Drug Alert System Designed by FDA
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently began posting a listing of prescription medications that may have potential risks or safety issues on their website. This listing is an effort to improve communication between the FDA and the public and medical community about possible risks that have been identified in certain medications.
Although this measure is considered to be a good start to letting patients and their doctors know about what medications are being investigated, it does not mean someone should immediately stop using the medication if it appears on the list. According to the FDA site, "FDA wants to emphasize that the listing of a drug and a potential safety issue on this Web site does not mean that FDA is suggesting prescribers should not prescribe the drug or that patients taking the drug should stop taking the medication. Patients who have questions about their use of the identified drug should contact their health care provider."
The listing provides the name of the medication and a brief description of the possible risk or safety issue.
The list will be posted each quarter with medications that have been investigated during the previous quarter.
The current list includes the anxiety medication Duloxetine (Cymbalta) and indicates this medication is being investigated for causing urinary retention. Cymbalta is a medication used to treat depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
Again, because a medication appears on this list does not mean someone should stop taking the medication. If they have questions about continued use, they should contact their physician.
This list, however, is a good step to allow both patients and the medical community information they need to make a more informed decision.