i usually try to get a refill when i have a day or two of meds left just in case there are problems with the doctor's office getting it approved or the pharmacy taking too long. i have even filled it as far in advance as 3-4 days out. i think you can't go beyond that, though.
Most PM doctors have a very strict policy on narcotic refills. Some will absolutely not allow an early refill for any reason other than stolen medications, and even then most require a police report and will only do this once. If a medication is supposed to last 30 days, then you can get usually get a refill on the 30th day. Some doctors only will allow that refill on the
31st day though. I have a friend whos doctor does it that way.
Some PM doctors will allow a refill on the 28th day. So you can get a refill before you are out of medications. A good rule of thumb is to only use the narcotic pain meds when you actually need them. If you need them every 6 hours then take them that way, but if you aren't having the pain level that requires you to take them every 6 hours, then don't take that dose. This will give you a couple extra just in case you have a really bad pain day or have to go a day extra before your refill if you are out of town, it's a holiday or your pharmacy isn't open on the weekend. I know some of the smaller pharmacies aren't open on Sundays and on many holidays. Some are open 24/7 regardless of the day.
Either way, if you were prescribed 20 on Friday and were to take one every 6 hours, that would break down to about 3 a day which should last just over 6 days. I don't think they count any kind of "middle of the night" doses, but am not sure about that. So, if you got them Friday and have taken 3 a day, then as of this morning, you should have about 11 left which would last another 3 days- today, tomorrow & Wednesday with two left over. (if you are not taking them in the middle of the night) which means a refill might fall on Weds., or Thursday depending on your Doctor, your insurance and pharmacy rules.
I know Walgreens bottles actually have the number of days supply listed on them, but am not sure about other pharmacies. I use Eckerd and they don't put the number of days supply on their bottles.
If you are allowed refills on your meds and aren't sure when you are allowed to get a refill, it may be a good idea to ask your doctor about it so you don't risk getting into trouble.
Hi Scott: It's really a lot of times up to your doctor, especially if you're dealing with Schedule II meds that require a written script each time it's filled. Schedule III meds (which is what Vicodins are) that was written with refills works a little differently. A lot of times, your insurance company and pharmacy will come into the refill and when. My insurance (Blue Cross) will give an ok to refill, up to five days early. So, if you're in need of filling your prescription a couple days early and have insurance, it will most likely come down to whether they will approve it. I have heard of some Pharmacists, who are rather hard nosed about it and either refuse or question you if you're trying to refill early.
Hi Scott, As ozzy said, the pharamcy has to asign a number of days supply. every 6 hours would be calcualted as 4 a day making 20 pills a 5 day supply. Counting the day you have it, you should be able to fill it on day 5 which is Tuesdays.
However, Pain Management is very different from post op or post dental procedure pain. If you had teeth pulled friday, the insurance or the pharamcist would likely make the call if you had refills on the prescription. I would think most would have you wait untill tomorrow, at 4 a day, when you woke up this morning you should have 8 left, why refill today other than your taking almost twice as much as prescribed. I know they don't last 6 hours, but the doc or pharamcist may expect you to make do with the way it's prescribed. Some pharamcist are jerks just like you meet jerks in every walk of life. Give the wrong person a little power and you never know what their response will be.
All my meds are 30 day supplies, I'm allowed to fill on day 30 and my docs office check the fill date each month when I pick up my next script. Any deviation is grounds to be dismissed from the PM practice I see. Filing on day 30 actually gives me an extra day.
The fact he gave you 20, makes it sound like this isn't pain management, but an acute episode. If you need to take more than prescribed, you should call the doc and explain the med isn't working to prevent any confusion between what the doc ordered and what the doc expects, but that has little to do with when insurance will pay or a pharmacist will allow a script to be refilled.
You have 4 variables, How the doc prescribed it, what the doc expects, what the pharmacist will allow and when insurance will pay. Some insurance will allow refills when 75% or 80% has been used, It doesn't mean that's cool with the doc or the pharmacist.
My pharmacist told me that most docs here (Alberta, Canada) don't include doses for the night when they do prescriptions. She said their theory is that you'll be sleeping therefore it won't be needed in those hours. I think it's pretty stupid. What about the people who do wake up during the night and have to take a pain pill?