In the News

Prescription warnings and inserts often ignored

June 13, 2024

By Terri Russell

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - A recent survey from DrFirst shows more than half of those on prescription experienced a major sunburn and were unaware that was a side effect of their medication. That’s despite the fact, the drug contained a warning about that side effect.

17-year-old Bella Vazeen says it happened to her.

“Yea, I was at the beach and just chillin’ laying out in the sun, playing beach games. I guess going swimming all of that,” says Vazeen. “I was bright red, and I could tell right away this is going to be painful.”

Vazeen says it was later explained to her, some antibiotics, can in some patients, make them extra sensitive to the sun’s rays.

While the warning was placed on the prescription, Vazeen says she isn’t one to read package inserts. And she’s not alone.

Many patients ignore the warnings placed on or inside the packaging. They contain such advice as don’t mix the drug with alcohol. Take the medication on an empty stomach. What foods should not be eaten while on the medication? Even, what to do if a dosage is missed.

Dr. Cindy Lamerson says she’s not surprised by the survey’s results. She says while drug manufacturers are required to include directions and warnings. many times, it can be information overload.

“The leaflets are very complex,” says Dr. Lamerson. “I think everyone has gotten one of those leaflets, some of them are two or three pages. I think again, with people when it is so long and arduous they don’t know what is important and what is not.”

Dr. Lamerson says those on additional medications, who drink alcohol, or spend time out in the sun, need to tell a doctor or pharmacists about that.

She says take a list of current medications, and questions about what a new prescription may mean to those other medications’ effectiveness with a to visit the doctor or pharmacist.

Ask about common side effects as well.

One encouraging result from the survey shows 56% of those asked report they take an opportunity to talk to a pharmacist “some of the time.”

It’s best to take the time and learn as much as possible about a prescription. Mixing alcohol or drugs with that medication can mean being treated for another medical complication that could have been avoided.

View the article on KOLO News 8

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