08-21-2019 Your prescriptions

What to do when your medication is recalled

What to do when your medication is recalled

Drug recalls happen more frequently than most people realize. In fact, earlier this year multiple high blood pressure medications containing valsartan, losartan, or irbesartan were recalled within the same week. 

If this happens to one of your medications, here is what you need to know: 

What is a drug recall?

A drug recall is when a prescription (like Simvastatin, Lisinopril, or Levothyroxine) or over the counter medication (for example, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen) is removed from the market because it is believed to be defective or potentially harmful. Manufactures can issue recalls voluntarily, or they can be requested by the FDA, based on several factors, including: 

  • Unexpected side effects 
  • Label or packaging issues 
  • Potential contamination 
  • Poor manufacturing quality 

How will I know if my drug is recalled?

Pharmacies will usually try to notify patients via phone, text, or in person. However, that only applies to prescription medications, and not all pharmacies have the resources to contact customers about recalls, nor are they required to do so by every state. 

That’s why, if you take any medication regularly, it is important to be proactive. and keep an eye out for drug news that pertains to you. The FDA keeps a running list of all recalled medications on their website, and most major recalls will be reported on social media or in the news. 

What should I do if my medication is recalled? 

Call your doctor. They will be able to give you a prescription replacement or provide recommendations for alternatives to over the counter medications. 

Then, you should safely dispose of the drug. Ideally, this means taking it back to the pharmacy. Most stores will even issue a refund for recalled medications. Otherwise, check your medication label or packaging for instructions on disposal. Please note that only on rare circumstances should medications be flushed down the toilet. 

Finally, do your homework. To get more information on the drug recall, you can: 

  • Call your pharmacy 
  • Visit the FDA drug recall website 
  • Visit the drug manufacturers website 
  • Follow the news 

Even if your drugs haven’t been recalled, it is important to stay vigilant with your health. If you notice anything unusual with a medication or medication container (such as tampering, unusual odor, or contamination) notify your pharmacy before taking it. Adverse reactions can also be reported to the FDA’s MedWatch website.

Additionally, our drug lookup tool enables you to find information about your prescription medications, including interactions, side effects, and more. You’ll also be able to compare prices to to help you save on your prescriptions.