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Are you getting just what the doctor ordered?

(StatePoint)  You may not know it, but the prescription medicine you receive at the pharmacy may not necessarily be your doctor’s first choice. Depending on the situation, the pharmacist may call your doctor and ask for a change to an entirely different medicine.

This may not seem like a big deal, but it could impact your health if you are taking medicine for depression and doing well on your treatment. Doctors are concerned about this, too.

A recent survey found that:

  • Nine out of ten doctors polled have felt pressured to prescribe a generic antidepressant, even if it was not their first choice.
  • Nearly all (97 percent) have been asked to switch a patient who is doing well on one antidepressant to a different one in the same class.

One of the biggest concerns among the doctors in the survey is that for people who take medicine for mental health and are doing well on treatment, being switched to another medicine may lead to relapse, additional side effects, a reduction in quality of care, or hospitalization.

“There is no substitute for feeling well. If you are doing well on a certain medicine, stick with it. Not all medicines, including antidepressants, work the same for everyone, and not all medications have a generic counterpart,” advises Dr. Roger Cadieux of the Penn State University College of Medicine.

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  • Talk to your doctor about the treatment he prescribed for you and make sure you understand why he recommended it.
  • Ask your pharmacist if the medication you receive is exactly what your doctor prescribed. If it isn’t, make sure to discuss the differences with your doctor before accepting it.
  • Let your doctor know if you received a medication that has a different look or name than what you are used to.

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