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Taking a closer look at prescription drug recalls

Most in Providence may associate problems with patient medications as stemming from doctors or other health care providers prescribing the wrong drugs. Yet in many cases, a patient's prescription may be fine, but the medication that he or she has been prescribed may not be. Information gathered in a study done by Brigham and Women's Hospital and shared by ABC News puts the estimated number of potentially dangerous pharmaceutical drugs recalled in the U.S. at one every month. Given that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that over 10 percent of Americans take five or more medications every month, such recall information shows how the potential for a dangerous drug reaction in patients can be so high.

Drugs can be recalled for any number of issues. Health care authorities may have received notifications that the medication could potentially cause harm based upon patient feedback. In certain cases, the problem may not be with the drug itself, but rather a sample that was either mislabeled or potentially contaminated. Recalls are typically issued by the FDA, but they may also be initiated by a drug manufacturer in an attempt to avoid possible products liability issues. 

Most drugs are recalled for minor issues, so users typically don't need to panic if and when they discover that a medication they've taken or are currently taking has been recalled. That's not to say, however, that such a discovery should not be taken seriously. One should immediately contact the doctor that prescribed the medication or his or her own primary care physician to discuss the problems associated with the drug and to determine if he or she may be at risk of experiencing those issues. 

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