How to Check for Drug Recalls

Drug recalls involving prescription or over-the-counter drugs occur for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, a particular batch of a drug is defective. Sometimes, there is a labeling error. Ingredients may not be properly listed, or the drug inside the packaging may be completely different from what the label says. There could be problems with the pharmaceutical manufacturing process that leads to a recall.

Although many drug recalls happen for relatively minor reasons, sometimes drugs are recalled because of serious harm or death experienced by users of the drug. In the United States, including Connecticut, the Food and Drug Administration handles drug recalls.

In most cases involving a recall of a prescription drug, the doctor who prescribed the drug or the pharmacist who filled it will contact the consumer directly. However, consumers should not rely solely on their doctors and pharmacists to inform them of potential drug recalls as it is not always possible to notify consumers. Although recalls are often announced via the news or social media, consumers should not rely on these outlets solely for information, either.

Instead, it is important to be proactive and stay informed about drug recalls. Drug recalls are announced on government websites. has current information regarding all products that have been recalled by the government.

The FDA also maintains a website with information on recalls pertinent to the organization, including drugs, medical devices, cosmetics, and foods, which have occurred in the past 60 days. Consumers can sign up to receive email alerts regarding recall information. Alternately, consumers can follow the FDA's Twitter feed, @FDARecalls.

If you have experienced severe adverse effects from a drug or have a concern regarding a drug's quality or potency, you can report the incident to the FDA by filling out a form on their Med Watch Adverse Event Reporting website.

If you have taken a drug that was recalled, make sure to remove the drug from your medicine cabinet and properly dispose of it. Call a pharmacist for assistance regarding proper disposal of the drug, or return the drug to the pharmacy. Call your physician for medical advice. If you are still taking the drug, he or she can prescribe a different drug to use instead, and your doctor can also advise you on how to handle adverse effects from the drug.