I noticed my bottle was getting low so I was getting ready to call in my refill but then realized that I'm not due for one for a week and a half! I only have about 30 pills left. I should have about 80!
I dont know what to do. Do I call the pharmacy or the doctor? Will they think I'm lying? Cripes I dont want to get in trouble or risk my relationship with my PM, but what do I do Oh my gosh.
wow, that's a lot. I don't know how it is there but here you would be out of luck. Once you leave the pharmacy window that's it. I guess they expect you to count them right there. Do you have a good relationship w/ your pharmacist? If so I'd call him/her. especially if you have been going there a long time w/o any problem before. maybe they have been having other problems. if that doesn't work I'd call the dr (hoping you have a good relationship there as well ) and explain you called the pharmacist, yada yada yada. don't know if either will work. good luck, Cathy
I've been using a new pharmacy, so no, no relationship there. I'm always SO afraid of something happening to mess things up with my PM dr. I like him a lot and he's super nice, but I dont know if I should call him or not
What kind of med? You say refill, so probably not a narcotic (unless its Vicodin). I agree you are probably <out of luck>, but I'd call the pharmacy just in case. Under certain circumstances they may give you meds you were shorted after the fact, such as if the labeled number of pills could not have fit in that size bottle, or for narcotics, their logs show they have an extra amount which matches what you claim was shorted.
There was only one time I was shorted. I got half the number of pills and realized halfway through the month I was out. Had to pay cash for the early refill. That isn't an option with pain meds. If its another med, I'd do just that (pay cash for it since your insurance won't cover it more than maybe a week early). I've had quite a few times they messed up my order in some way though.
Assuming its a pain med, if it was me, I would not tell the doctor. I would cut down my dose as soon as I realized so I wouldn't run out early, and withdrawal would be minimized. Most folks are on a narcotic contract and wouldn't be able to get a new script early, and asking could look poorly upon you. I'd only tell a doctor about the problem if the issue was so bad I'd have severe withdrawals, or I ended up having a UA the next visit. I'm sure others will disagree with me though.
Yes you are supposed to count your meds right there in front of them if you want any recourse, but that is quite unfeasible (and embarrassing and looks like you don't trust them). I've heard of some folks asking for a counting tray and doing this though as they know the alternative of being shorted is quite bad. As soon as you go out to your car, if you were to claim you were shorted, they could assume you stashed them.
All I do is take the time to look that everything looks right before I leave...its easy to see if the bottle is labeled with the right med/quantity, is the size I'm used to receiving, and is filled as high as usual. I know some folks receive quite large scripts so this is tough though. My doctor limits any script to 200 pills as supposedly that is the limit which flags it for the DEA, so I get two methadone scripts a month. I believe they are supposed to double count Schedule II meds (but it doesn't sound like we are talking about one of those as you said refill...maybe you meant call your doctor so you can pick up a new paper script though?).
If this is the only time you've had this type of red flag with your pharmacy, I'd be very vigilant and continue using them. If this isn't the first time you've had a problem, I'd look for a new place. Pharmacies are so overworked and understaffed nowadays I'm surprised we don't hear about this more often. I was lucky enough to find a pharmacy which is newer and doesn't have as many clients yet, so they have shorter wait times and I haven't had any problems with them. Sorry you are dealing with this! Best wishes.
constant head pain, fibro, and other fun!
chronic pain established in 2006
Last edited by Administrator; 10-14-2012 at 06:09 PM.
The Following User Says Thank You to tortoisegirl For This Useful Post: jroseliver (10-25-2012)
Ask them if they can do a pill count on their end based on how many tabs they think they should have on hand. If they come up with 50 or so 'extra' pills than they thought they should have then your case will be good.
So, instead of explaining yourself and sounding crazy just ask them if they could do a pill count on their end. It puts the ball in their court and keeps you looking good while they count. If they come up with exactly the number that they should have -then you need to rethink the plan.
It is possible they did not have enough in stock, gave you a partial fill but forgot to tell you. If you look on the bottle, it may be marked by hand, 50/75, meaning they gave you 50 pills out of 75 ordered, with the plan to give you 25 more when the next stock came in. I would call pharmacy and ask if this was a partial fill, and if it was not (that info would be in computer), ask to speak to the pharmacy manager. It is possible this was deliberate, by someone trying to siphon off pills from Rx bottles for his/her own use. If that is happening, the manager needs to be aware and that person will get arrested and lose their job. Stealing scheduled drugs is a federal offense-not taken lightly by the DEA.
Hi Mom bomb, Sorry to hear about the trouble with your meds, However I feel the same as you and wouldn't do anything to compromise my relatioship with my doc. Our contracts clearly state lost or stolen meds will not be replaced. They basically put all the respnsability on us to not only protect our meds but to make sure we dont leave the pharamcy with a miscounted bottle. Unless things have changed, they dont have a running pill count on class 111 meds or any med that has the ability to refill. If it was a class 11 they actually could count and balance their books and determine if they had to many pills in the pharamcy.
My next door neighbor broke into my home and stole 75% of my BT meds for a month several years ago and I simply sucked it up. AS long as I have lived with pain, one bad month wasn't going to make a difference since I have had about 19 bad years since all this started. I also bought a safe, installed an alarm and haven't had an isue since. I also dont rely so heavily on BT meds that I cant go without them and dont experience withdrawal when I do.My pump delivers 90% of the meds I take so loosing BT meds isn't catastrophic in my case. My doc does do pill counts at every visit so I simply saved what hadn't been stolen to make sure my count was right when i went in for my next apt. I know it sounds harsh to have to go without, but trust me, every doc and every pharamcist has heard every excuse you can magine from lost and stolen, to the dog ate them and died, so I wouldn't risk the chance of damaging my ralationship with my doc by telling him my meds were not properly secured. That's just my opinion though. We all have to make our own minds up when it comes to things like this. If you have a contract I'm pretty sure this topic is covered.
I didn't report the theft to my doc because it's just another excuse they have all heard at the office and at the pharamcy hundreds if not thousands of times. Although theft is a serious issue at the pharamacy, I know from when my wife managed a Revco that she had a couple patients that made the same claim regarding short fills every time they picked up a script. I wouldn't want to get labeled by the pharmacy as someone that makes those claims either. You dont know what's going on at the pharamcy and it's cettainly possible you could be complaining to the person responsable. They may know they have a potential intenal problem or you may be the first to suggest it and then it would likely fall on deaf ears and you may end up Red flagged in their computer system as a TROUBLE PATIENT.
If your contract states lost or stole meds wont be replaced all you can do is tough it out. Good luck and I am sorry this has happened, I would certainly be more diligent at the pharamcy since you likely sign a form that you have picked them up prior to paying for that script. The time to complain is before you leave the store.
Take care, Dave
You should be able to know exactly (to the pill) how many you are short and I would think that perhaps asking the Pharmacy if they are short that exact amount would be a bit more proof on your side that there was a shortage with you keeping track of your meds.
But if you aren't sure as in your post you say "around 30 left" or "around 80"....then it may look more suspicious to them in that you don't keep good track of your pills.
As others mentioned, if you don't take the maximum amount daily of these and can easily make it through with less each day until your next refill...then I would just wait it out and let it go.
Even though it sounds like it is a Schedule 3 med you are taking (with the word refills), I still think that every controlled substance is accounted for at a Pharmacy specifically.
The part that makes this much more difficult is because you are just now figuring this out, close to 3 weeks after your prescription has been filled.
If you do decide to contact the Pharmacy..I would actually drive there and ask to speak to the head Pharmacist personally. I would do so in a calm and kind manner. This way they can see you and get a much better read on your face/honesty especially since you say this is a new place and you don't know the staff.
Again, if it were me at this point, I would just taper down and grin and bear it until your next refill as to not risk any type of red flag situation with them or your Dr. but you have to do what you feel is best..
This happened to me once on my break through pain meds Nucynta. I was short 20 pills. As soon as I get home from the pharmacy I sit down and sort ALL my pills into a monthly container or else I'll forget what I've taken. It's easy to forget when the pills don't really make the pain go away.
Every pharmacy should have a count of what they have at the end of a day or at any given moment. I called the pharmacy and asked them to do a pill count because I was short 20. Unless they have a dishonest person working in the pharmacy taking the meds then they will find it. The pharmacist put me on hold and did a pill count, came back online and told me he had 20 over the count he should have and I could come back in and pick them up. I use a small mom and pop type pharmacy since none of the chain pharmacies carry the drugs I need. It's either use them or go to a pharmacy connected to a hospital.
The others are correct in saying that you will look suspicious calling the pharmacy without having an exact count of how many you are short and for not calling them either the same day or the next day. I don't know of many pain management patients who don't sit down when they get home and do a count right then. It also would do no good to talk to your doctor about it since it is not their fault and again you would look suspicious.
Sorry to hear you are short and know what a bummer that must be. Hopefully there is a solution.
Thank you for the replies everyone. I am not going to call either the pharmacy or the doctor. I dont want to risk it.
I have certainly learned my lesson and I will do a pill count, at the pharmacy, from now on. No matter how embarrassing that is.
This next week is going to be very difficult.
The following user gives a hug of support to mombomb: kc1958 (10-15-2012)
I would try to cut your pills in half (Obviously only if they are short acting ones) and spread them out over the day that way to at least keep medication in your system even though it will be less than usual.
And I'm assuming that you don't have any pills leftover/extra from previous months? I certainly don't recommend stockpiling but over a 6 month period I always try to save some extra pills here and there on my good days to have for emergencies, holidays, or situations like this where there is a fowl up...
I hope that because you are on a relatively low strenth opiate (again..assuming based on you being able to get refills) that this will help you not have too strong of withdrawal symptoms...
It definitely stinks to be in this situation....I hope the next week and a half flies by for you!
The Following User Says Thank You to Ilovemycutedog For This Useful Post: mombomb (10-15-2012)
I dont have any saved up. Lesson learned :/
I meant to mention in my last post that the meds are norco.
I have some oxycodone and dilaudid here that was prescribed to me, by the same doctor, some time ago. I almost forgot I had it. I tried it but didnt continue to take it because it didnt work as well on my pain as the norco, so my Dr switched me back. I'm wondering if it would be ok to take that. Though it doesnt work well, it'd be better than nothing.
It is not ok to take an old prescription, even though it is yours. Most of us are on contracts which subject us to random UA tests, and that will pick up what med it is. If you have extra of the same med (hydrocodone) you would be ok, but not anything else (unless currently prescribed). Only if you had got permission from your doctor to take old meds (which there is no reason to do) would I ever recommend it. Kinda sucks as you have that sitting there but can't take it.
I try to use up any extra of an old med before starting a new one for this reason (although for some there is the possibility of being called in mid-month for a UA or pill count). I agree about trying to set some meds aside for a rainy day. I was lucky enough to have a doctor who didn't count exactly 30 days for refills, so over some years I accumulated some of me long acting med in addition to my short acting med (which is easier). Sure its against the rules and isn't something I'd share with my doctor, but there has already been one time when it saved me as otherwise I would have gone 5 days without.
I still agree with trying to spread out these remaining pills best you can. Norcos can be cut in half. Also agree that a couple weeks later for a non CII med, its very unlikely even if you knew the exact amount that your pharmacy could confirm they had extra. Also agree you don't want to get labeled as a trouble patient. Hope you get through this ok. Thankfully is a week and change instead of an entire month. Best wishes.
constant head pain, fibro, and other fun!
chronic pain established in 2006
I agree...it would not be a good idea to take the other older prescriptions since they are different medications and as mentioned, you don't want to fail a urine test...that would make this whole thing that much worse...
I was only thinking if you had some extra of the Norco but you say that you don't. So, it really shouldn't be too bad if you space them out from now until when you can pick up your refill. And cutting the Norco is perfectly ok...so taking half doses throughout the day even though it will be a total lower dosage in 24 hours...but it is usually better than taking a few regular ones and then going more hours without anything in your system.
Thankfully you aren't on a really strong med so I think you will be fine...
ok, has anyone thought about what if this happens again? what if mombomb has to take a pee test (didnt read that anywhere if you said something I missed it, sorry) and it shows you're not taking your meds like you're supposed to, not trying to scare you but it happens.
Just trying to think it all the way thru. So mombomb you're going to count them at the pharmacy when you pick them up next time?
There are several things here that could go wrong that's all and I was just trying to make sure everything was being thought about. you're between a rock and a hard place it seems, sorry. Cathy
There's really not much she can do at this point with only a certain amount of pills left.
And Mombomb....do you go in to pick up your refill at an appt.? Or is this just a call them for it and just go to the Pharmacy.
If it's the former...then you can taper all the way down until two days before your appt. and then take the regular amount of pills so that you will be fine for a urine test.
Obviously we never want to lie to our Drs. and I am not suggesting doing anything of the sort here....I would think that with being on such a low dose of medication that your Dr. already assumes that you may not take the full dosing every single day.
And if you are just calling in for your refill and they have never tested you in between appts. Then just keep the taper the same the next week and a half to keep withdrawals at bay.
Again...at this point I personally agree with you and everyone in that calling your Dr. and Pharmacy would cause a lot more issues then just not saying anything this time around and just moving forward with the amount you have left.
You haven't done anything wrong on your end here with taking more than prescribed, or selling/giving them to people...etc. So that is why I think you will be fine with all of this and it's just a learning tool for all of us in PM to count our meds...
Sending some hugs (( ))
Last edited by Ilovemycutedog; 10-16-2012 at 08:23 AM.
After you survive the crisis you may want to have a chat with your pharmacist -that you may have been shorted, that you felt you had little recourse, and what to do in the future should this be an issue again. And, maybe they can still do that pill count.
For my pain script they use a certain sized bottle, same one every month. A quick visual tells me it should be right at the top, cap barely covering the contents. So, instead of actually spreading your pills out on their counter -which is ridiculous on many levels- perhaps you can just do a quick visual and if you have a doubt just hand them the bottle and have them do a recount back behind the counter.
The chances of all of this happening again is very low unless there is someone on staff stealing pills. But, why would a pill thief take from a client and not take from the bottle that stays in stock on the shelf?
Also, if you do want to count your pills next time, you can ask to be taken to the "consultation" area, if they have one, and count your pills there before you leave. Other than that, are you positive no one in your home could have gotten to them? Sometimes those little safes aren't really that secure. The reason i mention this is, i have a small one that i keep important papers in and i lost the key and it was real easy to pick the lock.