Can you trust the medicine you’re taking? Thanks the recent fungal meningitis outbreak (allegedly due to tainted drugs), people everywhere are taking more time to examine their pills and potions they ingest, even asking their physicians whether or not they even need the drug. And they should question!
It’s vitally important to be considerate of everything pharmaceutical you put in your body, but it can be difficult to know what to ask. To be more confident in your medicine, follow these four tips:
1. Make sure your medicine is manufactured by a regular, well-known drug company, or from a compounding pharmacy. The FDA closely regulates regular companies in the USA, but not compounding pharmacies. Ask your doctor, take a look at the bottle from which you are taking pills or getting an injection, and see if the drug company logo is there (check the logo on the internet to verify the drug source if you are suspicious).
2. Research the country of origin. Is the drug from the United States, or from a foreign country? US drug companies are regulated by the FDA (visit the FDA’s website www.fda.gov for more information). Some foreign drug companies also have FDA clearance/approval, but many foreign manufacturers are not FDA approved, so be careful.
3. Talk to your pharmacist. Your pharmacist is one of the most important people on your health care team! Never hesitate to ask you pharmacist personally about a medication about which you have doubts. The pharmacist will know where the drug come from, whether or not it has FDA approval, and can provide you with additional patient information.
4. If you take multiple prescriptions, make sure they don’t interact with each other. Some medications interfere with or can increase the effectiveness of other medications. Ask your physician when you get a prescription about drug interactions, and also check with the pharmacist when your prescription is being filled. Beware: using an internet pharmacy does not give you a real life pharmacist to talk with. You might save some money by using an internet source, but lose the security of a very trusted professional who can get to know you and care about you, your neighborhood pharmacist.
The United States has some of the the safest drugs available in the world. Follow these four tips to make sure you’re getting the right ones every time! For more tips on medications, as well as information about pharmacists and your health care team, check out Surviving American Medicine.