Are you worried because your prescription has a black box
warning? What is a black box warning anyway? “Black box” or “boxed” warnings
are issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to the FDA “black
box warnings appear on a prescription drug’s label and is designed to call
attention to serious or life-threatening risks,” (FDA.gov).
Okay…but what do black box warnings mean for you?
The reason you don’t always hear the term “black box” is
because it is designed for the doctor. The bold, outlined box contains
information that is easy to see and read. This information may help the doctor
to make decisions about prescriptions.
A black box warning empowers you, as well! When you know
what is in that black box, you can discuss the medication and the possible
risks vs. benefits with your doctor. A medication is only labeled with a black
box warning if there are severe possible reactions. Therefore, you and your
doctor can proceed with extra caution.
Sometimes, the benefits of the drug outweigh the possible
risks listed in the black box warning. There may be more probable risks to you
not taking the medication. The FDA labels medications so that doctors can make
those delicate decisions. There might be an alternate medication or form of
treatment to try before prescribing the prescription with the black box warning.
The practice of placing a box around serious adversities is not
new. According to a Pharmacy
Times, the first black box warnings began in 1976. Since their
implementation, doctors must review the warning with you. This leads to a
conversation about the right course of action for your health. Information is
power! It’s vital to understand the risks and benefits of a drug you consume.
Prescriptions that have a black box warning can be abused.
For example, if you are prescribed something like Adderall, Xanax, Vicodin or
another medication and some have gone missing, you may want to have your
children tested. Many children and teenagers find drugs to abuse in right in
their own homes. If you are concerned that your children are stealing your
medications that contain a black box warning, or other prescriptions, contact
the Great Lakes Labs today using this form HERE, or call: (219) 464-8885.