A woman from Burnham-on-Crouch was in for a shock when she opened up her prescription and instead of her usual migraine medication found tablets designed to treat erectile dysfunction.

Something for the weekend

Elaine Davies had her perscription delivered to her home by Burnham Pharmacy. Although everything appeared to be in order at first, she soon realised that a potentially dangerous mistake had been made.

She said: “I have a condition called fibromyalgia which causes muscle spasms and migraines but my medication, sumatriptan, usually knocks them on the head pretty quickly.

“When my prescription was delivered, I checked the box and saw that the label was correct but that the box itself didn’t match.

“I am used to getting different boxes because the pharmacy always goes with the cheapest brand but I knew it usually says sumaptriptan on the box as well as the label.

“Part of fibromyalgia is that it causes you to be a bit foggy headed so it took me a few minutes to figure out what had happened but once I opened the box and read the leaflet I realised.

“Instead of my usual prescription, I had been given some form of Viagra.”

Medication mix-up

Rather than a box of her normal prescription, Elaine, 51, had been given a treatment called Sildenafil, which is a cheaper alternative to the well-known Viagra brand.

“At first, I was shocked. I just thought what if this had happened to an elderly person or someone with learning difficulties? It could’ve been fatal if someone had mixed the wrong prescription with other medications.

“I immediately rang the pharmacy to sort it out. The girl I spoke to was horrified and said it shouldn’t have happened but that the two medications sat next to each other on the shelf so someone must have grabbed the wrong one.

“The thing is, according to the label, it had been checked by a pharmacist and initialled as correct. The fact that that failsafe did not prevent this from happening is concerning.”

Perscription warning

Elaine decided to post about her experience on social media to warn other people to double check their prescribed medication.

Elaine added: “As a carer for my elderly parents, it’s really important to me that people look after those who may not be able to double check themselves because if a mistake was made with their prescription, they might not realise before taking it.”

Burnham Pharmacy has not yet commented on the incident.