In my seemingly never ending quest to determine why my son has been having mysterious symptoms of anaphylaxis since last year, I make a point of reading every single label every single time. I have called countless manufacturers and eliminated food after food if there was any possibility of cross-contamination. I also read the label of every single medication that is prescribed to him.
Last week my kiddo's gastroenterologist prescribed a new med to try to contain his symptoms. Unlike the typical pill bottles, this one came in the original packaging. When, as usual, I checked the ingredients on the medication guide, I discovered that it listed lactose monohydrate, a milk sugar. Then I looked at the package itself and discovered that the capsules I had received did NOT actually contain this inactive ingredient.
The pills were generic, but the medication guide that CVS provided was for the brand name medication. It was wrong. The light bulb went off, and I wondered if the ingredient lists that I read diligently every month were for the wrong medications.
Yesterday I went to CVS and discovered that is exactly what has happened every time they fill my son's prescriptions with generic medications. I was right to be concerned. I discovered that one of the generics do contain lactose as an inactive ingredient. I contacted the pharmaceutical company that manufactures it today. The lactose is "bovine sourced". The medication contains cows milk.
CVS's failure to provide the correct medication information has caused me to give my child a pill containing an ingredient to which he has a life threatening allergy. Every single day.
I'm sure there will be more to this story, but for now, please make sure that the pharmacy filling your prescription is providing you with the information for the pills you actually receive, not another version of the medication.
Important Update: I've started a petition on WhiteHouse.gov to direct the Food and Drug Administration to require labeling of all food ingredients in prescription medications. Link to post about it here and direct link to the petition here!