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Wakefield pharmacy offers preventive treatment of Lyme disease

Green Line Apothecary, which is located on Main Street in Wakefield, is the first in the nation to offer on-site preventive treatment of Lyme disease. (WJAR)

A Rhode Island pharmacy is the first in the nation to offer on-site preventive treatment of Lyme disease.

The pharmacy is called Green Line Apothecary, and it's located on Main Street in Wakefield.

"This is my interpretation of a pharmacy and how I want to practice it," said Dr. Christina Procaccianti, the owner-pharmacist of Green Line. "It's a return to pharmacy's roots."

And that includes free local prescription delivery, via a vintage 1940s van, as well as made-to-order sodas and organic ice cream.

Even its name, Green Line, has a back story.

"My husband and I met on the subway, on the Green Line in Boston. It's a love story," said Procaccianti or her husband, Ken.

What they're offering now, many of its customers will love. It goes beyond protective sprays and lotions and clothes. It's a way for people to help prevent Lyme disease once a deer tick has attached. It's a collaborative agreement between Green Line Apothecary, Dr. Fredric Silverblatt, an infectious disease specialist, and a pharmacist and professor at the University of Rhode Island School of Pharmacy, Dr. Anita Jacobson.

"We worked to get legislation passed," said Jacobson, who has been working on this type of collaboration for five years. It was only a few months ago that she approached Procaccianti with the idea.

“It’s right in the middle of South County where there’s so many exposure opportunities for ticks, unfortunately,” said Jacobson. “We’re out hiking biking, camping.”

She also liked the fact Green Line was an independent pharmacy.

In Rhode Island, pharmacists cannot ordinarily prescribe antibiotics, but working under a collaborative practice agreement, they now can prescribe a single dose of doxycycline to those who qualify.

"And it reduces the risk of developing Lyme disease by about 87 percent. So, it's not 100 percent effective,” said Jacobson.” People still need to watch for symptoms of Lyme disease."

To qualify for this preventive treatment, a deer tick must have been attached for at least 36 hours and must have also been removed less than 72 hours prior to coming in .

"We certainly don't want people to be exposed to antibiotics who don't need,” said Jacobson. "But for those people who are risk of developing Lyme disease, even hours can make a difference. So as soon as you remove a tick it's best to come in right away."

Before administering the treatment, pharmacists at Green Line conduct a thorough patient evaluation and provide education.

"And we ask that they bring the tick with them so that we can identify that it is the tick that carries Lyme disease," said Procaccianti.

Green Line Apothecary in Wakefield has only been offering this service for about a week, and so far more than half a dozen customers have taken advantage of it.


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