May 01, 2020

Drug recalls

A drug recall occurs when a company takes action to remove a defective drug product from the market. Companies may do so on their own, or by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) request. You may be alerted to a recall by a public notification or by a notification from the company, your health care provider or your pharmacist. You can access the FDA recall database at www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/drug-recalls. You can also call the FDA's drug recall hotline at 888-463-6332. If you learn that there's a recall of a drug you're taking, respond promptly by:

  • Calling your doctor or pharmacist first — Don't stop taking a medication without talking with a health care professional. The consequences of going without a medication can be far worse than any potential short-term harm related to the cause of the recall.
  • Knowing the lot number — Each medication, whether it's in a bottle, box or tube, has an important identifier called a lot number. A drug recall usually refers to a specific lot — or batch — rather than the medication in general. You can typically find it near the expiration date. Your pharmacist can help find it, too.
  • Disposing of a recalled drug safely — Don't throw recalled drugs in the garbage or flush them down the toilet. The FDA or drug manufacturer may have specific instructions, including sending you a package to mail the drugs back, to guard against further contamination.
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