COVID-19 has changed the way we shop, and that includes how prescription drugs are purchased. Many of us are purchasing drugs through the internet and having them delivered to our homes.
While convenient, online pharmacies present new risks. The problem created by online pharmacies is the loss of the last line of protection – the staff of the pharmacy who knows and cares about their customers. In an online setting, we are no more than a name and number in a computer.
Still, there are things you can do to protect yourself, and below are seven suggestions that should make you safer.
- When your prescription drugs arrive, check their appearance. Prescription drugs received through an online pharmacy should look the same as those purchased at your local pharmacy. If the pills look different, call the pharmacy and check to make sure that an error hasn’t occurred. Sometimes pills look different because the manufacturer or the dose has changed. But sometimes the pills look different because the drugs have been sent to you aren’t the correct prescriptions. So, look at your prescriptions before taking them and question anything that looks different or out of place.
- Fill all of your prescriptions at one pharmacy, including online pharmacies. Do not use multiple pharmacies!! Most pharmacies use electronic tools to check for bad drug interactions. However, these vital life-saving tools are only useful if one pharmacy is filling all of your prescriptions.
- Take any food and beverage drug interactions seriously. Eating certain foods while taking certain prescription drugs can damage your health, or even kill you. For example, the blood thinner warfarin is made less effective by foods high in vitamin K. And, other cholesterol drugs, known as statins, can hurt you if you drink grapefruit juice.
- Don’t take medication prescribed for someone else – EVER!! Age, weight, and specific medical conditions can affect the type and amount of any prescription drug that should is appropriate. Do not assume that the medication prescribed for your friend or relative is the same as what you should be taking.
- Follow all dosing recommendations on your prescription bottle. You should not be changing the dosing, time of taking your prescription, or anything else relating to your medication. And, if you are a doctor, please do not treat yourself by changing your dosing without consulting with your physician.
- If you use an online pharmacy, make sure it is reputable. There are many sleazy and dishonest people in the world that want to take advantage of you. There are many sleazy and dishonest people in the world that want to take advantage of you. If online pharmacy prices seem too good to be true, they probably aren’t selling FDA approved drugs and should be avoided.
- And, do not purchase from offshore pharmacies, ever.
Hopefully, these seven tips help keep you safe, healthy, and happy.