Pills look different? Don't freak out

Take a drug for a chronic condition and you know what that pill is supposed to look like. So, it can be very confusing if you get a refill and the pills are a different shape or color.

It's possible the pharmacist made a mistake. but that may not be the case.

"Just because the pill looks differently, doesn't mean that there's something different about it."

Dr. John Swartzberg, head of the editorial board at the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter tells me it's possible the manufacturer simply changed the way the pill looks.

"The easiest thing to do is just call your pharmacist and say, 'Ya know, this pill looks different than the pills I've previously been getting and I just want to make sure that no mistake has been made.' The pharmacist will be more than happy to confirm that with you because they'll have pictures of exactly what the different pills look like for the same medication and they can tell you."

Dr. Swartzberg says this appearance change is more common with generic drugs, since they can be made by several manufactures. But, it also happens with brand name prescription drugs.

A recently study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that people who get a generic drug that has a different color than usual are more likely to stop taking that drug. That can have serious consequences.

When it doubt, check it out.