Thursday, August 2, 2012


I'm reading a few of the pharmacy blogs that I follow, and I saw posts about people just starting out in the pharmacy field.  Made me think of an incident when I first started working as a technician...

I had only been working for perhaps a month or so.  I knew nothing about any medications whatsoever.  I thought fluoxetine was for the flu, that GoLYTELY is pronounced as "golly-telly" (though thank goodness I never said it aloud...  It's "go lightly" for those who want to avoid embarrassment), and often confused Motrin, Aleve, and Tylenol and their generics with each other.

It took a while to build up the courage to answer the phone calls into the pharmacy.  One day I answered to a woman asking if a doctor called in a prescription for her husband.  They had: it was for Valtrex.

She asked me how much it cost, and more importantly, what it was used to treat.

Not knowing what it was for, I pulled up the "patient information" sheet that resides in the computer database.  The only thing it really said is that it is used to treat herpes.  I told her such.  She seemed a bit put off and surprised, and we hung up rather quickly after that.

I told the pharmacist about it later, rather proud that I had figured it out the computer system by myself and was able to help a patient without pestering another technician to assist.

The pharmacist looked at me with horror on their face.  I realized what a major mistake I had made (not to mention HIPAA, especially for that type of medicine), and now refer to any medicines of that caliber as general "anti-virals."

I hope I didn't cause marital stress.  I mentally cringe any time I think about this situation.  A lesson I will never forget...