I just picked up my prescription for Celebrex (for arthritis), and the pills look different. Should I assume that my Louisville pharmacist is substituting a generic medication, or should I question her about it?

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Absolutely, question her! Never assume anything about your medication; the consequences of taking the wrong medicine may be deadly.

There are a number of reasons the pills may look different. As you stated, you may be receiving a generic form of the drug, in which case the pharmacist should have indicated this on the label. Other reasons include the following:

  • The manufacturer made a revision to the color or shape of the pill.
  • The name of the medication was not written clearly, and the pharmacist read the script wrong.
  • The pharmacist saw what he expected to see—perhaps the name of a commonly prescribed medication; this is known as “confirmation bias.”
  • The pharmacist made a mistake in the pills she grabbed; maybe they were the same color and shape as the correct pills.

What You Can Do to Prevent a Medication Error

Be a careful consumer. If you have any questions about your medicine, ask the pharmacist or your doctor. Here are some other things you can do, as listed on ConsumerMedSafety.org:

  • Make sure that the pharmacist knows why you are taking the medicine.
  • Check any prescription refills before you leave the pharmacy to make sure it looks like you expect.
  • When picking up a new prescription, discuss it with the pharmacist.
  • Read the flyer that comes with your medicine. 

If you were the victim of a Kentucky medication error, contact the Louisville medication error lawyers at Gray and White Law. Call us at 502-210-8942 or toll free at 888-450-4456 and set up a FREE, no-obligation, confidential consultation.