Walgreens:"No One Will Want To Be Within 25ft Of You" If You Don't Take Your Depression Meds

Reader Beth writes in to share her mom’s recent experience with a Walgreen’s pharmacist:

Last week my mom told me about the unfortunate experience she had at Walgreen’s. She had recently switched to a new antidepressant and when she came down with a cold was concerned about taking OTC cold medicine with it.

She went to the pharmacy counter and asked the pharmacist (at least she assumed it was the pharmacist, they were wearing the lab coat) if it was safe to take cold medicine with the Effexor. The pharmacist replied that they didn’t know. Not exactly a helpful answer, but I am sure there was a valid reason they couldn’t answer the question. What happened next was disturbing. My mom then asked if it would be ok to skip her Effexor for a day, so she could take the cold medicine without worrying. The pharmacist responded that “If you don’t take that Effexor no one will want to be within 25 ft of you.”

Now my mom isn’t ashamed of her depression, can laugh about it and is comfortable talking about. But this made her extremely embarrassed and uncomfortable about using the pharmacy. My mom is not dangerously depressed, but this pharmacist should have known better than to say this to a depressed person. You never know how unstable a person is. My mom chose not to complain, but I thought this was an example of how one employee can really alienate a customer.

Thanks,

Beth

That pharmacist was an unprofessional jerk! We want to hang out with your Mom no matter what. Give her a big hug from the Consumerist.

(Photo:meghannmarco)

Comments

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  1. Scatter says:

    This is a non issue to me. At the very worst the guy was unprofessional as I’m sure we all have been at one time or another. Get over it.

  2. SabrinaFaire says:

    What an assbag.

  3. stpauliegirl says:

    That’s totally rude and unacceptable. There’s a form at Walgreen’s website that you can use to send feedback to corporate, and there’s a space to put a specific employee’s name. Even if you guys don’t have the employee’s name, I’d drop Walgreen’s a note with the date, time, and location of this.

    Here’s the link. Click on “Pharmacy staff.” [www.walgreens.com]

  4. MsFeasance says:

    Wow, I never knew the D. in Pharm.D. stood for Douche.

  5. Nighthawke says:

    That pill pusher needs to be puck back in line for that kind of attitude. Poor professionalism hurts a company more than you can shake a stick at.

  6. Falconfire says:

    99% sure it wasnt a Pharmacist. There are only 2-3 working at any one store while the rest of those “lab coat” techs are just that, techs who have no degree in pharmaceutical work and are usually just high school grads.

  7. bohemian says:

    This is why we quit using Walgreens. They have some of the most incompetent pharmacy staff. Do you really want someone who can’t find their way out of a wet paper bag handling your prescriptions?

    A pharmacist should be able to look in their computer system and also on the package insert for the prescription drug for any stated reactions. If nothing is listed they should have told her that there were no listed warnings but that isn’t a guarantee there isn’t a contradiction potential with the OTC drug.

    The snarky comment was totally unprofessional. She could contact the state pharmacy board.

  8. SOhp101 says:

    It could have been (and likely was) a pharmacy technician.

  9. Coelacanth says:

    Heh, once I went into a Duane Reade and a pharmacist was consulting a friend of mine who has severe allergy problems. After trying nearly everything on the market, and being dissatisfied with their efficacy, she asked if there’s anything she could do to improve her condition.

    The pharmacist responded first, “Move to Arizona.”

    She then asked, “That’s not going to happen. Isn’t there anything that can like… knock out my immune system and get rid of my allergies?”

    He replied, “Well, you can always get AIDS.”

  10. chemmy says:

    Tell your mom next time to Google it. I’d never trust what the pharmacist said anyway…. especially now.

    I’ve Googled medicine interactions to check what I’m prescribed before I take it. Cross reference a couple of sites (the three I checked all agreed) and you should be good. They let you put in the name of the medicines and choose from a list so she should be good.

    Oh and switch pharmacies.

  11. I stopped taking mine and people seem to still tolerate me.

  12. trillium says:

    While completely unrelated – Walgreen’s policy on supporting non-profits and service organizations is the reason I don’t do business with them anymore (the above is probably while I’ll never consider stepping foot in a Walgreen’s again – despite the fact they are building a new one just down the street).

    In referring to the afforementioned support for service organizations, Happy Harry’s in DE had many of the eyeglass boxes for Lions Club International (you know – old eye glass collection). Without contacting the club, Walgreen’s came in and tossed every box, even wooden ones that had been handmade. Not only every box, but every pair of eyeglasses in those boxes.

    This happened a few years ago and it’s exactly why I try to avoid “big” stores when at all possible.

    Long live the small town pharmacies!

  13. burgundyyears says:

    Um, white lab coat != pharmacist. Generally, most pharmacies will have a single on-duty pharmacist and a few pharmacy techs.

    Also, if you have drug questions, it’s probably better to ask your doctor rather than a pharmacist. Just saying.

  14. Scatter says:

    So a pharmacist had a bad day and was rude. This is supposed to be newsworthy?

  15. FatLynn says:

    Okay, I know that the statement was extreme and insensitive, BUT depression meds are one of the most difficult categories in driving patient compliance. Many patients feel “fine” and skip or stop taking their meds. I don’t think it is out of line for a pharmacist to warn strongly against skipping medication. This is obviously too strongly, but I at least think I see what she was getting at.

  16. SOhp101 says:

    @burgundyyears: No way. Pharmacist >>> Doctor when it comes to drugs; most doctors know jack squat and there’s tons of ethical issues that sprout when it comes to doctors and pharmaceutical reps.

    Most doctors don’t care to learn more about newer drugs that come onto the market unless they absolutely have to, and when they do, they often prescribe ‘newer’ medicines that don’t necessarily work any better than the older drugs.

    Generally most pharmacists will make any recommendations to your doctor for alternative drugs that might work better for your condition or that might be a lot cheaper on your out of pocket expenses. They can’t legally diagnose your symptoms though so don’t ask.

  17. joltdude says:

    I had a similar scenereo at the local Walgreens.. regarding a prescription/insurance thing and syringes and a comment to the effect, “Well you could always pay for it… There was even more scathing remarks I wish not to repeat after that.. The Pharmacist Tech has *NO* right to pass judgements on their clients.. it is considered unprofessional and I did report this to walgreens and later to the licensing board…. Walgreens never sent me an apology, nothing.. but the next time I went in there, the woman would NOT serve me and went and got the pharmacist who was actually very polite and courteous. I stopped going there shortly therafter when I realized they were overcharging me for a uncovered prescription and Costco was a MUCH better deal… by almost 50$

  18. SoCalGNX says:

    Moving to Arizona will not help your allergies. The pollen from the desert plants is as bad or worse than any other place. I love AZ, have lived there twice and plan to go back at retirement. But don’t be lulled into thinking moving to the desert will help allergies. It won’t.
    Walgreens sucks. There must be minimal training on customer service there.
    @COELACANTH:

  19. Bill Brasky says:

    Best answer:

    “If that’s the case, why did you stop taking yours?”

    Prick-and-a half.

  20. katylostherart says:

    well that’s a dick thing to do. i kind of hope he does say that to someone who’s severely unbalanced and the ensuing brawl ends up on youtube. proof he wasn’t a pharmacist, effexor is for mild to moderate depression. it’s doubtful she’d be that scary off her meds.

  21. twinklebean912 says:

    Anti-Depressant medications take several days to several weeks to get to a high, working level in your systems and likewise, can take a lot of time once you stop taking the medications to not be in your bloodstream at all. So, skipping one day to take another medicine that might not be incompatible is generally alright and you won’t actually notice a difference. However, your mom should never skip more than one day or any days actually without first consulting the prescribing doctor, not those teenagers behind the pharmacy counter.
    I stopped using CVS because of their attitude and stupidity, lets hope my local Walgreens doesn’t follow the same road….no mom & pop pharmacies around here and COSTCO is too far :(

  22. lapazlinda says:

    I have to say that sometimes it takes a slap up the head to get senior citizens to listen to ANY kind of medical advice, I can give them the benefit of the doubt.

  23. failurate says:

    I keep forgetting that AIDS jokes are not funny yet. In time, we will all get a good laugh.

  24. Clarkins says:

    Quit using Walgreens years ago when it took an hour to get a prescription filled and I was the only one getting a prescription.
    They couldn’t find me in the computer or some crap like that.
    I exclusively use a small retail pharmacy for all that. They’re very helpful. They know me by name when I walk in the door.

  25. Wow. I am so glad that chains like Walgreens and CVS have put pretty much every local mom and pop pharmacy out of business.

  26. Hoss says:

    If this took place in NYC or Boston, I don’t see that that this is very unusual

  27. unklegwar says:

    Skipping Effexor for a day isn’t going to make a bit of difference. Effexor, like most antidepressants, is a drug that must build up in your system before any effect is seen. Skipping one day is not going to eliminate it from your blood, so she’d still be subject to any interactions.

    If she’s been depressed that long, she should know a little more about how the meds work.

  28. snead says:

    She should absolutely file a complaint with that Walgreens. That person should not be behind that counter, pharmacist or not.

    I don’t think you can generalize this to the chain though, I don’t think they have Starbucks-style pharma-rista training.

  29. camille_javal says:

    aaagh… what’s worse about this is it is, in fact, dangerous to stop taking Effexor suddenly, even for a day. It’s known for having some of the worst withdrawal symptoms of any of the SSRI-related (it’s an SSRI + norepinephrine) antidepressants out there – you have to be tapered off of it to avoid seizures (and even then you can experience horrible twitches and the like). When I switched off of it, by the end of the tapering I still had to take a quarter of the smallest mg pill offered every other day (for a couple weeks) to stave off pain, muscle spasms, and headaches.

    Of course not everyone will respond the same way, but this pharmacy flunkie, by being an ass, also could have put your mom in danger.

    (Effexor isn’t a MAOI, so cold medicines tend to be safe; it tended to be better for me to avoid meds w/ pseudoephedrine, though, so I didn’t get too wired.)

  30. johnarlington says:

    Small independently owned pharmacists aren’t the answer either. I have had nothing but problems with the small pharmacy near us. I thought that I would give the ‘small guy’ a chance. But after enough prescriptions had been messed up, billing screw ups, and the gouging we got on prices, I switched back to a pharmacy located in a big store. The other advantage that you get from a chain pharmacy in big store, is that the pharmacist is an employee and not working from paycheck to paycheck

  31. Jon Mason says:

    @COELACANTH: Wow. As much as that is a completely offensive comment to be made, it actually made me laugh really hard – a pretty good joke for a pharmacist that any standup would be proud of.

  32. Pro-Pain says:

    Walgreens sucks. They are just a McDonalds for pills and should be treated as such. Call your doctor for info/issues with medicine. That’s the safest bet.

  33. TheProf says:

    @camille_javal: I agree – good advice delivered horribly. I’ve been on Effexor for a while, and if I miss a day, by the time the next dose rolls around, I get light-headed and lose my equilibrium. When I tried to switch off it the first time and did it too quickly, I got horrible headaches and dizziness, experienced all too frequently what has been described by some as “Brain Shivers” or “Brain Zaps,” and, on point with the pharmacist’s comments, became very irritable. I was snapping at everybody, whether it was because of the horrible withdrawal symptoms or some chemical result of withdrawal. It was pretty nasty.

  34. Coelacanth says:

    @masonreloaded: I laughed, she didn’t. Not everyone has the same sense of humour.

  35. catcherintheeye says:

    @burgundyyears: I have to disagree as well. A Pharm.D. is a four year degree that deals almost exclusively with drugs, and often doctors don’t know what they are supposed to give you. My girlfriend is a pharmacist – she often has to call the doctor to tell them that they are wrong. Keep in mind that pharma sales reps typically visit doctors, not pharmacists. There’s a reason you got a script for the name brand drug.

    I would trust a pharmacist over a doctor regarding drugs always.

  36. rochec says:

    Hi. It’s a pharmacist or maybe even an assistant. Either way they don’t know what you can and can’t take together.

    That’s why you have a doctor.

    People don’t seem to understand that pharmacists are nothing like a doctor. That said, no a comment like that should never have happened.

  37. EllenRose says:

    Calling the doctor is okay if you don’t mind waiting, sometimes for days or weeks. If you’re in the pharmacy, you want the answer NOW. And pharmacists are trained in such things. Just be sure you really are getting the pharmacist. (S)he should be right there, but probably not staffing the counter.

  38. rochec says:

    @catcherintheeye:

    You couldn’t be more wrong. That just means you have a bad doctor.

    You let a pharmacist diagnose you and/or tell you that you shouldn’t be taking a medication when they know nothing about your situation and you are in trouble. (even if they did, they are in no place to tell you what to take)

  39. topgun says:

    Plain old unprofessional. I’m glad the woman takes a proactive approach to depression and doesn’t view it as a stigma. I for one have found that my local Krogers has an excellent pharmacy. Especially now that they’ve offered $4 generic prescriptions.

  40. rjhiggins says:

    @lapazlinda: First, there is no suggestion in the story that her mother is a senior citizen. She could be 40 years old for all we know.

    Second, she was doing exactly what she should do: Ask about drug interactions. If the technician doesn’t know he/she should consult with the pharmacist.

  41. brianala says:

    @camille_javal: EXACTLY!

    Effexor is not something you want to stop taking suddenly, for any reason. I was on it for a short while, and missing a dose by even an hour resulted in some pretty severe withdrawal symptoms.

    Do a search on “brain zaps” and you’ll see what I mean. The disorientation alone could put her in a dangerous situation. I would not want to have to try and drive like that.

  42. rjhiggins says:

    @rochec: A pharmacist should be well-versed in drug interaction — or be able to look it up. That’s their job.

  43. chemicalx9 says:

    @rochec: you couldnt be more wrong…sorry you have such a dim view of my profession, though it doesnt help when walgreen’s ass-hats act this way because they are overworked. Any pharmacist worth their salt knows the answer to this patients question.

  44. aka Cat says:

    @bill51773: Win.

  45. Trump48257 says:

    @SOhp101:

    As a soon to be MD myself I would say that Pharmacists know their drugs much better than many Docs–many times Pharmacists call Doctors to advise a Rx change due to a drug interaction or contraindication, but you’re making vast generalizations about Doctors. Some of the things you say are true with some, but definitely not most Docs–at least in my experience. I personally refuse to take anything on the bill of a Drug Rep–my patients are just going to foot the bill for that in some way. I only prescribe/refer to drugs as their generic name and I personally try to use older, more proven drugs unless there is some huge proven benefit to some new drug (which in most cases there is not).

  46. KristinaBeana says:

    @burgundyyears: Ummm, white lab can also = Clinique.

  47. feralparakeet says:

    Effexor is fine with OTC cold meds – I used to take it, before I developed a rash because of it.

    The pharmacist/tech/store employee was right, though – most people who miss a dose of Effexor are evil until they get their system righted. It’s not their fault, but the drug really does have nasty withdrawal symptoms. I know that I didn’t want anyone I cared about to be within 25 feet of me if I’d run out of meds, because it was really really bad.

    It should’ve been put much more kindly, that’s for damned sure… but

  48. Seopad says:

    Theres nothing wrong with telling it like it is. This country is so overly sensitive. I would rather have someone be frank, if not blunt and to the point, instead of sugarcoating the answers to my questions. I don’t want to feel warm and fuzzy, I want to know the answer plain and simple.

    Which do you think had more of an lasting effect:

    Q: Should I not take my pills?
    A: No you should take them.

    Q: Should I not take my pills?
    A: If you don’t take that Effexor no one will want to be within 25 ft of you.

    You think she got the point?

  49. feralparakeet says:

    @feralparakeet:

    ..errr… I was going to finish that thought, but nevermind.

  50. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    It’s a pharmacist or maybe even an assistant. Either way they don’t know what you can and can’t take together.

    You let a pharmacist diagnose you and/or tell you that you shouldn’t be taking a medication when they know nothing about your situation and you are in trouble.

    @rochec, @rochec: A pharmacist is supposed to know about drug interactions, which is what Beth’s mom was asking about. She wasn’t asking for a diagnosis or whether the cold medicine would be OK for her given her personal health problems. It’s not the same thing. Whether or not a cold medicine will react badly with an antidepressant has nothing to do with her personally.

    I wouldn’t expect a doctor to know about all the things you can’t take, eat, drink, or do while on a certain drug but I would expect a pharmacist to be able to tell me, even if they have to look it up first.

  51. HalOfBorg says:

    You HAVE to believe someone if they are wearing a ‘White Lab Coat’ – remember “Dinosaurs”??

    “NOT THE MAMA!!!” (BAM!)

    “You do that again, I’ll throw you across the room!”

  52. Ghede says:

    I say the pharmacist didn’t go far enough.

    “If you don’t take these pills, nobody will ever love you ever again.”

    That oughta help cure the depression!

    And because I know there are some thickies out there on the internet… lets play a game! It is called “Find the Sarcasm.”

  53. texasannie says:

    I am a Certified Pharmacy Technician, and I know that pharmacy techs can wear labcoats too. What they CAN’T do is counsel you about drugs. In Texas, if you ask a pharmacy tech for a recommendation for an OTC pain reliever, he or she has to get the pharmcist to answer your question. I believe that is the case in every state. Plenty of techs break this law, but they shouldn’t. So either way, Beth’s mother should report the incident to Walgreen’s corporate and probably to the state board, since she didn’t get the answer to an important question which probably could have been answered by perusing the information on the drug that comes stapled to the bag. It’s a the pharmacist’s job to answer your questions, and pharmacists who don’t do their jobs should find another career.

  54. marsneedsrabbits says:

    Please, encourage your mom to talk to a manager, write a letter, and file a complaint with your state’s Pharmacy Board.
    I can’t begin to imagine how hard it was to hear that, and for some people, I’m sure they would stop taking their medications.

    Also, consider going elsewhere. Walgreens pharmacy seems to attract the worst sorts of people.

    I’ve personally had awesome luck with Target – they always take a moment and find the answer to any question I’ve had, and have never messed up a pharmacy order, whereas I cannot say either is true with Walgreens.

  55. JackHandey says:

    Yesterday I (an American) was in a discussion (with an American) how Americans don’t react well to rude comments or personal criticism… Confirmed.

  56. This reminds me of the time, years ago, when I went to the bookstore and was checking out with a pile of self-help titles along the lines of, “How to not be batshit crazy”, and “So, you’re almost agoraphobic? How to be normal”. The woman at the counter hassled me about filling out one of those discount card things… I told her no and she got all snippy with me. I remember thinking, can’t you see the types of books I’m getting? Can’t you see that I don’t really need your hassles? ugh

  57. amypop says:

    @johnarlington: I think the locals can be hit and miss. I love my local pharmacy — not only do they take the time to explain how to take the drugs and any side effects, but they actually do care about their customers. More times than I could count, I’ve had prescription issues due to DR and Insurance screwups and they’ve always offered to give me three days worth of medicine to get me through until everything gets straightened out. They don’t charge me, and just take it out of the final count when I come back when all is settled.

    I know that I can get my generics cheaper at Target at times, but I’ll keep going back to my local pharmacy due to their great customer service.

  58. ionerox says:

    @rochec: You should really peruse the other comments… the *job* of a pharmacist is to be that expert on drugs and drug interactions.

    [en.wikipedia.org]

  59. LikwidFlux says:

    Not defending the “pharmacist” but as an FYI, the withdrawal symptoms from Effexor are extreme. I’ve been on it for anxiety for months now, missing one dose usually gives flu-like symptoms along with muscle pain. It also gives some central nervous system issues, my doctor calls them “zips and zings”, Effexor messes with your chemical receptors different from Prozac or Zoloft, so your spacial receptors end up being influenced. Wonderful drug eh :-

  60. darkinfero says:

    Just a few words.
    I’m a manger at one of their stores. You should have talk to the manger he would have taken care of the issue. Somethings the Pharmacy manger is on and they will take of a issue that a Pharmacy tech is causing. At one of the Pharmacy windows ask for the pharmacist. They are never near the register. I hope this never happens to you again

  61. lonewolf333 says:

    Oh please, so we are taking the mad rantings of this women seriously? Sounds like she got the right answer.

  62. darkinfero says:

    @darkinfero:
    sometimes

  63. duck…duck…duck…PHARMACIST

  64. rochec says:

    @chemicalx9:

    I don’t have a dim view. If you are a pharmacist, you should know full well the risks of telling random people what they can and cannot take. I’m not saying that pharmacists don’t know anything by any means, there are plenty of very knowledgeable ones. The point is a person should be asking their doctor what they can and cannot take together. A pharmacist doesn’t know a thing about their medical history or whatever medications they may be taking.

    @ionerox:

    Thanks for the pointless, smart ass reply. They can know all they want about the medications, it’s the patient they should be concerned with.

  65. irid3sc3nt says:

    The Walgreens I went to was exceptionally nice, then I moved, and the Walgreens nearest to me out here is terrible. I told them that I had switched insurance, and to take the previous one off of my record and SURPISE! I get a bill about 6 months later for all the prescriptions that the pharmacist decided to charge to the defunct insurance because it was “less exepensive”. Whaaaaaat???
    And that was the end of that chapter.

  66. misteral says:

    To the OP – ignore the advice that not taking Effexor for one day will be OK.

    I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on television. If I miss my daily Effexor, I’m in a world of hurt. Heck, if I’m off by 4-5 hours I can feel the bad effects. The drug in Effexor has a half-life of I believe 6 hours, this means that by the time for your next dose a day later, there’s very little left in your system. (again, I’m not a doctor)

    That said, it doesn’t excuse the Walgreens staff from their actions. In the future, make sure you are talking to the pharmacist, it is usually indicated on their name badge. You can get a Pharmacy Tech job with a 16 week course in some places – these people are authorized to count pills, not much else.

    They will have several huge books behind the counter that list drug interactions – Though I would stop trusting that pharmacist if they reply “I don’t know”, you should be able to ask if it’s in the drug interactions book.

  67. Kevin Cotter says:

    Our state has laws on what the drug company representatives can do as far as influencing physicians. Physicians have to attend a many hours of CME (Continuing Medical Education) each year to stay on top of new procedures and new drugs.

    As far as generics and substitutions, that’s a case were the physician should work with the patient directly. There are programs for doctors to look up what drugs are covered by particular insurers; my wife has it in her EHR (Electronic Health Record) software, and on her Palm Pilot. If your doctors don’t have up to date EER you may want to start looking for a new doctor for this and other reasons.

    Walgreens tends to be one of the most expensive pharmacies out there, with many insurance companies not covering them specifically. Target and the evil Wal-Mart tend to have lower prices. Costco tends to have among the lowest prices of anyone, and our state does not allow them to exclude non-members from their pharmacy.

    A pharmacist will look up anything you need, if only to protect against lawsuits. If you have questions, ask the pharmacist (make sure it is a pharmacist). If you don’t get an answer you like call your doctors and go to another pharmacy.

    Kevin
    [velcroman98.googlepages.com]

  68. CountryBoy says:

    Something like this happened to me at CVS. The corporate office loves to hear about this kind of faux pas. And then a learning experience can be had by the asshat that treated the ‘customer’ that way.

  69. reykjavik says:

    I think beth is being a sensitive drama queen.

    As evidenced by the fact that her mom didn’t even care all that much. Beth, stop being an oversensitive dramatic little girl and start being a woman. People suck, get accustomed to it, move on and stop writing letters to everyone that steps on your toes. Again, this is something your mom realized and a reason why you should continue to learn from her.

  70. That70sHeidi says:

    Can someone PLEASE explain to me how this joke/insult is different than the one with the WalMart employee below, and why the comments are so goddamn different?!?

    I’m really not seeing a difference in the stories – a paying customer was insulted. In one story, we get a battle over what constitutes a sense of humor and why we should all conform to the lowest societal standards, and in another story we get consumer outrage and mocking of a career choice.

    I haven’t graphed which commenters appear in both threads and what their take on each situation is, but I’m seriously wondering WTH!?

  71. timsgm1418 says:

    amen…I lived in Phoenix for 11 years and had sinus infections almost constantly, as did one of my daughters. Her ENT actually said “she’s allergic to Phoenix” Apparently it was mainly the olive trees we both had problems with, but the dust is horrible as well. And we both have allergies to evergreen pollen which blows everywhere during the monsoons..Maybe 50 years ago Phoenix was the place to go for allergies, but not anymore..Probably due to overbuilding and people insisting that they want their native plants to grow in Phoenix (um, it’s a desert people) Moved back to Maryland sinus infections are way down…@SoCalGNX:

  72. unchi says:

    I have a friend who has worked as a Walgreens Pharm Tech for quite a while. She has told me about the extensive quality of their pharmacy database and why she thinks pharmacists are overpaid. All they have to do is refer to this database because they don’t have to recall anything they learned getting the degree. Even if this “pharmacists” didn’t know the answer to the question, Walgreens pharmacy database would have given them the information necessary to make a claim not just being rude to the customer.

  73. edicius is an acquired taste says:

    I can’t really say anything bad about Walgreens because my dad’s a manager there (and he’s taken all the pharmacy tech tests, photo counter training, etc. so he’s a jack of all trades there).

    But as far as Effexor goes…I wouldn’t skip a day on it. I used to be on Effexor and if I missed a dose, my body went through HORRIBLE withdrawals. When I finally forced myself off it, I was in withdrawal for over a month.

    I’m on Lexapro now and have missed a dose here and there without any ill effects. Effexor is just unsafe in any circumstance.

  74. caranguejo says:

    If her mom wanted a real and valid answer she should have called her primary care physician, not talked to Walgreens staff. This is exactly how people end up hurting themselves. It takes two seconds to make that call. Most clinics utilize a computer program called Lexi-Interact (or similar) that scans through and checks for possible negative drug interactions. People really need to stop questioning unreliable sources when it’s their health.

    Additionally, if someone had said this to me I would have laughed hysterically. I do think she’s overreacting. But if she called her PCP she wouldn’t have had to deal with this and she would have gotten the correct answer. So it’s her own fault for asking an underpaid retail pharmacy staff member for important medical information. Consider the source here. They are not medical professionals.

  75. spryte says:

    As a few have said – and to add another dissenting voice against those who said otherwise – Effexor is NOT something you can just skip here or there without side effects. Someone said it can take a long time for an anti-depressant to be out of your system…maybe as far as a blood test is concerned, but as far as the physical and emotional impact on your body, not true at all. Effexor in particular has pretty harsh side effects if you miss a dose (the main one I experienced was nausea…whee fun). Also, my last boyfriend was annoyingly accurate at being able to tell if I’d skipped a dose based solely on my behavior, within less than 24 hours. It says in all of the medication literature not to skip doses and any doctor worth his salt would say the same thing.

    Of course, the pharmacy tech here was a total shithead for saying what he said. He certainly could have gotten the message across in a better way, and I hope his store manager, you know…TAKES IT SERIOUSLY.

  76. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    The point is a person should be asking their doctor what they can and cannot take together. A pharmacist doesn’t know a thing about their medical history or whatever medications they may be taking.

    @rochec:

    1) The pharmacist does know all of the medications you’re taking because they ask. If they don’t ask you should be telling them.

    2) You don’t have to know anyone’s medical history to be able to tell them whether or not drug A reacts badly with drug B. For example: St. John’s Wart and antibiotics reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills. That’s true no matter what health problems you do or don’t have. A doctor might not know this but a pharmacist shoult.

  77. IrisMR says:

    If he didn’T know he probably wasn’t a pharmacist. Just a random pill counting clerk asshole…

    There are so many ways he could’ve said it gently, such as “Your cold will go away by itself, it’s better to just cope with the symptoms than to skip a vital medicine no matter what.”

  78. Saboth says:

    Another case of someone overreacting to a statement made by someone else…grow some thicker skin. If something like this traumatizes you and makes you upset, you need to take your Effexor, because I don’t want to be within 25 feet of you.

  79. HawkWolf says:

    The problem is not about whether or not a pharmacy tech should have been commenting on drug interactions or whether or not missing effexor doses will make you turn into a frothing animal. The problem is that someone in a retail store said a completely rude thing to a customer, seemingly with no provocation.

    That’s wrong. However, I do not believe that retail staff should have to deal with crap from customers, either. My partner used to work at OfficeMax and every so often, there’d be someone who was basically belligerent and after a while, you just have to say, “Your attitude isn’t helping you.”

  80. cmdr.sass says:

    Unprofessional for certain, but probably 100% accurate.

  81. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Can someone PLEASE explain to me how this joke/insult is different than the one with the WalMart employee below…

    @That70sHeidi:
    It’s not different.

    …and why the comments are so goddamn different?!?
    Apparently none of the commentors have anything against people with depression.

  82. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Another case of someone overreacting…
    @Saboth: How is this an overreaction? Suddenly sending an e-mail to Consumerist is going overboard?

    If you don’t want to read about people complaining about poor customer service you are at the wrong web site.

  83. snowygal18 says:

    I went off Effexor abruptly because I ran out of medicine on a trip once. Worst idea ever. The lab tech (who should not have made that comment) was probably right. I broke out into sweats, I had a fever, I had tremors…you don’t go off this stuff unless you’re under a doctor’s supervision. Period.

  84. That70sHeidi says:

    I really don’t understand why common courtesy and being treated politely, if not with respect, is such an alien freaking concept any more. Why is this attitude to “stop whining” when you’re treated poorly?

    I’m also really disappointed in people’s apparent willingness to let these behaviors pass as being a joke, or needing thick skin. It’s not nice, or funny, or appropriate to be insulted, even jokingly, whether in public or in private.

    Disgusting, both the story and the comments :(

  85. spryte says:

    @Saboth: Talk about overreacting. No one said they were “traumatized”, just that it was an inappropriate thing to say. Is it so much to want employees to be polite to their customers?

  86. rochec says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation:

    I wasn’t referring to A and B. I’m talking about C or D or an allergy. Anything a pharmacist might not know.

    Obviously some things are pretty basic and don’t need a knowledge of any history. The funny thing is the supposed tech was right. As inappropriate as their comment was, you shouldn’t be asking them about stopping medications or for much more than info about a specific medication. That’s what doctors are for.

    A lot of pharmacists can’t even tell you what to put on poison ivy. By no means do I think pharmacists are some idiotic group, but this is your body you are dealing with. Not having a doctor who can answer all of these questions is pretty stupid and relying on some person behind a counter that you don’t know in any form is a bad choice.

  87. @SoCalGNX: “Moving to Arizona will not help your allergies. The pollen from the desert plants is as bad or worse than any other place”

    It depends. Often you are most allergic to the pollens where you grew up, which your immune system got pissed off at early on. (Though sometimes to somewhere else’s pollens, as I discovered when I moved to NC.) It depends on what, specifically, you are allergic to. And the dry desert air often helps allergy symptoms FEEL less-bad, even if you’re still reacting.

    When I moved to London I wasn’t allergic to a damned thing and it was fanfuckingtastic, even though my boogers turned black from the diesel fuel emissions. I find Arizona/New Mexico reasonably good for my allergies; I’m just not allergic to much down there. North Carolina, on the other hand, I turn into a ball of phlegm the minute I step off the plane.

  88. @snead: “I don’t think you can generalize this to the chain though”

    Yeah, I have a fanTAStic pharmacist at my local Walgreens, with a very service-oriented tech staff. I choose them over every other pharmacy in town. But that’s the point — my LOCAL Walgreens. I’ve certainly been to Walgreenses(?) where the pharmacy was apparently run by very angry semi-literate monkeys.

  89. SOhp101 says:

    @Trump48257: I apologize to the doctors that are ethical and truly put the patients first. It’s unfortunate but many people that I know and I have experienced the ‘lazy physician’ that immediately assumes that certain symptoms equal a certain condition–in fact a close relative of mine just passed away because of a doctor’s blatant misdiagnosis.

    It’s difficult to keep up with all of the updated information that continually comes out in the medical field but there are several doctors that just stop keeping their knowledge up to date. A shame, really, when not so intelligent people completely trust their health in the hands of someone who doesn’t really care. Finding a doctor that works hard throughout his career is rare and definitely worth keeping.

    That isn’t to say that all pharmacists are saints; there are plenty of lazy ones in that profession as well.

  90. rjflyn says:

    A word of warning about using the corner local drugs store. If both you and his locations get blown away by some natural disaster and you did not take your meds with you and your’s may have no access for possibly some time. At least with the big guy if you get relocated to Timbuktu it in the computer system.

    Now try talking to a pharmacist with Walgreens mail service, good luck, they make it nearly impossibe. Unfortunately with my drug plan its the only option for long term maintenance drugs.

  91. Veeber says:

    @bohemian: I’ve never had a problem with Walgreens before. There is generally only one pharmacist on site at any one point, so you’re more likely to actually talk to their technicians. If you have a bad experience with a technician ask to speak with the pharmacist. If it was the pharmacist you should talk to the Store Manager.

  92. stre says:

    am i the only here who enjoys that Beth’s mother can laugh at her depression? i’m loving it. it’s got to be one of the best oxymorons i’ve read/heard.

    * no offense intended. just loving the wording.

  93. trujunglist says:

    People, c’mon. If someone insults you to your face, do you normally all just sit there and take it up the ass? Because really, I’ve seen quite a few posts where someone said something completely rude and inappropriate, and although the initial reaction is always shock, there’s never a follow up reaction, such as:

    I GUESS YOU FORGOT TO TAKE YOUR ANTI-DOUCHE MEDICINE TODAY BECAUSE IM DETECTING HIGH LEVELS OF DOUCHEBAGGERY IN THIS AREA

    WELL, I DON’T SEE ANYONE ELSE WITHIN 25 FT OF YOU, SO THAT MUST MEAN YOU FORGOT TO TAKE YOUR ANTI-DOUCHE MEDICATION

    GOOD THING I TOOK MY EFFEXOR TODAY. THAT WAY I CAN GET NICE AND CLOSE TO YOU WHILE I BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF YOU

    or some other appropriate response. You can’t just let people get away with this crap or it will continue and continue, and they’ll never realize what a terrible douche they are until a picture of them pops up on the internet with a motivational blurb about not being a douche.
    Also, I’ve taken quite a few anti-depressants (none worked, so I switched around a lot before giving up), and the withdrawal can be absolutely terrible. Perhaps that’s what he was talking about, but there are better ways to say “well, it might really suck because of the withdrawal” than what he said.

  94. lttlelindsey says:

    In all fairness to the Walgreens pharmacist unless you have taken effexor you have no idea what they meant…

    I have been on effexor for 2 years now and I can tell you that if I even take my next pill an hour late I will suffer horrendous withdrawals. My eyes feel strained and I get incredibly irritable.
    Google effexor withdrawals and you will find endless testimonials as to just how yucky it can make you feel.
    I feel pretty confident that that is what they meant. Most Pharmacists have been informed of this side effect and have been very sensitive with me on many occasions. For instance I had failed to pick up my prescription on time and had to suffer through a full work day without my meds. The withdrawals were almost unbearable as I tried to complete the excel spread sheet I was working on. By the time I got to Walgreens I was so over it. I voiced my frustration to the pharmacist and they kindly sympathized and encouraged me to drive safe. Was I offended? No. Am I crazy and insecure? No… Sadly my meds just make me a bit of a wack-a-doo when I don’t take them on time and the educated Pharmacist knew how I must feel.

  95. e.varden says:

    @burgundyyears:

    Re: consult your Dr vs your pharmacist:

    You have it ass-backwards. A pharmacist is educated in pharmaceuticals i.e. drugs. Physicians receive their contemporary drug-knowledge mostly from pharmaceutical reps/salespersons; they are not as informed about contraindications as are pharmacists.

    That you had “advice” from a Walgreen’s assclown is not a reason to discount the ability of a qualified pharmacist to advise you wisely.

    The advice to Google the drug in question is a good one, BTW. (This sometimes results in scary information.)

    -E

  96. pfeng says:

    What a total asshole. Having been on anti-depressants for post-partum depression, I have an idea where your mom’s coming from. Depression is never made better by being insulted :P

    I would have paused for a moment, insulted and shocked and hurt… then I would have started sobbing about how he’d hurt my feelings until he apologized profusely. (Nah, not really, but I would have wanted to do something to hit him in the gut like he’d hit me.)

    While she didn’t complain at the time, I suggest she write a strong letter of complaint to Walgreens corporate and to that store; it will probably make her feel better on top of alerting them to their jerk employee. Also, switch all your prescriptions to a different pharmacy as soon as possible. Even a pharmacy tech should be able to respond with an explanation of WHY they can’t help (a simple “we’ll need to ask the pharmacist about that” too much work?) instead of dismissing a customer’s important question.

    Oh, and she shouldn’t just go off the meds without discussing with the doctor (talk to a pharmacist about drug interactions, but a doctor about actually taking a prescription). When I was weaning myself off the Zoloft completely, I was a bit of a mess and had really bad dizzy spells for a week while my brain adjusted. (People did come within 25 feet of me, but I couldn’t drive while the world was wobbling.)

  97. e.varden says:

    @stre:

    Good on you! I’m a depressive, yet I can see the humour in my bursting into tears at the opening of a K-Mart….

    - E

  98. Eukaryote says:

    As someone who took Effexor for a long time, and went through the terrible “brain zaps” and withdrawal [I'm sorry, I meant "sudden discontinuation syndrome"] from coming off of it, I will have to agree with the pharmacist.

    This isn’t the pharmacist saying she will be terribly depressed because she comes off the meds, but is warning her of the severe consequences of missing a day of effexor. She won’t want to be within 25 feet of herself, much less other people.

    While it was a bad way of saying it, the pharmacist is totally correct.

  99. Wait…has anyone blamed the customer for this one yet?

  100. HeartBurnKid says:

    My advice: If you have insurance, switch to a small, local pharmacy. Much nicer people, more personal attention, shorter wait time, and some even deliver. Prices tend to be a wee bit more expensive, but if you’re insured, your insurance will usually eat the added expense (you’ll have the same co-pay). And you certainly won’t get lip like this from them.

    In all honesty, this seems to be the best solution for most of the corporate consumer woes posted to this site: avoid big chains like the plague.

  101. rubberkeyhole says:

    I would have told him that it was his lucky day, and that I already skipped for the day and I’d like to speak with his manager or supervisor.

  102. Cerb says:

    A Pharmacist should know what the drug interactions might be, and if they didn’t know off the top of their head they could easily look it up. It was likely just a dumb labtech (which is why non-Doctors/Pharmacists should not wear labcoats that might confuse you).

  103. hmk says:

    I happen to like my walgreens. the pharm techs are always nice, though not always quick to respond, and the pharmacist there is knowledgeable and friendly to me. however, that dumbass pharm tech could have been far less of a douche. definitely report him for being an unhelpful jerk.

  104. PigsnBacon says:

    This is the kind of attitude that leads to discrimination. I have suffered from depression since I was about 10 and had some unfortunate trauma. It leaves a mark that combined with my chemical imbalance is hard to deal with

    People with depression are not “crazy” or dangerous to be around, a few perhaps, but the vast majority are really normal people who have some issues.

    Comments like this is why barely anyone outside my family knows about my history depression. I don’t want co-workers thinking I’m going to go off everytime I look a little harried.

    It’s sickening to hear a comment like that was said and the mother should complain in this case. Such a charged insensitive comment is unacceptable, especially from a medical professional who should know better.

  105. Saboth says:

    @spryte:

    When you use words like “Disturbed” “Extremely Embarrassed” and “Uncomfortable”, you paint of picture of someone that upon hearing said insult (which might have been a bad joke), the woman in question perhaps ran out of pharmacy crying, never to return.

    Like if I went to Walmart, had a prescription for Viagra, and the pharmacist said “having problems getting it up eh?” I’d say “awww man, you know it”. Not start shooting off emails to every website over a slight insult. I might be miffed a bit, but hey…that’s life.

  106. xrodion says:

    what a fucking dick

  107. JoeWoah says:

    Pharmacists are doctors, and while every profession has it’s share of quacks and douches’, I think the comment was made by a Pharmacy Tech. Still, that doesn’t excuse it, and you should report it to corporate. Awareness needs to be raised, both at the poor training and the insensitivity shown to patients.

  108. JoeWoah says:

    @wiretapstudios:
    Right? I was wondering why no one has yet either. Where is the “stupid questions get stupid answers” crowd today?

  109. mcjake says:

    The only way that would be ok is if Effexor gives the user terrible terrible gas when during withdrawals.

  110. kellyd says:

    @bohemian: This is totally weird to me. I’m in San Francisco and I LOVE Walgreens pharmacy. I personally take anti-depressants–when I’ve had trouble getting a refill called in, they’ve let me have a couple days’ worth to get me through without issues. Anyone behind the counter in SF Walgreens locations is totally professional and helpful and knowledgeable. Must be a geographic thing.

    Meanwhile, nobody would want to be around me if I went off my meds. I’d not take the slightest offense. It’s not because I’m a raging loser, but those things affect your brain chemistry and when you stop taking them, you are not your normal self, not your medicated self, you are just plain whacko.

  111. tazimandius says:

    As another consumer of effexor, I also have to agree with Eukaryote and have to side a little with the pharmacist. The pharmacist knows what’s going to be wrong with you. He didn’t say it in a politically correct fashion, but he stated the obvious which I think is as nicely as you can put it.

    I think some of you need to lighten up about this. Did we all grow up to be a bunch of whiners for a company not being PC? If you don’t like those words, stop going to walgreens and let that be the end of it.

    I would heed the pharmacist’s warning and add one of my own: dump effexor. In case any of you wanted to know how it feels to be without effexor for a day, here’s what happened to me when I forgot to take it at the correct time, after having been on it for 3 months:

    1. Big feelings of depression and suicidal thoughts. These were very prominent at the end of the first day.

    2. Irritated at everyone around me. I was willing to cause trouble, which I did. I threw my friend on the wall for talking back at me and left a bad bruise on her arms. There’s a small leftover bloodstain for punching the side of the building as well. Also, I think that day I pissed off my next door neighbors because they don’t talk to me anymore.

    3. I walked around as if I was drunk. I had blurred wobbly vision (similar to being drunk). Constant dizziness so I kept on bumping into things while at work. I don’t drive to work so I think that saved me from getting in a car crash or dealing with a cop.

    4. Terrible stomach pains from mucus filled diarrhea (where you want to crap, but all you get is that leftover mucous stuff). In this case, it was probably because the day before I didn’t eat and I had a bad reaction.

    All these symptoms were present on the FIRST DAY (24 hours) from the time I was supposed to take the medication. Because of this I stopped taking effexor – cold turkey, which was a big mistake. I was too afraid of what would happen if I stayed on effexor. These symptoms gradually went away after one month, but it was hard.

    There’s a big forum of people listing their symptoms dealing with effexor and I would advise some of you to look into it: Effexor Activist.

  112. SadSam says:

    I generally ask to see the PDR, my CVS has one behind the counter, if I have not gotten a copy of the PDR page from my doctor. Another realy good web site for drug info is [www.nlm.nih.gov]
    A consumer friendly resource from the NIH.

  113. bigmac12 says:

    Maybe he should have said “sure, don’t take your medicine, eveything will be just fine”…..and also just make sure to notify the family.

  114. kittenfoo says:

    going off effexor doesn’t make you so much “evil” as “very, very sick.” when I moved a year ago, I lost my bottle of effexor, and ended up quitting cold turkey not by choice. it was not pretty. i started taking other meds so as not to have to face effexor withdrawal again. seriously, it is one of the worst for withdrawal.

  115. HeartBurnKid says:

    @bigmac12: No, the proper way to do things would be to tell her about the withdrawal and what it could cause, not make flippant comments about how “nobody will want to be around you”. Frankly, this could be either taken as a joke or an insult — when, as other posters here have noted, going off of this drug is no laughing matter. Besides being rude, this is downright dangerous.

  116. dmoisan says:

    I have a Walgreens pharmacy story: One time a few years ago, I was on Ritalin for ADHD (no politics please). My local CVS–normally having excellent pharmacists–was out of that med and the fill-in guy there had me go down the street to Walgreen’s.

    Walgreens had it, but according to my state law, my state insurance would not pay for Ritalin that I didn’t get at my “usual” pharmacy. (I don’t remember all the details; it’s been a few years.)

    Now, I don’t blame the pharmacist or the store for something with the state. I’m well aware and experienced in the medical bureaucracy, and am always polite and cordial.

    But that’s not how it worked out.

    The Walgreens pharmacist quoted a price for my Ritalin. Too high for my budget at the time. I said something like that to him, and he goes:

    “It’s expensive because of people like you. If you weren’t on welfare, maybe it wouldn’t be so expensive.”

    Jaw dropped. It was all I could do to decline, and leave the store.

    (Preemptive comment: Ritalin is expensive more due to DEA paranoia than any moral defect on anyone’s part. If I really were into recreational usage, it’d be a lot easier to do an “informal” transaction…)

  117. jonworld says:

    maybe this kind of customer service to depressed people explains why the local Walgreens in my town was robbed at gunpoint

  118. kat says:

    Horrible thing for him to say, but as an Ex-Effexor user, I can attest that I wouldn’t even want to be within 25 feet of myself if I’d stopped taking it for a day. Not ’cause of the crazy, but because of the brain zaps, vertigo, nausea, etc.

    Being off it for even a few hours can cause those reactions, and tapering off it is hell on earth.

  119. HooFoot says:

    The pharmacist is right! Speaking from experience, Effexor has quick, severe withdrawl symptoms. I had to take my pill at the same time every day and if I missed by as little as one hour, then I’d start to feel seriously ill. When I finally went off that poison for good, the withdrawal–physical and mental– as so horrible, that I had to stay indoors for about a month. Dealing with other people was simply impossible and staying 25ft away from anyone while going through that is a DAMN GOOD IDEA.

  120. spryte says:

    @Saboth: “When you use words like “Disturbed” “Extremely Embarrassed” and “Uncomfortable”, you paint of picture of someone that upon hearing said insult (which might have been a bad joke), the woman in question perhaps ran out of pharmacy crying, never to return.”

    Hmm…now THAT is an overreaction, actually. Those words don’t make me picture that at all. “Disturbed” and “uncomfortable” make me think of someone scowling a bit or looking taken aback. “Extremely embarrassed”…maybe someone blushing and looking a little nervous? But none of those make me think the woman cried and ran out of the store. You’re inferring something a little far-reaching and passing judgment based on it.

    As for what you’d say to the hypothetical Viagra comment…just because you have the sense of humor and the reactions of a frat boy doesn’t mean everyone needs to. I think most men would be pretty damn insulted by something like that, and rightfully so.

  121. nardo218 says:

    Ugh, bad answer. What the pharm prolly meant is that if you skip taking your psych meds for a day, you feel like shit. Even if he’d said “shit,” my previous sentence would have been better than what he said. It’s called professionalism, kids; you’re now hanging out with your friends when you’re at work.

  122. nardo218 says:

    @twinklebean912: How do you know how long she’s been taking it and what affect it’s had on her body? You don’t, so stop assuming.

  123. eskilla says:

    WTF? Why would people want to not be within 25ft. of you because you’re off your depression meds? I think he’s confusing depression with, like, halitosis or something.

  124. StevieD says:

    Sounds like it was a Pharm Tech, you know, a menial wage employee that does backroom, support and cash register tasks in the Pharmacy.

  125. Jesse in Japan says:

    Where did that guy go to pharmacy school? A day without Effexor isn’t going to make much of a difference in your mood level and there’s no reason to worry about mixing Effexor with cold medicine.

  126. bluewyvern says:

    I used to work as a pharmacy technician. A few responses to various comments:

    1. I think it was probably a tech, not the pharmacist (although the 25 feet comment might suggest some familiarity with the withdrawal effects of Effexor, which I wouldn’t expect a tech to have). Techs often wear white coats too, and pharmacists rarely approach the counter first. If you don’t see “Pharmacist” clearly printed on the nametag, ask to speak to the pharmacist if you have a drug-related question and don’t just launch into your issue.

    2. If your issue is drug-related, the pharmacist is absolutely the best person to ask, and probably knows more about it than your doctor. Especially if the drug is new or uncommon, or if it relates to interactions. They may just be pill-counters for most of the day, but the reason pharmacists get paid the big bucks is because they went to school precisely to be experts in these things and to have the knowledge to answer questions. And if they don’t know the answer off the top of their heads, they have all the literature and reference materials to look it up, and they will find out for you. (I’ve never seen a pharmacist just answer “I don’t know” to a relevant question.) They also attend refresher training courses periodically and keep current with new developments, and I’ve seen pharmacists demonstrate superior knowledge to doctors on several occasions. Doctors don’t always know about the particular strengths and sizes drugs are available in, etc, but pharmacists are all over that. So ask your questions — that’s their real purpose. The rest is just administrative stuff. I could pretty much run a pharmacy myself, except for all those pesky arcane pharmaceutical knowledge (oh, and liability) issues.

    3. Oh, drug reps come to the pharmacists, too. But I think pharmacists are a little less likely to be influenced by them, using them more as a source of information about new drugs and not necessarily trying to steer patients towards a particular drug because they got an Allegra pill-counting tray or a Cialis notepad. I’ve heard several pharmacists express some professional indignation at the idea that they would advise patients based on the blandishments of a drug rep and not just what they thought was best.

    4. If your question isn’t drug-related, though, please ask your doctor, not the pharmacist. Don’t come in and show the pharmacist your mysterious spots! (And that goes double for the poor tech.)

    5. Retail pharmacists aren’t Pharm D’s — that’s the next level, that’s the degree you get if you want to do lab work or research or something.

    6. There are two kinds of technicians — there’re registered techs, which are the ones who have gone through some kind of course (the kind Sally Struthers wants you to take) and passed a state certification. They can accomplish a few more tasks, like mixing compounds, that regular old techs can’t do, but for the most part they do the same thing as regular techs, who undergo no special qualification except for on-the-job training. That’s the majority of techs you meet, and yeah, a lot of them will be high school grads. They could have just as easily been photo technicians (who also have white coats, btw). They have no special knowledge about the drugs and they CANNOT answer any questions. They will handle customer service/support tasks and also process and dispense medication, but their work has to be overseen and approved by the pharmacist.

    But anyway, whoever this person was, tech or pharmacist, he/she sounds pretty rude and insensitive. If it was a pharmacist, he/she should have looked up the answer, and if it was a tech, he/she should have just immediately referred her to the pharmacist and kept his/her mouth shut. Boo.

  127. jrembold says:

    @Falconfire:

    blue coats = tech
    white coats = pharmacist

  128. dlwcpht says:

    Educated pharm tech here –
    Serotonin syndrome could be induced mixing cold medications with SSRI’s and/or SNRI’s.
    In defense of the pharmacist about his other seemingly rude comment: This pharmacist has probably seen what can happen to a person when they miss a dose of the antidepressant. Effexor has a short half-life and yes, withdrawal can occur within hours of the missed dose. Seizures and depersonalization have been reported, along with a host of other symptoms. He may have experienced this himself and when you are the one who has been through it, your warnings tend to be passionate because you don’t want anyone else to go through the same distress.

  129. dlwcpht says:

    Blue/white coats do not a degree imply. ;-) Sorry.

  130. uwouldntlikemewhenimangry says:

    There is no defense for the staff member (a pharmacist?) that made that comment. It’s accuracy or inaccuracy is irrelevant. Also, if the staff member doesn’t know if there is a drug-drug reaction, the correct response is “Let me look that up for you” or “I will look it up when things slow down and phone you at home”. I would really like someone to make a comment like that to my mom or day…truly…just to give me an excuse to go rip em’ a new one.