Adderral and the Pharmacy That Misdosed My 8 Year Old...

Updated on April 28, 2011
K.S. asks from Nashville, TN
21 answers

How far should I go in lodging a complaint against the Publix pharmacy that misdosed my son? It was our first try with Adderral (prescribed for Inattentive ADHD) and will most likely be our last. The doc prescribed 10 mg and the pharmacy sent me home with 30 mg. I should have looked at the bottle closer and thank God he is okay today. However, after seeing the true effects of this drug, the nausea/insomnia (up until 3 a.m.) and then the hallucinations, I will absolutely not be going this route! It was a scary night and even more now that the pharmacy has admitted their mistake and I realize who could have happened had I given him a second round. Who should I complain to? And now that I refuse to go the med route, how else can I help my son deal with his inattentiveness? I only wish his teacher would be more willing to help then to simply suggest meds.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

More Answers



answers from New York on

YIKES! I hae a friend who is a pharmacist - and she tells me that she's always afraid she's going to make a horrible mistake becuase they handle so many scripts for just one pharmacist.

I would not sue. I am not crazy about all the lawsuits we get ourselves into. That being said I would make sure that corporate is well aware that your child got a medication filled at 3 times the prescribed dose. That is serious. The company's CEO is Ed Crenshaw, the president is Todd Jones. Their address is:
Publix Super Markets Corporate Office
3300 Publix Corporate Parkway
Lakeland, FL 33811

Write a calm, clear letter about the harrowing experience you had. Ask them to explain what their current procedure is to ensure that patients get teh correct medication and dosage. Ask them what steps are they going to take in this specific instance and to prevent this from happening in the future. See how they respond. My feeling is that you give the company a chance. If they do not respond appropriately, to your satisfaction, then you should consider a lawsuit.

Finally as it relates to Adderal - there are a lot of ADD medications. My son has been on two differnet types. I've always been careful about not using ia medication that has too long a time-release period. My son's current medication is designed to cover a 7 hour span of time. My feeling is that it covers school & homework. hi steacher can't do much becuase she's got another 15 - 20 kids to teach and having a kid who can't sit still and doesn't pay attention makes it more difficult. It's not your son's fault - but it's not the teacher's either. We were all made differently - some kids are active and need to be heavily angaged - physically - to follow educational processes. Unfortunately, school is designed to teach kids who sit still and pay attention.

Don't use this awful experience to make a decision about medication. My son, who I thought would never do well in school, is now in middle school and doing amazingly well - thanks in part to proper medication. you know, you can overdose on water, tylenol or cough medicine too - but that doesn't mean you shouldn't consider using them in the correct dosage.

Good luck mama. you can send me a message if you want any information on various medications and treatments for ADD / ADHD we've tried lots of things over the years and have discovered what works well, what works somehwhat, and what doesn't work at all. I could write a book. ;o)

7 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

If your son was not injured in any way I would NOT sue. File a formal complaint and follow through with the formal complaint to see what if anything was changed. This was a mistake on someone's part. Did you call the doctor to make sure he wrote 10 mg and not 30 mg? We have all seen a doctor's handwriting and seriously I can't read it.

Making sure the proper person is punished for their mistake should be your #1 concern not sueing. Our world is TOOOO sue HAPPY. Our courts are already backlogged with other sue happy people.

Yes, this sucks, but your little boy is alive and fine from the sound of it. Mark it in your book as a lesson learned and let someone else mark it in their's as a lesson learned.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I'll address only the pharmacy issue since I don't have a child with ADHD: Today, call the pharmacy, speak to the pharmacist who handled your prescription, and tell them what happened and then tell that person to transfer your call to his or her boss there. Tell that boss the same thing and then let him or her know you are going to write a letter of complaint to the pharmacy's owner and further up the chain if it's a chain. One very effective thing a friend of mine did (for a different consumer issue) was to walk into the store in question, with copies of the letters she was going to mail that same day to the Better Business Bureau and the local government's consumer affairs bureau. It showed she was very serious. There is probably an association for pharmacists and you can see if you can lodge a complaint with that association or with any group that inspects or accredits pharmacies. It takes some work on your part to find out exactly where to complain, if you seriously want to complain right up the chain of command and go beyond just the staff and managers at that pharmacy's one location. If you invoke the name of whatever outside government inspection or accrediation body deals with them, you will get their attention for certain.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I'm neither pro nor anti med. Meds can be great tools. But that's all they are. Tools.

Your son was overdosed. NEVER judge a medication based off of an overdose. It's like a heater. If you set your heater in your house to 70 degrees, but it climbed up to 210 degrees would you swear off of heaters for life? If your soap wasn't diluted, and was pure lye, it would burn blisters into your hands. Would you never wash your hands again because of the chemical burn, or would you buy soap that has been diluted? Or, to stay in meds, if you overdosed on vitamin A (causes blindness), painkillers (respiratory failure, heart attack), tylenol (nausea and vomitting... would you conclude that soap melts skin, VitA causes blindness, painkillers cause death, and tylenol causes vomitting? Nope.

Alcohol is a very weak drug, so I'm going to change the percentage. Consider drinking a glass of wine versus drinking the same size glass of Everclear (9% v 95%). Would you expect to have the same physical reactions to each? One glass of wine may be relaxing, one glass of everclear can cause seizures and put your in the hospital.

Chemicals of any type, but particularly meds, need to stay at a certain dosage, or they're not useful.

R.: ADHD-c mum to an 8yo ADHD-c kiddo

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Report the mistake to whoever regulates pharmacies in your state. I interned with an investigative reporter for a TV news station in college and the stat here was that 2% of prescriptions are filled erroneously. A large pharmacy will fill 200 prescriptions per day, so that's 4 bad prescriptions going out the door every day at a typical large pharmacy. Unfortunately, now you know you always have to check and double-check when you pick up. There will always be human error - that doesn't let them off the hook, but as a practical matter, you are less likely to accidentally take or give the wrong medicine or wrong dose now that you have had an error happen to you and know what to look for. Luckily it wasn't something that can be lethal.

As to the medication itself, search the questions here for prior discussions on medicating or not medicating for ADHD. There's a lot of good info already here (I don't medicate my ADHD son but I can see why people do). Don't let this one overdose be your deciding factor - at the right dose, the medication would work totally differently and may help your son out. So if you were open to medication, try the correct dose and see what happens.

Regarding the teacher, it is not her place to suggest a diagnosis or treatment for your son. TOTALLY inappropriate! Your son has a health impairment and can qualify for a 504 accommodation plan that BY LAW the school must supply and his teacher must follow. Please read up on this (google Wright's Law) and take steps to get an accommodation plan in place. If he has learning disabilities (ADHD is a health impairment, not a learning disability but there is often overlap in children) he can be put on an IEP.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I take adderall and it doesn't have nearly as many bad side effects as other ADD drugs. As an adult I can say I wish it had been around when I was a kid, my life would have been a lot easier. My kids take it as well.

Well anyway that is my plug for Adderall.

So far as the pharmacy, what do you hope to get out of it? I am pretty sure all you can get is the correct prescription and an apology. As much as this is hard to hear you were not harmed. Adderall does not stay in your system long term and has no long term effects.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Escalate your concerns big-time. Contact the corporate office and find out who's in charge of pharmacy operations. You don't necessarily have to go lawsuit crazy, but you want to make it clear they need to make improvements.

And don't judge Adderall or ADHD medication based on a massive dosage. You'd get a bad reaction from any kind of med in the wrong dosage. Our son takes Adderall for his ADHD and it works great. You won't really know if this is right for you son until you try it in the right dosage. You didn't see real anything with such a huge dosage. What you saw were signs of overdosage. Our son has no side effects from Adderall in the correct dosage.

Please, please don't give up on medication in helping your child until you've had the right prescription. It can make such a tremendous, life-changing difference in kids with ADHD.

ETA: Diet, vitamins, detoxing and parenting techniques don't "fix" ADHD. You really need to sort this out with the specialist who helped your son in the first place. Don't waste time with alternatives that have no scientific record of helping.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I'm so sorry your son experienced this. But, please do not let this deter you from medication. There are many different types out there, and some can be very effective in helping a child with ADHD. Medication may not be the answer for your child, and not all children can be successful with medication, but one bad experience should not deter you from fully exploring this option.

As a teacher myself, I NEVER recommend to a parent to put their child on medication. Legally, I can't, and it's not my decision to make anyway. However, I do have my own opinion. If your child's ADHD isn't impacting his academics and the ability to be successful in the classroom, medication probably isn't needed. However, if you see that his ADHD is causing his grades and learning to suffer, try a few options to see what works for your child.

I had a student last year who was gifted, and I was pretty sure he had ADD, but there was no diagnosis. After informing the parents throughout the year that he was inattentive, easily distracted, and disorganized, they had him tested and he does have ADD. But, it didn't impact his education, so the parents felt medication wasn't necessary. I've also had students that suffered Ds and Fs despite my best efforts to help them, and those are students that might benefit from medication.

Honestly, there isn't a whole lot as a teacher that I can do to help a child with ADD/ADHD. But, here's how I do help, and maybe you can pass these along to his teacher. Preferential seating, standing/movement breaks, organization help, and daily check-ins at the start and end of day to help with homework (make sure it goes home and comes back).

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I second the lawyer. This was negligence. Phamacists look at weight and age to make sure the dr gives the right dose. There are pharmaceutical aides that also read the labels.

Try diet changes, no preservatives, no red dye,
Be very consistent,
Less is more with ADHD, take out of his room all that is unneccessary
Keep him on a schedule
Talk to his face and have him repeat directions,
Give him one direction at a time.
Reward with positive reinforcements
get him involved in nonteam sports, swimming, karate,
Don't completely discount the meds. Go to a new phamacy if these options do not work and get the right dose.

I had a school skip my son's heart meds. I darn near went postal on them. They didn't do it again.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Allentown on

My only comment on the pharmacy end is that Adderall isn't dosed by age or weight, so it definitely wasn't as big a risk as some other medications might be. Still a huge issue, but not as cut and dry as ODing on most other things.

What jumps out at me is the comment about the teacher. Teacher's aren't doctors, and definitely not neurologists. Meds or no meds (my dd and I are not medicated right now), you need to do some major research so YOU know what to ask THE SCHOOL to do, not the other way around. No two ADHD'ers are alike, so you need to figure out what works for your individual child, as you know him best.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

Several people have recommended that you get a lawyer and sue Publix, but I wanted to point out that a lawyer is only helpful in situations were there was actual harm. While a sleepless night, hallucinations, and nausea are certainly frightening, that's not *harm* in the sense of a lawsuit.

In my opinion, you'd be better served by writing to Publix and asking for an apology, the documenting this mistake with the Better Business Bureau and whomever regulates pharmacies in your state. Also tell the pediatrician so that s/he is aware and doesn't recommend other patients to that Publix.

Finally... I'm not a huge fan of ADHD medicines either, but don't give up on them based on one bad experience. They might help if he has the right doseage. Of course, I'd try a naturopathic doctor first, along with diet changes and an activity like karate for focus.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

Riley is so right.

Medication is a tool that you use to make all the THERAPY work better for your son. He should be in some form of: Cognative behavioral therapy, play therapy, speech/language and Occupational therapy (if needed) Social skills classes, Developmental Vison correction and therapy if needed, extensive educational and behavioral interventions and accomodations at school and medical care, as his condition warrents.

You can "refuse" to treat his condition, but you should probably speak to an adult whose parent failed to intervene appropriately when they were diagnosed as a child, and see how they feel all these many years later about what could have been done to help them. I know a few of them, and you should find many to speak to if you find a CHADD chapter in your area. Read Additudes magazine. Read anything by Dr. Mel Levine or Dr. Russel Barkely. Ask for an IEP or 504 plan at school. Have all the ancelary evaluations of his basic skill levels; do not assume you know anything about his visual motor skill because he is smart (they are all smart) the reason he refuses to do some things are real, and many are easily dealt with in a theraputic or educational setting.

If you took him to a specialist (read: Board Certified Child Psychiatrist, Developmental Pediatricain, or Pediatric Neurologist) for his presription, you should not dump his treatment so easliy. If you got this prescription from his pediatrician, take him to one of the above, and find out from a true expert about all the medical options, and get some proper referals for ADHD care.

You cannot treat ADHD with a bottle of pills, but good medical intervention can be a true God Send for some kids with Neurobological Issues. The brain is flesh and blood. Insert the word "pee" for every behavior that caused you to suspect ADHD in the first place, and assume that your son had kidney desease. Then, if you had been given a prescription that would help his body produce urine efficently, such that he was able to then not wet himself, and the pharmacist gave him a tripple dose, and he peed himself in the grocery store, what would you think of yourself if you then took him off all medical treatment for kidney desease? There is really no difference, exept we can see pee, and we cannot see all the times that his neurotransmitter in his brain was not sufficent enough to carry his thought from start to finish...and he lost track of what he was doing. That is a medical problem. Some people have a case that needs meds, and some do not.

Adderal is an effective tool for children and adults with the type of nuerotransmitter issues that respond to it. There are many, many other medical interventions that are effective for other adults and children with ADHD. Adderal is also a drug that people need to get used to, there are many such drugs that if given in a strong dose right off the bat, they will cause stomach upset and other side effects, that, if the body is given the opportunity to aclamate with smaller doses over a period of time will not be issues later. You could be throwing the baby (your son) out with the bath water if you decided that he should never try concerta, ritalin LA, tennex, intuniv, strattera, vyvance....etc because he was accidentally given a tripple dose of adderal by a pharmacist. You should be concerned with your prescriber and your son's overall treatment plan, not the person who filled the order's incompetent act.

Complain to the Pharmacitical Board of Liscensure in your state. Complain to Publix Headquarters. Call your "on your side" TV reporter...but don't take it out on your son. If the guy at Lowes sold you a jack hammer to put up dry wall, would you swear off remodleing your home? Meds are a tool. Use them wisely, but have something to use them on...theraputic intervention. If he can make progress with theraputic intervention without medication, then he does not need any, but if he can't...find out what the adults who did not get what they needed as children think.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Start by calling your doctor, which I hope you did to make sure son is okay. Document the whole thing while it is fresh in your mind. The dosages, the tiems administered, the symptoms, the people you spoke with, etc. Maybe call the public health department and look for advice. I would not rest until I knew the source of the problem and knew it was resolved because I couldn't live with knowing someone else might get sick from an irresponsible or error-prone person, system, or process.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

You experience with the 3X dose was a bad O.--to be sure! (I would, BTW, get an attorney and find out what recourse I had.) But meds help many kids every day. Not saying it's good OR's situational.
I would hope to God that the reason your son is on Adderral is NOT because a teacher recommended it. Surely he has been tested and evaluated by your local medical community, right?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Topeka on

It wasn't a good night for all of you.But you can't rely on the pharamcy to do their part 100% of the time we as the consumer need to look at the labels our name dob prescribed med. & dosage why didn't you look?Were you offered a consultation for being on this new medication they should of asked if you had any questions about this drug.Anyway make a complaint to the pharmacy manager then you can choose rather or not to use them in the future or seek a new pharmacy.Declaring your not doing the drug route for your son is that really the best interest for him?We all want to protect our children & giving them drugs isn't always an option to disregard.Teachers aren't really going to be helpful they will suggest drugs or take him to see his dr. who will go over his history to diagnose,treat & prevent.I would gather much info as possible & read up on natural alternatives,diet changes sugar & caffiene have alot to do with how we act.
Make sure that the dose the drs office prescribed is correct then let them know that he was given 30 mgs instead of 10 mgs it was a mishap & thank goodness he is ok.BTW did you call poision control,go to the ER or call the drs office to see what the side effects will be for given a higher dosage than what was written?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lake Charles on

SUE your kid could have died from overdose. This is SERIOUS if you don't do something another kid could be hurt. Call a lawyer ASAP.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Tennessee should have a state board of Pharmacy. You should report Publix to them. Work with the child's pediatrician to determine the best course of action. Sure you could sue, but how much money will a court award your son for throwing up? Determine if it is worth your resources of time, energy, and finances.

As far as the meds, just because he got the wrong dose and took it one time you've now sworn them off forever? And what can you expect your son's teacher to do? She's not a doctor nor is she the parent of your son. Your son's pediatrician knows his healthy history, the teacher does not. You've had 8 years to parent your son and she's had 8 months of limited time and contact.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Biloxi on

My son has Inattentive ADD and takes Focalin. It is my understanding that Adderall has an additional component that treats hyperactivity...which is not usually a problem with inattentive ADD.

Some ADD meds are time released, thereby limiting the amount of medication released into the blood stream. Focalin is one of these. Some are not time released, so the entire dose hits the system at one time. When my son and I had his check up last week, he told me that Adderall, Ritalin, are not time released and are not normally used to control adHd, not ADD.

Please talk to your doctor again about medications.


answers from Chicago on

I think you document it all, get a lawyer and GO MOMMY GO! I am a vicious beast when it comes to stuff like this and I would make sure EVERYONE knew about this and blast their name across the world. But that 's just me personally. You are dealing with amphedamines and hard narcotics in a young child ... this is not something to play with.

see if this helps motivate you ...


answers from Eugene on

Take your son to a homeopathic doctor who has been in practice for at least ten years and knows ADHD, OCD and all the other lettered diagnosis that just mean you are a creative human being. Anyway what the heck is ADHD but a misnomer for locking kids up in seats in the classroom and expecting them to learn that way.
Put you guy in Karate class or Tai Kwan Do. He'll learn inner discipline and feel his power if you take him twice a week. We do this in our family where every kid has one of these lettered conditions and Asbergers is another one we seem to have.
Sue the Pharmacy. Publix has lots of money. You are lucky it didn't do more damage. Keep the package and find an attorney.



answers from Norfolk on

I have known a lot of pharmacists, and I haven't met one yet who hasn't ever made an error. I also haven't met one yet whose heart doesn't drop to the bottom of their shoes when they realize their mistake. In my experience, today's corporate culture is a lot less punitive about medication errors, and more interested in documentation and education to minimize the potential for errors. Complaining to the company is fine if you want to go that route. I don't think there's much basis for a lawsuit here, as someone else said, there was no "harm" in the legal sense. I know it was a scary night for you and I'm sorry for that. Please know that taking a one-time overdosage of the medication is scary but will not cause permanent harm. There aren't many prescription medications out there that can be fatal if taken once. Yes, they do exist. But mercifully that was not your tragic experience. And rest assured, the pharmacist that made the error feels AWFUL about it. And he or she is probably being super extra careful as a result of the mistake. Which is what we all want our pharmacist to be--SUPER, EXTRA CAREFUL. Consumers, keep that in mind when you complain about how long it takes to get your prescription filled. Do you want it done right or done quickly?!? Sorry for the rant. I'm glad your son's okay and I wish you luck with his future.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions