hard for them to say definitely whether it is positive or negative at detecting depression and/or treating depression. More work needed!

Article 2 was ehh-I really didn’t like their method of surveying people’s use of social media and surveying scores of depression and anxiety, then simply marrying the two together. If I did a survey of monkeys crossing the road VS monkeys crossing the road and they can see a zoo keeper with a bunch of bananas on the opposite side…I too would say that bananas give monkeys navigational intelligence for oncoming traffic =p Don’t get started on the road toll.

What also annoys me is they say women are more likely to be depressed from social media usage. Especially the younger they are. Firstly, it’s a fact that women are more likely than men to have depression, regardless of cause-They also tend to seek out help earlier than men on the whole-men are too proud oftentimes. Secondly, it doesn’t take a genius to figure than teenage girls are the top users of social media. Any parent can attest to this.

The saving grace for the authors is that they admit a lot of their shortcomings. For instance: that most of their participants are on social media; that different posts on Facebook elicit different emotions, and that it can be a chicken or the egg situation with social media-depression.

“However, one reason for our finding may be that our sample had so few individuals who did not use social media (only 3.2% of the sample).”

One great take-away I thought is that they did mention that active participation on social e.g. 1 on 1 conversation was better than passive consumption e.g. scrolling through the news feed. Reasoning was that if you keep comparing your lifestyle to that of the rich and famous, you’d probably feel bummed.

WOTOI? I think Facebook could probably give us a better answer, considering the richness of their database and new features such as Reactions (Haha, Wow, Sad, Angry, Love) on top of the LIKE button. Science being science, more “clinical” trials need to be done on a more in-depth level and should include chat programs like Whatsapp, WeChat, Skype etc…

As a pharmacist I would recommended cultivating deeper your relationships with your friends and family. That way when life throws you a curveball, you’re less likely to stumble and if you did, you’d bounce back faster with those support networks. Chat away!

Take care. xoxo.

Vien LeTran-Pharmacist

PS. Tonnes of good info on our FB page including these blogs so make sure to follow us at:

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Opinions belong to the writer alone and do not represent views of Canterbury Late Night Pharmacy. 
















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Brainy Kids

crying little boy
Autism can affect a child’s verbal and non-verbal communication with family and friends.

Your kid is the best thing that’s ever happened to you. But what happens when you’ve been told they have autism?

March is Brain Awareness Month and I thought I’d choose a topic close to my heart and that being autism. Because I once worked at a compounding pharmacy making specialized vitamins for them and saw first-hand how tough the condition is to treat-not to mention the hardships for the mums + dads.

Working in the pharmacy you will never spot the autistic child-they’re usually at home, afraid to venture out into the bright, noisy world of a pharmacy let alone a shopping centre. What you will see is a young parent, bright faced but with dark circles around searching eyes.

I don’t say this lightly but they’re almost always looking for the next silver bullet for the son/daughters eczema or fungal rash. Strange you may think..what’s a skin condition got to do with autism. Actually, your skin is the largest, external, organ of your body and it does a marvellous thing called inflammation-say what? Basically it acts like a traffic light. Signalling whatever chemical imbalance is going on inside the body. Red=Severe inflammation/allergy to toxin/compromised immunity; Orange=Mild and so forth. In autism, kids often have severe intolerances to certain foods-chicken nuggets, biscuits, chips-yet also the ones they love best! So it becomes a vicious cycle. The skin simply relays internal problems as an external alarm.

So what of these foods? Well you’ve heard the saying: You are what you eat. Food for thought. These kids can massively benefit from having a close check up of their dietary habits. Operative word being habits. As parents you can sometimes feel like treating your kids to a snack here and there or you’re in a rush and the local take-out is the quickest option. Unfortunately theses fragile tummies cop the assault and as a direct consequence, so does their brain. Memory, cognition, speech centres…these all become ‘inflammed’ and can slow down your child’s learning and development. Every child takes a different approach, but I’ve found the diet has always been the core protocol. Make it a habit not to get junk food from the supermarket for starters and not to fuel your kids on these types of foods-but let me stop there. Else you’ll think I’m preaching. I am. But it’s your responsibility =p

Start with a good doctor-by that I mean the numerous ones trained specifically in the area of Austism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Some of the pseudonyms for these experts are: holistic doctors/integrative doctors/paediatricians/biomedical doctors/naturopaths/chiropractors along with their allied professionals: nutritionists, speech therapists, cognitive therapists, dietitians, movement therapist, psychologist and of course pharmacist!

With the right guidance of a professional your child can improve. There is hope.

PS. As of writing I’m aware of the NDIS-National Disability Insurance Scheme-which includes funding for children with autism. There’s a lot of red tape to cut through but I hear the results can quite good in the end. In Sydney it will be rolling out in July 2017 so best prepare by looking at:

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7 Things You Didn’t Know About Pharmacy

Medical certificates can be issued by a pharmacist for common illnesses such as cold and flu, sports injuries and head lice.

Q: When you’re sick who do you turn to first? Your wife/husband? Friend? Dr Google? GP?

As a pharmacist, we can be the first point of call to help triage (determine) the severity of your condition. We’re trained to look at minor ailments like colds/cuts/burns…and to know when to refer on to a doctor/hospital.

With your permission I’d like to share 7 Things (help, advice, services) you can get from a good pharmacy:

  1. Medical Certificates: yes you’ve seen the 4 Corners Show. We CAN write you medical certificates for minor things like colds/flu/sprained ankle/chickenpox/headlice etc.. Handy Tip: bring your driver licence and/or Medicare as ID
  2. Fit For Work/School Certificates: ahuh we hear you…but if your child has had head lice or chickenpox, chances are they won’t be allowed back to school unless a certificate has been issued.
  3. Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) printouts: so you’ve got a script from the doctor but you’re unsure whether to start them. Come into any pharmacy and the pharmacist can answer any of your questions. They will even print you a CMI containing important stuff like: how it works, when to take it, what to do if you missed a dose, and side effects. Handy TIP: the choice to start a medication is yours entirely. Sometimes getting a second opinion from another doctor is helpful-but beware delaying therapy in serious conditions can have its own harm.
  4. Vaccinations: not all pharmacists are up-skilled to do this but the ones that do can administer flu shots. Handy Tip: Best time to book in is around April which gives you body’s immune system time to develop
  5. Practitioner-Range Supplements: these pharmacy strength vitamins are usually kept behind the counter and out of view. Good pharmacies with staff trained in holistic health can offer a more tailored supplement to suit all manner of conditions (anxiety, adrenal fatigue, under-active thyroid, blood circulation, menopausal symptoms, etc). Handy Tip: Ask your pharmacist if they have a “practitioner range” of supplements. Note: Someone brands require a prescription from your doctor/naturopath.
  6. Sleep tests: does your loved one freak you out every time they sleep? Do they wake up gasping for air? Get a home-sleep-kit that tests for possible sleep apnea. Left untreated it can stress your heart and shorten life expectancy. Handy Tip: if you are overweight, have diabetes, and/or a heart condition, ask about your risk.
  7. Allied health: ever had a problem but didn’t know where to start? pharmacists can point you in the right direction saving you unnecessary detours in the health system. Back problem not going away? Maybe straight to the physiotherapist is best. Something wrong with the eye? An optometrist can use tools to take a closer look inside as well as write scripts.

Well that’s it from us!


Vien LeTran (Pharmacist)

PS. Remember, help is just a phone call away: (02) 8068 7131. Ask for Nina or myself =)

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The Silent Killer

What is Australia’s #2 cancer?

Bowel cancer.

When it comes to issues related to bums and tums…not everyone is posting about it. But working in the pharmacy we see this a lot. Not the cancer type but the bloating/gas and the aches and runny diarrhoea. That is the easy stuff-trust us!

Herz Gesundheit Bauch
Looking after your loved ones can be as simple as buying a Bowel Kit from your local pharmacy.

But what isn’t so easy is detecting bowel cancer-it’s silent. No symptoms. Affects young and old. Here a stat: up to 10% are under 50 years of age. Alas, stats are too impersonal. If you don’t mind I’ll digress with a quick story of a friend who is in his thirties. One day he wakes up with pain in the stomach.  A hospital visit and many hours later..he has been diagnosed with late stage bowel cancer. Doctors gave him 6 months to live. Sadly, he didn’t make it to that mark. He passed away a few years ago now-leaving behind his wife and three young children. His name was Jake*. God bless.

See February is Bowel Cancer Awareness month and we wanna spread the message of #hope. Because when people get checked up early…this cancer can be beaten. Up to 90% of the time!  So don’t wait until it’s too late!

So how can you get checked?  It’s a DIY kit-A simple stool sample is all that’s needed. These can be purchased from most pharmacies. Costs between $25-35. Once done you send it off in the mail and wait a few weeks for the results to come back.

Results are either positive or negative for blood. Why blood? Because it is one of the signs of bowel cancer…BUT blood could also be from other things like haemorrhoids, inflammation or polyps. Still, you definitely should get a more thorough test if your results come back positive. Usually a colonoscopy is done to verify.

If results are negative..great! But it doesn’t mean you’re in the clear either…sometimes the cancer is silent and causes no bleeding. In which cause remain vigilant and get tested every 1-2yrs. This is highly recommended if over 50 years of age.

For more details head to


*Name changed for the family’s privacy

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CLNP’s First Blog Post!


Welcome to Canterbury Late Night Pharmacy’s very first website!

If you have been into our store you would have met the lovely Nina our new owner-always cheerful yet deeply empathetic to her patients.

We hope to offer tons of FREE value on this website which is going to function mainly as a blog for now.

Not sure what Nina’s motto is yet but if I could offer a suggestion, it’d be:


At that, signing off!

Vien Le Tran

(One of the pharmacists here)

Lols to the trolley out front..looks like we’re in for some hard yakka! (Ready to serve!)