Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ghost Tablets

I don't know if any of you are aware of a phenomenon in the pharmacy world as ghost tablet. I want to let you all know about this so you can avoid such a situation as the one I am going to tell you now.

There is a medication out there called Effexor XR which is a very popular antidepressant. Well, there is a generic equivalent that have come our recently but there is one slight difference between the generic and the brand. The brand Effexor XR is available as a capsule while the new Venlafaxine ER is available as a tablet. It is still a controlled release tablet however, rather than being filled with little time release pellets as the capsule is there is a tiny little pin hole in the tablet that slowly releases the medication leaving a ghost tablet which is eliminted in the...well you know how it works.

This lady we had switched from the capsules to the tablets came up to pick up her medication the other day and wanted to talk to the pharmacist. So, I went over to the counter and I noticed that she had demanded brand capsules rather than the tablets. She wanted to talk to me and let me know that the generic does nto work and that her body does not absorb them correctly. I knew that the tablets are eliminated when you go to the bathroom and that this has made people think that the pills are not working.

So I asked her how she knew that her body wasn't absorbing them. She told me that when she went to the bathroom she saw them in the toilet. I told her that was normal. That the medicine is slowly released from the tablet and then the empty shell is eliminated. She said, "but they are hard!" Okay...I told her it is hard, it is so hard that your body cannot absorb the tablet it is just eliminated as a shell and the medicine is in your body. The next thing she told me was quite disturbing. She said, "Okay, this is going to sound gross, but I went to the bathroom and there was three in the toilet. So I reached in and felt one and it was really hard. I have never had this problem before and I don't think they are getting absorbed." I explained to her again, for the third time, that this is normal. Your body is absorbing the medicine and eliminating the empty shell. I told her the reason why this has never happened before is because there is only a handful of medication that works this way and she has probably never been on them before.

So, for all of you to avoid such a gross situation, NEVER REACH INTO THE TOILET!!! Please ask your pharmacist first. Because they don't want to hear stories about your searching through the toilet for your medication.