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Medication Recalls

Friday, November 6, 2015

Have you ever been informed of a recall on a medication you’ve been taking? A recall can be a scary thing and information on what to do is not always readily available. A drug recall occurs when a prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medicine is pulled from distribution because it is found to be either defective or harmful to those who take it. A recall can occur when the producers of the drug discover a problem and voluntarily recall it or when the FDA receives reports of problems from the public and makes the recall mandatory.

So what are some of the reasons a drug could be recalled? While this list doesn’t contain every reason a medication could be recalled, these are the reasons that tend to occur the most.

General health hazard:
As you probably know, any medication is required to go through vigorous testing before it is allowed to be released to the general public. However, some health risks associated with certain medications are not realized until after they have been widely used across a great deal of people. It may even take years for the bad side effects to be realized and for the drug to be recalled.

Poor packaging or incorrect labels: Medications can be recalled if dosing instructions are unclear or if other information is incorrect.

Contamination: If there is reason or proof to believe that a medication became contaminated during production or distribution, a recall will be issued.

Manufacturer defects: Any defect that occurs during production that relates to a medication’s quality, purity, or potency can warrant a recall.

Both manufacturers and the FDA will try to spread as much word as possible about a recall through news outlets and social media. However, this important information still may not get to everyone it needs to. Check the FDA’s website as often as possible to make sure your medications are not affected. If you take an over the counter medication that is recalled, it is generally okay to stop taking it before consulting your doctor. You can even usually return the product to the place of purchase and ask for a refund since most stores have a policy in place for recalled items. If your recalled medication is prescribed by your doctor, contact them or your pharmacist before discontinuing. If you aren’t quite sure what to do, drug manufacturers will have a hotline number that you can call for more information.

Staying informed about the medications you take is so important. While medication recalls are something to take seriously, be sure not to panic if one of yours is affected. Follow up with the manufacturer and your doctor about the appropriate next steps to ensure your health is not jeopardized.

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