Unfiltered Story #106401

| Unfiltered | March 4, 2018

I’m a receptionist in a primary care clinic where most of our patients are elderly. My job is primarily to check patients in and make follow up appointments, but being the front desk person, I’m the first person patients come to when they have other questions or concerns, especially about medication.

This particular patient came in saying that one of her medications had been changed by an inpatient provider and she wasn’t going to take it. Since this is fairly common, I asked to see the medication so I could investigate why it was changed and help her understand why she has to take something else. She showed me the box of “old” medication, which is a common but important drug among our population. She then gave me the box for the “new” medicine while reiterating that she was upset that it was prescribed and she wasn’t going to take it. At first glance, the boxes look different, but upon reading the prescription labels, it becomes clear that the “new” medicine is the exact same as the “old” one. Her doctor had refilled the prescription for her for what she’d been taking all along. The pharmacy had just gotten the same drug from a different manufacturer, hence the different looking boxes. I explain this to the patient and tell her that it’s perfectly fine to take the “new” medicine as it’s the exact same drug she’s been taking all along. She begins to argue with me, saying that it isn’t the same and once she runs out of the “old” one she’s not taking the “new” one. I show her the prescription labels on both boxes and point out how they’re identical, same drug and dosage. The drug names on the boxes are the same, so it’s very clear it’s the same medicine. The patient kept shaking her head and saying it isn’t the same. Trying to give her the benefit of the doubt, I ask her why she’s convinced the drugs are not the same. She points to the different manufacturer labels and says “those aren’t the same.” Nevermind the fact that the prescription labels say the same thing and the drug name is on the boxes clearly stating what’s inside, the fact that the boxes look different was what made her believe they were not the same medicine. Neither I or our nurse manager could convince her that the “new” medicine was definitely the same as her “old” one. We ended up booking her an appointment with her doctor in the hopes that hearing it from him would make her understand. We don’t think she’ll come.