Monday, April 22, 2013

Miss Loosey needs a Sleep Aid

You remember Miss Loosey?

She was in last night fifteen minutes before closing time. She's asking me for a "sleep aid" to help her fall asleep. She's out by the pain relievers where we also happen to keep the sleep aids.

"I want something to help me sleep," she says. "What's in these called Advil-PM?"

"That's Advil and Benedryl together in one tablet. It has ibuprofen and diphenhydramine in it. The Advil will help you if you're having any pain issues and the Benedryl will help you get sleepy."

Miss Loosey replies, "I'm not having any pain. I just want to sleep."

"Ok, then how about this. Here's our store brand 'Allergy Relief' which is the Benedryl that is in the Advil-PM. It will help you get sleepy."

She looks at me funny. Her eyes squint and her head tilts back a bit. "But it says 'allergy relief.' I'm not having any allergy problems."

"I know that. This is the same as the ingredient in half of the Advil-PM. The brand name is Benedryl. See here..." I point to the word DIPHENHYDRAMINE on the box of Advil-PM. "That's the generic name for Benedryl. It's the SAME medicine in this one called Allergy Relief." I point to the word DIPHENHYDRAMINE on the box of Allergy Relief. You get a whole box of 100 count for less than half the price of Advil-PM 24 count. 

"But I'm not allergic to anything. I just want a sleep aid. It doesn't say 'sleep aid' on the box."

I try again. "Diphenhydramine is an anti-histamine that causes drowsiness. That's why it is in these other medicines for sleep. It's the SAME medication." I point to the back of the box where it says "May cause drowsiness."

"But it doesn't say SLEEP AID on the box. What's this ZzzQuil stuff over here?" she asks.

"That's the same ingredient as Benedryl -- see, here on the box... DIPHENHYDRAMINE. It's the SAME medication! Seriously, you can save a lot of money by buying the store brand."

I wanted to say she could use the savings to save up for another Plan B, but I resist.

"But it doesn't say SLEEP AID on the box."

I pull out my pen, cross out the words "Allergy Relief" on the box and write the words "Sleep Aid" at the top. I set it back on the counter. "There, now it says SLEEP AID."

I hear the phone ringing back in the pharmacy. I excuse myself and rush back to the pharmacy.

A few minutes later I see Miss Loosey walking by with a box of ZzzQuil in her hands. And another blog story is born.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think I'm a bad pharmacist. I don't bother with this any more. I go out, I try to point out the cheap store brand benedryl is the same thing once, and if they balk because it doesn't say "sleep aid", I sell them the Zzz-quil. I don't have the damn time to waste on someone who doesn't want to listen.

Carla C said...

taking my generic DIPHENHYDRAMINE right now to go to sleep in a different time zone. Don't lose the faith - some listen.

Jane MacKay Donald said...

Haha. I tell them it's all MARKETING (unless they are over 75 and I don't bother/go ask your kids.
Give them the Excedrin analogy. See all of those EXCEDRIN BOXES? One for every part of the body ? YUP THEY ARE ALL THE SAME. It's called marketing folks.
I LOVE (not really) the patient who insists on name brand Sudafed for $12 MORE per package ..haha go ahead ! Make more$$ for Big Pharma!