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I have been a long time customer of Rite Aid. Despite my asking them to keep a record that my medications need to be gluten free - I have had to remind them each time I have a prescription. So yesterday - I brought in a prescription, told them that I was Celiac - and  asked them to make sure that the medication is gluten free. After a wait, the pharmacist told me that he could not verify that it was gluten free - and asked if it was okay that there may be a bit of gluten in it. What?!? - Maybe he should dispense some drugs with just a tiny bit of arsenic - and ask customers if that was okay with them.

 

I called Walgreens - and had the prescription transferred. They were willing and able to call the manufacturer to verify its gluten free status. They marked my file as I stood there.

 

Now a vent on generic drug makers - I keep a list of gluten free drugs on my phone. However - not all makers of generic drugs are on it. The pharmacist at Walgreens told me that the manufacturers can change the non-active ingredients at any time - so it's good to check the gluten free status on a regular basis

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Some pharmacists will check this for you, most will not. They simply do not have the time. On top of that, frankly, I do not trust them to check for me because they are not familiar with the questions to ask, the "lingo" or the particular key scary things to listen for while the customer service person on the phone spouts off. I have said before to people I know that trust is a luxury I can not afford, when it comes to my health being on the line and the idea of being sick for weeks at a time I will not let some random pharmacist I don't know (probably actually a pharm tech, not the pharmacist) make the call that decides whether or not I spend the next week wishing I was dead, plus the ensuing recovery.

 

If you have found a pharmacist you really trust your life with beyond their ability to just do their job putting pills in a bottle, by all means do whatever you feel you're comfortable with. But it is really simple and easy to ask what manufacturer the pharmacy would fill with, call that manufacturer and ask if it is gluten free or not. It usually takes me less than 5 minutes to make both phone calls. Rarely it will take as long as 10 minutes.

 

Yes, manufacturers can change the ingredients at any time, just as is true with our food. This is why we all need the "every label, every time" rule. To this end, I call the manufacturer of the drug I take regularly once every three months to verify that it is still gluten free. If it is a new prescription I call on every single one, every single time. The only drugs I do not call on ever are the ones that come from gluten free manufacturers.

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