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How Do I Know If My Medication Has Been Recalled?

If you take prescription medication or over-the-counter drugs, it’s important to stay up to date on the safety of your medicine. In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the authority in charge of issuing recalls and notifying the public that medication has been recalled.

Why Are Recalls Issued?

Medication recalls can be issued for several reasons. In some cases, a drug is improperly labeled. In other situations, the FDA discovers that a drug causes a dangerous side effect, injury, or death. Drugs can also be recalled because they contain harmful ingredients. Manufacturing errors can also cause a drug to contain potentially dangerous ingredients. In 2012, for example, a manufacturing defect caused popular over-the-counter painkillers, such as Excedrin, to contain small amounts of Percocet, which is a strong prescription painkiller.

Where to Get Recall Information

Although some drugs are recalled due to minor issues, some drug recalls are issued because a medication can cause serious injury or death. For this reason, it’s very important to stay informed about the safety of any medicine you consume.
In many cases, physicians and pharmacists contact a patient directly when a drug has been recalled. The prescribing doctor or pharmacist who filled the prescription will inform individuals of a drug recall. In other cases, drug recalls are publicized through various media outlets.
One of the best places to check for current and past drug recalls in the website of the FDA. The FDA maintains a database of recalls, market withdrawals, and safety alerts. In some situations, a drug manufacturer voluntarily agrees to pull medication from store shelves. In other cases, the FDA forces a drug maker to recall a medication. The FDA website publishes all types of recalls on its site.
Consumers can also check the government site, recalls.gov, to view recalls issued by a wide range of U.S. government agencies.