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Sliddle 03-15-2012 06:50 PM

Pharmacy regulations on refilling Narcotics?
I am hoping someone would be able to clear up some information that I believe the pharmacy is misleading/mistaken... I have been with my same MD for over 15 years, and on the same medications- Norco (Lortab) 10/350, and Ambien 10mg. We have discussed the changes that are occurring in regards to stronger regulations regarding prescribing narcotics- more detailed exams, more paperwork, f/u with MD every 3 months or he won't fill my scripts, and each month I have to go into his office to pick up the scripts. No problem, got it!
I ran into a problem with my old pharmacy since they are only open on Saturdays until noon, and closed on Sundays- so I would need to fill my script on a Friday, I work on Saturdays. The pharmacy stated that they could not/would not fill the prescription even 1 day early, my MD thought that was NUTS! He has always said that he had no problem filling it one or two days earlier- so he suggested switching to a pharmacy with better hours. So, I switched to Walgreens. I have been VERY careful, ensuring that I am taking the medications as prescribed, but when I am down to 1 day of pills left, I get concerned that if something happens, ie: Chronic migraines with blurred vision/puking and am unable to fill my script/which may put me in the ER -so I bring the norco script to the pharmacy (which they can clearly see my MD wrote it 4 days prior) to be filled, and I am told, I am a day too early, ok, so what happens when someone goes on vacation, on a cruise, out of state?? I guess, you just suffer and spend your vacation in bed due to the debilitating pain?? Sorry, my anger just got the best of me...
So long story short, I have one Ambien left for tonight, as I should have, and called the pharmacy to refill it. I was told that it was not due to be filled until tomorrow. Ummmm... the pharmacist explained that a person is only allowed to fill a narcotic/ambien a total of 7 days ealier for the LIFE SPAN of the medication. REALLY? And then I was told that in the past 16 months I had filled my Ambien 8 days early, I pulled up my profile and I saw that on maybe 4-5 times I refilled the script one day early. I called her back again, VERY NASTY, and asked, so.. if this script is filled on the exact refill day for the next 2 years, and I go on vacation, you are going to tell me that I used up my 7 days 2 years ago? She stated, YES! IT IS NYS LAW!!!
She then responded that I would have to get a hard script and bring it with me on vacation to get it filled... hummmm, not quite sure how that would work with insurance coverage, or when I on a cruise to the islands?
Can someone please verify if this truely is correct? My MD keeps saying, no they can fill it a day or two prior, the pharmacy keeps saying no, it has to be on the due date. I am a nurse, how am I to fill a script when I am working 16 hours shifts?
I'm sorry, but this really stinks for legit people who really have pain management issues. I had called another pharmacy without giving them my personal information, and they too (rite-aide) said the same thing?
Has anyone else run into this type of issue, or know where to direct me to see what the "NYS LAW" is on filling narcotics/including ambien?

Ilovemycutedog 03-16-2012 08:30 AM

Re: Pharmacy regulations on refilling Narcotics?
I'm sorry to say but if you do look up New York State Narcotic Prescription information/law...Go to the Pharmacy prescribing information on the .gov website

There is information that states :
The pharmacist can not refill the prescription
if the patient has more than a seven day supply of that
controlled substance on hand obtained from any previously
dispensed prescription.

Because it says from "any" previously dispensed prescription...this is where they are adding it up.

Because it's all in the computer....they do calculate each time you are a day early...So with your Ambien prescription...if you only take one at night...You actually should have at least by your account....4 to 5 days of extra medication.

Keep in mind that February had the 29 days so depending on when you filled that one....that could have led to another extra day worth of medicine.

Each state has their own regulations and then there are individual Pharmacies that can refuse to fill a prescription for any reason they see fit. As well as each insurance company has their regulations.

But this one looks like they are following the NY State Law. Unfortunately....many Drs. don't know the law as well as Pharmacists do as they are the ones to fill the medication and have to follow everything to a tee or else the State or DEA comes after THEM....THEY are just as responsible for your medication as your Dr. is.

May I ask what happened to the extra 4 or 5 days of Ambien that you say you filled the medicine early by one day?

Shoreline 03-17-2012 10:27 AM

Re: Pharmacy regulations on refilling Narcotics?
My Doc has put fill on or after dates on every script since Ive seen him in 2001, He usually allows me to fill on day 30 but his NP has me fill on Day 31. Bottom Line, It's not worth the fight. If you are in enough pain that you need these meds or your condition requires the use of any med, schedule vacations and trips around those fill dates, Use a pharmacy that's open seven days a week and it will never be an issue.

Part of the tightening of laws is that if someones med use comes down to a mattter of convienance rather than function, They probably shouldn't be on the med. Since filling early has never been an option it's not something I expect or feel entitled to. Ive taken vacations, travel at holidays and have never had an issue because without the meds I wouldn't be able to sit in a car or an airplane for 3 or 4 hours without pulling my hair out. Prior to having access to these meds i wouldn't have traveled because I wasn't able to. Limiting the meds to those that simply can't function without these meds is the purpose of tightening the laws.

Even if the doc is agreeable to filling a day early or working around your vacation schedule, the pharmacist is the next line of defense in keeping the meds out of the hands of those that shouldn't be on them. Docs that continually allow early fills or annual vacation early fills need to tighten up or they will loose their ability to prescribe. Yep it's a pain getting up on day 31 and starting the day with a trip to the pharamcy, but if that's what is required for continued care, that's what you do.It's no different than having surgery and having to send a friend or family member to a surgeons office to pick up that script in the post op phase of recovery. It's not convienant, It's a pain n the backside to have to ask someone for help and a pain for them to have to go pick them up when it requires a trip down town, use of a parking garage and takes up too hours of someones time but if you had a fusion or any major surgery 6 or 7 days prior,and still require a class 2 med for pain, The laws require a wriitten script, you will find a way to get your next script if your in enough pain. Even if your unable to walk or drive yourself. Not convienant, but necessary. I would much rather see the laws tighten in this regard than for things to go back to the way it was in the 80's or 90's when nobody but terminally ill patients or post op patients had acces to any class 2 meds and even then the families of the terminally ill had to fight for adaquate pain relief for the dying.

If they are going to prevent the abuse of class 2 meds, they also need to prevent the abuse of lesser controlled meds that have the potential for equal abuse like valium, ambien, Xanax and hydroodone. Hydro is widely abuse and is much easier to obtain because the old laws dont require a written copy and allow multiple refills. So wee kloose some conveinance, and it's a little tougher for those that have worked the sytem for years . The only meds my doc will actually call in is the withdrawal cocktail. If I walk out of an apt without a med I need, It's my responsabilty to get back to the doc and pick it up or simply ggo without untill muy next apt. It's not my docs job to make it easier on all the patients. They stopped all calll ins because a couple patients knew the lingo enough to call in their own refills or new scripts for certain meds. Hios reponse was swift and blanketing, No meds from his offie will ever be called in. This protects him and the patient population every other person out there that these meds would end up in the hands of to misuse and abuse beause it's honsetly not hard to learn the lingo and a confident absuer knows that every call in is not verified with a call back to the office that just called in 120 norco, QID with 2 refills. Dea #'s are not hard to obtain from a valid script so every script he writes has in print that this office does not call in any scheduled/controlled medications.

I have had meds on auto refill and it actually cause me a problem when a pharamcist takes it on himself to call and get a new script when the refills are used up. Particularly because he sees me at he end of each cycle when the sscripts are due within days. When he has just wrriten me a script with 2 refills, he has to wonder why is a pharmacist calling and asking for a refill when I walked out 1 day earlier with a written script for that exact med. So I no longer ask for auto refill on any med, it is inconvienant but required.
Good luck, Dave

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