Pet Medications, An Alternative To Prescription Drugs? - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro, AR -- Heather Flanigan Reports

Pet Medications, An Alternative To Prescription Drugs?

April 25, 2005 – Posted at 5:39 p.m. CDT JONESBORO -- Would you consider taking your pet's medication to treat your medical condition? The rising cost of prescription drugs has caused some people to go to the farm supply store instead of the drug store, but just how safe is it to take Fluffy's drugs?

“There's an old adage...doctoring yourself, you've got a fool both ways,” said pharmacist Ken Gibson.

Veterinarian Dr. Jim Guntharp said, “Taking something that is not approved for a person it might be life threatening.”

It may seem like a good idea...taking drugs prescribed for use in animals. You can find drugs used to treat human diabetes, high blood pressure and even intestinal cancer in your local farm store. But, there is a catch.

Many of the companies that produce medicine for animals don't produce drugs for humans and often it's production standards that can vary.

“They will be in different strengths then what you are normally accustomed to. They are either upsized for horses or downsized for cats,” said Gibson, “So you would have to be very particular on your strength and that would be your biggest problem.”

“Any medication that is used for animals could have some side effects with humans, but some of them cannot be used at all. and some of them could be life threatening,” said Dr. Guntharp.

It is cheaper and you don't need a prescription, but it's a risk that comes with a cost.

“I know they can save a few dollars, and for seniors especially, that would be something that would be very tempting to do, but a few dollars saved on some medication is very small compared with a stay in the hospital,” said Dr. Guntharp.

“It's taboo for somebody to go into a feed store and get their antibiotics or other prescription items, and until the prices got so high, no body wanted to,” said Gibson.

Many hospitals do provide medication assistance programs to help with the cost of prescription drugs. You can learn more by checking with your doctor.

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