Refills are granted at the time of your office visit and not in between visits. Please DO NOT have your pharmacist call the office asking for a refill. When you are running low on your medication it is a reminder that you are probably due for an office visit. I prescribe enough medication to last until your next office visit. One exception is some forms of hormone replacement can only be filled for 6 months at a time due to regulations, such as testosterone or some compounded hormones. For these I do make an exception, unless you need to be seen in 6 months for another reason.
How much medication can I get at the time of my appointment?
If you have no issues and you are stable on your medication you can usually get a year supply (such as for thyroid replacement and birth control). If you have ongoing medical issues that are stable I’ll want to see you every 3-12 months and will give you anywhere from 3-12 months worth of refills, depending on the issue, how long you have had it, and what we are working on. If you have issues that are not under good control, the interval for follow up will be shorter, and the refill interval will also be shorter. The moral of the story is to get your health issues under control and make sure you ask for ALL of your refills at the time of your office visit.
Why can’t I just call when I’m on my last pill like at other doctor’s offices?
The average office is inundated with refill requests and they often need to hire lots of staff to handle the sheer volume of refill requests. Thirty percent of the phone calls to the average office are related to refill requests. Another 20% of calls are second calls in the same day from the same person who did not get their call returned. It is also hard on the pharmacists if you wait till the last minute to ask for a refill. It is best to schedule an appointment while you still have a week’s supply left.
What if I know you wrote me a longer supply than the pharmacist says I have left?
Tell the pharmacist to pull the “hard copy” and make sure that the pharmacist entered it in the computer correctly.
Anything else I can do to make things easier?
If you take a look at your prescriptions and try to get them renewed on the same cycle such as every 3, 6, 9 or 12 months then you will have them all in sequence and it’s easy to remember the renewal date on all of them. Ask each time you go to the pharmacy to make sure you know when you will run out. Keep that list in your wallet so you will know if you need refills when you come to your appointments.
What if I’m in a pinch? Are there exceptions?
Pharmacists will usually give you a 3 day supply to tide you over in an emergency. I make exceptions for situations in which you have had an emergency or are out of town. I also do not hold patients with traumatic brain injury or dementia to the same standards as those with normal cerebral function.
I hope this is helpful! Thank you for being proactive and for helping me have an efficient and streamlined medical practice.