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What should I know about prescription drug recalls?

While all medications in the United States are rigorously tested before their release, problems can still arise once they’re in wider use. In this case, a drug recall may be enacted, either by the manufacturer or the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. WebMD explains why drugs can be recalled and what you can do if a drug you take on a regular basis is suddenly removed from the market.

There are a number of reasons why a drug may be recalled. Manufacturing defects can occur, which would impact a drug’s potency or quality. The drug may also be hazardous, and these hazards may not have been evident until the medication was widely used. In other cases, the drug might be labeled incorrectly. Labeling can be misleading in some way or it may be confusing to the people taking.

Drugs can also become contaminated at some point during their development or distribution. Contamination doesn’t always mean that a medication has come into contact with a harmful substance. Even coming into contact with a benign substance can still affect a drug’s chemistry. As a result, this batch of drugs will be pulled off the market to ensure consumers are protected against any ill-effects.

How you respond to a drug recall usually depends on the type of drug you’re taking. With over-the-counter drugs, it’s recommended that you stop taking the medication immediately. With prescription drugs, you should contact your doctor about the next steps. If the drug is treating a serious health condition, your medical team will need to come up with an alternative course of treatment. If you’ve been taking a medication that was recalled and are experiencing troubling symptoms, seek out emergency medical care immediately.

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