We take medication to treat conditions and feel better when we’re sick. Many drugs are available for purchase even without a prescription, which is why there are regulators who ensure their safety. And every so often, you may learn of a drug recall to protect public health.
A drug recall happens when a prescription or over-the-counter medicine is found to be either potentially harmful or defective. Reasons for it vary from finding proof of health hazard to potential contamination. The action can be initiated by either the drug’s manufacturer or a regulating body like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Products that affect public health presents huge risks when found harmful. That’s why you should be aware of drug recalls and what to do when a drug you’re taking is recalled. So let’s discuss how you should act when it happens.
Finding out a drug recall can cause panic, especially for the unaware. Hence, you should look into the specifics of the recall to be certain. The FDA classifies drug recalls to help the public understand the potential problem that gave rise to the recall.
Class I means the drug has been deemed dangerous or defective and may seriously harm people or cause death. Class II indicates that the drug causes temporary health issues or has a slight risk of causing serious harm. Finally, Class III is used for products that weren’t labeled or manufactured correctly and probably won’t cause a health issue.
In addition to the guidance from regulators, drug recalls are common. While other drugs are only recalled after they’ve caused multiple hospitalizations and even deaths, most drug recalls fall under Class III. Also, you can turn to file a consumer class action to help claim compensation for any harm inflicted to you by a drug.
Identify if your prescription is affected
Before you decide what to do with your prescription drug when you learn about a recall, you first must determine if it’s the one being recalled. By looking at the FDA’s list of drug recalls and your medicine’s lot number, you can do just that.
You can search the FDA’s drug recalls list to find out the recall’s start date and the reason behind it. In some cases, only a specific batch of medicine is affected by the recall, such as generic medicine. Generic medicine has multiple manufacturers, so you’ll have to look at your medicine’s lot number to know if they’re included in the recall.
A lot number is an identification number assigned to a particular quantity or lot of material from a single manufacturer. Its location can vary depending on the packaging of your prescription. With bottles and vials, the lot number will be next to the expiration date.
On blister packs, the lot number is printed on the box the medicine was in and directly on the foil packaging below the expiration date. As for labels on pharmacy bottles, they don’t typically include the lot number, so you have to contact the drug store to find out.
Contact your doctor or pharmacist
While it may be logical to stop using your recalled prescription, it’s not always the best course of action, especially if it helps treat a condition. Instead, you should get in touch with your doctor or pharmacist and consult to determine what should be done next.
If the recall affects not just one brand, you may need to switch medication. Your doctor should prescribe you a new one similar to the recalled drug to help you continue your medication. Once you’ve been prescribed a new medicine, you can stop taking the recalled drug and dispose of it.
A drug recall is essential to keep consumers safe from potential health risks. When your prescription is part of a recall, look into the specifics first and consult your doctor or pharmacist. That way, you can be sure that you’re doing the right thing.