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Pharmacist refused to serve me because.....

(20 Posts)
JesusChristOtterStar Sat 31-Oct-09 21:27:26

My eczema was TOO bad angry

Nipped into the pharmacy at 5 pm tonight to buy some hydrocortisone as due to much stress my eczema has flared up and my fingers on one hand are rashy and sore

Girl asked me 'who it was for' and i said me ..' could she see it' i showed her...she said the skin was broken and she needed to get the pharmacist

he popped out took a look and refused to sell me it. I said i am 42 i have always had eczema and it hurts - he said 'you need to see a doctor'

i left shop....

is this right? I understand the ins and outs of steroids but hydrocortisone 1% is harldly heroine and its not POM

should it be POM if people are going to do this?

Incidently last time i put a repeat prescription form in ( which i literally have done twice in my life) they only gave me the aqueous and not hydrocortisone hmm

am i right in feeling cross?

TeamEdward Sat 31-Oct-09 21:31:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TeamEdward Sat 31-Oct-09 21:32:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ilovemydogandmrobama Sat 31-Oct-09 21:36:23

Think the pharmacist was right in that if your skin is broken, hydrocortisone may not be the most appropriate remedy.

If it's any comfort, when I was b/fing, a pharmacist refused to fill the prescription for eye drops until she had checked it with someone or other even though it was prescribed by my GP.

PacificWerewolfwoohood Sat 31-Oct-09 21:39:21

I do not know the ins and outs of it exactly, however pharmacists can sell "pharmacy only" items only according to very strict rules. Some items are more strictly regulated than simple "over the counter" meds.

I do think from what you are saying your pharmacist seems to have been a stickler to the rules, however they are not encouraged to follow their own professional judgement.
You are right, you will not do any harm with a bit of 1% HC cream, at worst it will not work if you eczema is really bad.

Can you try thick layer of heavy moisturizer/emollient (like Epaderm/Vaseline/Cetraben) on hands last thing at night with cotton gloves on top as an interim measure?

JesusChristOtterStar Sat 31-Oct-09 21:49:47

sadly i was bad and went from Lloyds to Boots who did not ask any questions

skin is soothed but hc and i am old enough to know what helps...

I think the pharmacist should try a spot of cracked and weeping eczema before refusing service ! sorry if tmi

PacificWerewolfwoohood Sat 31-Oct-09 21:52:09

I was going to suggest to say it was for your DH very mild eczema and hide your hands wink

BelaLugosiNoir Sat 31-Oct-09 22:34:51

The BNF (section 13.2.2) does say that
"Over-the-counter hydrocortisone preparations

Skin creams and ointments containing hydrocortisone (alone or with other ingredients) can be sold to the public for the treatment of allergic contact dermatitis, irritant dermatitis, insect bite reactions and mild to moderate eczema, to be applied sparingly over the affected area 1–2 times daily for max. 1 week. Over-the-counter hydrocortisone preparations should not be sold without medical advice for children under 10 years or for pregnant women; they should not be sold for application to the face, anogenital region, broken or infected skin (including cold sores, acne, and athlete’s foot)."

The pharmacist was doing what they were supposed to. I think they could have suggested an alternative though to bridge the gap until you're able to get an appointment with your GP.
I won't share my opinion of Boots with you, suffice to say several of my relatives are pharmacists and none of them have much good to say about it!

lou031205 Sat 31-Oct-09 23:17:04

The issue is the broken skin. Hydrocortisone cream is a topical agent. It is intended to treat the local skin issue. By applying it to broken skin it can absorb into the blood stream, which will give a systemic effect. They can't sell it for that reason.

maybebaby23 Sat 31-Oct-09 23:19:22

Phamacists don't refuse to sell you something for no reason..i used to work in a pharmacy and some people got so uptight about being asked questions. All the girl/pharmacist is tying to do is make sure you get the right treatment and that they don't sell you anything that could potentially make your problem worse.

Hydrocortisone shouldn't be used on broken skin. If i were you i would have been glad that they pointed that out to me before i bought it and used it!

Fair enough you are 42 and know what works best, the girl should have suggested something else you could use until you could see your doctor. But i think it is a bit much to be so cross with them for trying to help you. Just my opinion of course! Hope your excema settles down soon.

JesusChristOtterStar Sun 01-Nov-09 00:34:52

i have never gone to the doctors for eczema treatment NOT had broken skin and NOT been prescribed hydrocortisone

i understand the steroid argument but there is a discrepancy there

purplepeony Sun 01-Nov-09 10:40:06

But the thing is, if you have eczema the skin is often broken! How are you supposed to treat it! Emollients won't work - that's why steroids are used! Hydrocortisone is so weak that it won't do any harm.

I used to use 1% on my neck and had a similar problem once- so I just went to another chemist and said it was on my arms- managed to find a tiny patch!

Yes, I know they are doing their job, but like the OP when you have been managing your skin for 40-50 years you know what your body can cope with.

RumourOfAHurricane Sun 01-Nov-09 11:29:50

Message withdrawn

cass66 Sun 01-Nov-09 12:36:50

surely the point is if it's weepy and cracked it may be infected and therefore need antibiotics, not just steroids....

ruddynorah Sun 01-Nov-09 12:44:32

when dd was a baby she had an awful patch of eczema on her chin and cheek, as well as patches on her tummy. gp gave us prescription for hc cream and said not to take dd into chemist to collect it and not to tell them it was for her face if asked! he said they won't give you it if you say it's for her face or if they see it's for her face.

purplepeony Sun 01-Nov-09 13:48:52

cass if you have ever had eczema you would know that having cracked skin is part of it. No-one is suggesting that you put a very strong steroid cream on oozing, yellow, infected cuts- this was a very weak 1% cream for hands. The chances of it causing damage are practically zero.

It's the same with all POM- some drs and pharmacists follow every letter of the rule book, others are more practical and know exactly what's what.

On a simialr theme, I have an excellent specialist gynae- he allows me to "bend the rules" with some meds I take because he is at the top of the profession and knows what's what- it's not a case of taking a risk, it's a case of really knowing what the drugs do.

Earlybird Sun 01-Nov-09 13:55:46

Would it be wise to try to keep a supply of hydrocortisone at home for use when you need it, rather than trying to purchase some when you are in a dire state?

<disclaimer: don't know anything about excema>

JesusChristOtterStar Sun 01-Nov-09 20:57:35

thanks for the support ! I am grateful for the folks who agree that you have to treat it with steroid when it is bad..

Incidentally in the 24 hours since treating it has stopped weeping and crusted over nicely ( sorry for tmi)

Personally - and this is only imo - the advice i was given 'use emollient' has always made my skin MORE itchy and actually more stingy when i have open wounds ...hc stuff soothes within minutes

thanks again

CrossWhy Mon 02-Nov-09 21:55:29

As a pharmacist I am constantly faced with having to tell patients that they cannot buy a product because of some reason and referring them to a doctor who I know will end up writing a prescription for the very thing I couldn't sell.

The pharmacist was correct not selling you the HC cream, but was not correct in failing to offer you an alternative ie aqueous cream, doublebase or diprobase.

In my experience the best cream for eczema is Aveeno cream, alot of people who ive reommended it to have found it has reduced the amount of times they have needed to use HC cream although, i have had one person say it didn't make any improvement so it doesn't work for everyone. While the cream is expensive you can get it on prescription and if you are likely to go through alot get a prepayment certificate if you have to pay.

JesusChristOtterStar Tue 03-Nov-09 00:51:23

thanks crosswhy

in his defence the pharmacist did offer an emollient but i declined

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