When you need medication, you put your trust in your prescriber, the pharmacist, and the manufacturer that the drug will help you and not harm you. And yet, there are numerous recalls every month for drugs that have caused dangerous side effects, some of which do not have proper warnings or complete information on the labels.
With the FDA having to approve medicines, how do these recalls still happen? Sometimes pharmaceutical companies are dishonest or cut corners to get a drug to the market faster. More often, despite testing, they cannot predict all the side effects that may occur. Some do not show up until much later or after a long duration of use.
Where to find drug recalls
The FDA’s site has a current list of unsafe drugs, including the reasons for the recall. However, this list contains only the most dangerous (Class 1) products. For information on all levels of recalls, see their weekly enforcement reports. You may also hear about drug recalls on the news or receive personal notification if you are a user of that prescription.
Reasons to keep track of side effects
Whenever you begin a new medication, it is essential to stay aware of your health changes. Take note of all side effects and reactions, even expected ones, and notify your provider in order to catch any problems before they worsen. If all is going well at first, still watch for unusual or unexpected health changes after months or years of use. Sometimes the danger does not become apparent until after high levels of exposure.
How to reduce risk
As you discuss medication with your doctor, be thorough and honest about your medical history and lifestyle choices. Once your provider selects a prescription, request comprehensive information on the drug. Research it online and talk to a pharmacist. If you are unsure about taking it, ask if you have other drug choices. Then, with professional guidance, weigh your options to choose the safest drug for you. This process will not guarantee 100 percent safety, but it will reduce the risk of injury.