Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Attention Patient: Let's Get this Straight

When your doctor prescribes a medication for you, it is ONLY for you. Every prescription has this warning on it somewhere:
It's not for your spouse, your kids, your dog, your neighbor, your cousin, a friend in need, or anyone else.

It's for YOU.

Medications are dangerous. Medications treat specific conditions. You are NOT a doctor, and it is NOT up to you (or appropriate) to diagnose the condition of another person.

Too many people give some or all of their medication to another person, usually their spouse. Some are sneaky about it, others are quite open about it. I've even worked with pharmacists that suggest it to patients like it is their place to do that. It's not.

I've even had people call me up at the pharmacy and tell me their spouse's or child's condition and then say, "How should I dose this _____ medication I have here? I can use that to treat this condition, right?"

I don't answer questions like that. There's a million things that could go wrong and patient safety is THE most important aspect of our job.

So if you're a patient that is giving YOUR medication to a spouse, child, or whoever, STOP. You're not a medical professional. What if the person you're giving it to has an allergy to the medication? You could risk their life while you're "playing doctor." Just don't do it.

If you're a pharmacist that's suggesting to patients that they give their medication to another person, STOP. You know better. I'm sure your drug knowledge is top notch and your advice might be accurate, but it is not your place. Just don't do it.


Anonymous said...

But I have Boy Scout First Aid training and I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express once so doesn't that make me an expert in medical conditions and medication???

Struck by a Turtle said...

I see this all the time in provider notes:

Patient says shoulder pain is getting worse, he's been taking his wife's percs and that seems to work. Would like his own prescription.

What the holy heck. Is there a place to report these people?

The Pharmacy Island said...

I would disagree with your statement that I'm not a "medical professional "as a pharmacist. We are medical professionals. As we are medical professionals the advice to not share medications is very important. Thanks for sharing your post.

Anonymous said...

He was referring to the patient when he said "You're not a medical professional" :)

Anonymous said...

I have been taking pain killers for many years for a non healing fracture. My husband went to his doctor with dislocated shoulder and gave him an rx for Norco. We brought it to our regular pharmacist and he looked at the script turned to me wnd said,"you don't need to fill this, you should have a ton of these at home!" And he didn't fill it. We went to another place and filled it. Do pharmacies do this often?

CG said...

I told this to a co worker the other day when she was giving out her prescription painkiller to another co worker. "You know that is illegal?" She had no idea. She wasn't upset at me-no one had told her. She is 58.

Anonymous said...

I grew up on dexedrine and my mom "borrowed" a dose of the one I took and I remember her just being a loud, irritable, clean freak. I woke up at 4:30 am and she was outside landscaping and bug eyed and she was a big woman and said she took 1/3 of what I take but she was sculpting the bushes with sweat pouring down her bug eyed, chain smoking face.

She ended up getting these blue diet pulls which I now know are the Obetrol which was re-branded as Adderall for a few months and she was taken off and wailed for days like she was dying.

Anonymous said...

What if my Dr. gave me two scripts of adderall by accident. Can I try to get the second one filled at a different chain of stores/mom and pop pharmacy? I know this is wrong... I just want to know, as a pharmacist what is your process? Is there a list you can check to see if I have recently filled any adderall? Would my Dr. find out? I will likely not do this but I am curious.

Anonymous said...

Most prescribers and pharmacies have a program for listing when and where all controlled substances were filled. It also lists how many, the day supply, and which prescriber wrote the prescription. This data is submitted by the pharmacies to the database and the information is obtained whether or not you use insurance.

Thao Tran said...

Sharing medications is more common in older generation. It is dangerous. I believe the big problem is now antibiotics resistance. It is absolutely not a good idea to share antibiotic meds with others.
Antibiotics are well regulated in the US because patients are required to see their primary care providers for a prescription in order to obtain the medication. However, in other countries, antibiotics are available without a prescription. Many other prescription meds are readily available in a drug store so the consumers just come and pick them up easily.