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Shopping for Your Family's Medications Online: A Safety Guide

family health, fake Adderall

The FDA warned this week of fake Adderall being sold online.

This week, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) released a warning that parents whose children are being treated for ADHD should heed: Some online pharmacies are selling fake Adderall.

Instead of containing the four active ingredients that 30mg tablets of Adderall are supposed to have  — dextroamphetamine saccharate, amphetamine aspartate, dextroamphetamine sulfate, and amphetamine sulfate — the counterfeit product contains tramadol and acetaminophen, ingredients used to treat pain. The FDA says the fake medication should be considered,  “… unsafe, ineffective and potentially harmful.”

Many people are now taking to the internet to purchase medications in an attempt to get them at lower prices than they could at the local pharmacy. If you are without health insurance, or unable to afford steep copays for certain medications in this tough economy, it makes sense to shop around to find the best price for prescriptions your family needs.

Yet a report from CNBC last year found that mislabeled and fake medicines pose a worldwide threat and that, “.. in some countries, counterfeit prescription drugs comprise as much as 70 percent of the drug supply and have been responsible for thousands of deaths.” Everything from bogus versions of Tamiflu and cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor to anti-anxiety medication Ativan and even diabetes test strips have been sold online.

So how do you know what is a legitimate online pharmacy and what isn’t? The Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies says that when you shop for medications online, you can start by checking with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy’s Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS), or at a site called LegitScript. At either of these websites, just input the URL of the online pharmacy at which you would like to shop and you can find out if it’s safe to purchase medications there.

Meantime, if you purchased Adderall through an online pharmacy, you can tell if it’s fake if the pills are white and have no markings on them. Legitimate 30mg Adderall tablets are round and orange/peach colored and marked on either side with “dp” and “30″.

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