News of prescription drug recalls can quickly cause you and other Houston residents to panic. There is good reason behind your concerns; taking a defective or dangerous drug can cause severe harm or (in certain cases) even death. Yet not every drug recall is due to a potentially fatal complication. Understanding how drug recalls are classified may help you and others to avoid unnecessary stress. 

Drug recall categories are determined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. They are broken down as follows: 

  • Class I: Such recalls are for cases where the use or exposure to the recalled product carries with it the high probability of serious health complications or death. 
  • Class II: Class II recalls occur when the chances of you experiencing severe health complications is remote, yet the potential still exists for the product to cause temporary and medically reversible effects. 
  • Class III: The exposure or use of products included in a Class II recall is unlikely to cause health-related consequences. 

There is actually a fourth recall category known as a market withdrawal. These are typically issued by drug manufacturers due to the fact that the problems that they deal with are usually not subject to FDA regulation. In such a recall, the manufacturer simply removes the product from distribution for only as long as is required to fix the error. 

Information on drug recalls is updated regularly on the FDA’s website. If you find that you have a drug that has been recalled, it is recommended that you contact your doctor right away (especially in the case of Class I and II recalls). You may also want to contact the manufacturer to see what you should do with the product itself. In some cases, you may be able to be reimbursed for its cost.