What You Can Do
- Tell the FDA Commissioner that you need the FDA to act on this problem, as part of the their responsibility to ensure that medications for epilepsy are safe. You want to be able to count on your antiepileptic medications to act in the same exact way in your body no matter which manufacturer’s versions of the drug you use is issued. You want to avoid unexpected seizures and side effects.
Click here to send a message directly to the FDA.
- Tell your pharmacist you do not want your medication switched without your consent – and your doctor’s consent – and ask him or her to put a note in your electronic record explaining that you take antiepileptic medications for seizures and not to switch you.
Download letter for your pharmacist from No More Seizures site.
What if you experience unexpected side effects or seizures following a switch?
Find out if your insurer will cover the exact medication that you need. You may have options through your insurance policy that provide coverage of a specific brand AED that you need. This may be done through your contact or action with the insurer or pharmacist; or it may require your physician to help through an appeal to your insurance company or by informing the pharmacist that the medication should not be switched.
Click here for more information on what you can do to ensure your medication is covered and to learn more about the Epilepsy Foundation’s outreach and education to insurance companies about medication switching.
- Reporting Problems with Medication Switches
Contact the Food and Drug Administration
If you have had unusual side effects or unexpected seizures within 4 to 6 weeks of a switch in the formulation of your medication, immediately call your doctor to let him or her know and inform the FDA by contacting the Commissioner’s office and MedWatch to file a report of a problem with switching.
The FDA encourages people with epilepsy and physicians to report any breakthrough seizures resulting from switching formulations of a product to the FDA's MedWatch program. For information, call 1-800-FDA-1088 or visit the web site at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
You may also wish to contact the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator for your state
Click here for a list of FDA consumer complaint contacts
- File a Complaint with your State Board of Pharmacy If your pharmacy, pharmacy staff or mail order pharmacy did not inform you and/or inform your doctor of an intended medication switch you may wish to consider filing a complaint with your state’s Board of Pharmacy. Pharmacies and pharmacists are regulated by the boards of pharmacy in each state; this is the main contact for consumer complaints in the states.
Click here for a sample letter outline that you can use to write a personal complaint. When you have completed your letter of complaint, click here for a list of contact information for your state board of pharmacy.
- Join the Epilepsy Foundation’s eCommunities and let people know what you think or how you’ve been affected by medication switching. You can also find out more about how it has affected others. It’s a great place to connect with people facing some of the same issues you are.
- Be familiar with what your epilepsy medication looks like. If you take a brand-name epilepsy medicine, you can look it up here.