We always take it for granted that we will get the medicine we are prescribed, if not from one pharmacy may be from another. In fact, we might even expect to have more than one option thrown at us. It could be the same molecular, let’s say, omeprazole, so we might be offered Omez or Ocid; it’s all omeprazole given in the management of peptic ulcer disease or as commonly referred to; ulcers. But have you imagined going to a pharmacy and finding that the drug you want is out of stock not only in that pharmacy but in every other outlet that you go to.
It can actually happen that the drug you have been prescribed is out of stock in the country. This especially happens for people taking medicine for long term treatment. The best alternative in this case is to go back to the prescriber and relay that information. They will most likely come up with a suitable alternative.
The next best option is seek the pharmacist’s advice, after all they are the custodians of drugs. Let them advise you on what suitable options the market has to offer. It could be a drug in the same class as the other of course. However, what could work for patient A may not necessarily work for patient B. Withholding from taking medicine until you find your prescribed medicine is never too wise.
Flexibility is also a good option. Sometimes it is a particular brand that is out of stock. Let’s take the above example of omeprazole. It could be that Omez is not available and yet Ocid is. Rather than miss a dose, take the other brand.
There is another scenario where the strength you have been given is not available. For example you might have been prescribed cefixime 400mg and there is only 200mg available. This is an antibiotic. Other than skipping the medicine, you could opt for the 200mg and take two of these to compensate for the 400mg. This also refers back to flexibility.
The writer is a pharmacist