1. be patient. unless its a prescription refill, you will never again be able to walk into a pharmacy with your prescription, and walk out with the medication. this is a bit of a process, and it definitely requires patience. i know it's important, in many cases, to begin taking medication as soon as possible, but this is just a hurdle we have to jump over in order to ensure that we will not be glutenized in the process.
2. find a good pharmacist. this is so so important, as he/she will be your advocate. here's what it will look like: you'll take your written prescription into the pharmacy, they'll put it in their computer, and then they'll need some time to contact the manufacturer and see if it is safe for you or not. this can take anywhere from an hour to 24 hours, which i know sounds horrifying, but let's keep things in perspective - whatever you're suffering from will inevitably be exacerbated by ingesting gluten, so we need to do this right. the reason it can take some time is because of time changes - for example, we're on the west coast and most manufacturers are on the east coast, so if we don't get our prescription in before 1pm we will likely be waiting until the next day. the other reason it takes some time is just the method of communication between the pharmacy and the company - most of the time the pharmacy will need to leave a message and await a return phone call.
once you've found a pharmacist who is willing to do this for you, stick with them!! and bring them starbucks, that's my secret. i very very rarely walk into our pharmacy without a coffee in hand for our superstar pharmacist.
3. be willing to find a new pharmacy if yours doesn't work out. a perfect example happened to us after dane had his tonsils and adenoids removed a couple of weeks ago. because we live a couple hours from the hospital, we needed to spend a few days at my parents house so that we were closer to the city if need be. as a result, we needed to find an alternative pharmacy to work with in that area. before we left the hospital, we called around and found a pharmacist who was willing to do this legwork for us. we then had the prescriptions faxed from the hospital to the pharmacy to get the ball rolling. we called a couple hours later to check in and make sure we they were clear on what we needed. when i arrived there later that day to pick up "the goods", i was super surprised at what i was met with, given the amount of communicating we had done with them. it takes a lot to make this mama mad, but i was fired right up - they told me that it is probably gluten free, and it should be fine... what the heck!? they wanted me to give this potentially unsafe medicine to this sweet boy who just had his throat operated on, at the risk of not only doing long term damage to his guts, but having him throw up for the next number of days!? they offered to look up these particular drugs in the book that they have, but i have been assured by pharmacists that we trust that this book isn't an adequate measure to ensure that it is free from gluten. the only way to be sure is to call the company. so... i had to ask for the prescription paper back, and put off getting this poor little guy his medicine until the next day, when we could consult with a pharmacy that we trust.
so i bought some new nail polish, went home and painted my nails so i was ready to face the night ahead, sans drugs for dane.
i hope i haven't given you a headache by laying out the process that it takes to get what you need... because it could take you two days to find out if your headache cure is gluten free ;) just kidding! but really, it is essential that we take this care and i can assure you that once you find a good pharmacist, it gets SO much easier!!!
cheering you on my friends -