October 17, 2008

The Fine Print

Last winter I was riddled with deep fatigue. After some sleuthing, my husband read on my medication insert that grapefruit was a contraindication that caused extreme drowsiness when combined with my medication. I most often chuck those bulky warnings slips in the trash without reading about medication side effects. After swallowing radioactive iodine pills that were quarantined in a hazardous materials room and could only be handled with forceps because it would burn your skin, rinky dink tablets from the pharmacy at Walgreen’s seem so innocuous. And I dare to call myself a proactive patient? Shame on me.

So today, in honor of the FDA’s new drug safety information web page, I am going to turn a corner. Last year legislators and healthcare activists fought hard to pass a mandate that requires the FDA to improve their transparency and communication both to doctors and to patients. I want to make their work worthwhile.

Included on this new web page are patient safety inserts, the findings of post-market drug studies that pharma is required to conduct, information about flagged and recalled drugs, and other goodies that in the past pharma and the FDA could keep hidden in their own private filing cabinets. Check out their page and become more proactive about managing your meds.

Do you read the warning labels and inserts that come with your prescriptions? Do you find it useful?

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  1. Baldylocks Says:
    October 17th, 2008 at 9:49 PM

    I had a weird spike in my Cyclosporine levels one day and the first thing they did was to ask me if I’d had any grapefruit. Luckily I already knew that it was a no no.

    And also, one of the possible side effects of that drug which I take post bone marrow transplant to treat my leukemia is…….leukemia.

    That was a WTF moment.

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