Coming soon to a pharmacy near you- migraine medications that can be purchased without a prescription. Over-the-counter (OTC) migraine drugs are on a list of other prescription medications included in the FDA’s newest proposal regarding nonprescription drugs.
What’s on the table?
According to research presented by the FDA, approximately 20% of all patients (migraine headache and other chronic headache patients, for example) never get their prescriptions filled. Either they don’t have the money to get their meds, or they don’t have insurance coverage. Time required to visit a doctor is another factor that prevents many people from getting migraine treatments.
The FDA is proposing a plan to make it easier for chronic pain patients to get the medicine they so badly need. By switching the status of certain migraine drugs from prescription-only to OTC, the FDA hopes to make it easier and cheaper for people to manage their migraines.
Which medicines are included?
Drugs that may become available over the counter include medications for migraines, hypertension, asthma, and high cholesterol. Also under consideration are birth control pills.
While some migraine drugs will make a direct transition to OTC, other medications may require an initial doctor’s prescription, with the option of refilling at any pharmacy thereafter.
“What we are asking is, should there be more flexibility in the concept of nonprescription drugs? Can we broaden the assistance a consumers gets and increase the types of medicines that might be available over-the-counter.” – Janet Woodcock, M.D., director, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research
Aren’t pharmacists overworked already?
This new proposal will take patient-care responsibilities away from your headache specialist’s office and directly into the lap of your nearest pharmacist.
Here are some important points to consider:
- Currently, only medicines for conditions that can be self-diagnosed easily are available without prescription. Cold medicines, headache pain relievers, and antacids are among items that are available over the counter.
- The FDA wants to expand its list of OTC medicines to include migraine drugs that require monitoring. The only difference is that pharmacists will be placed in the position of assisting you, the migraine patient, with your drug purchases.
- Certain migraine medications may be available only after speaking to your pharmacist. Does that mean that a pharmacist will have the power to refuse certain painkillers?
- The FDA is suggesting implementing modern-day technologies like pharmacy kiosks and online questionnaires in helping migraine drug users select the right item for their symptoms. Who will be responsible for helping you make those choices, and ensuring that you understand all drug warnings and restrictions? Your pharmacist.
- For millions of chronic migraine, asthma, cholesterol, and hypertension patients, this new FDA proposal will result in less time under the care of a qualified physician, and more time being waited on by a drugstore pharmacist.
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