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Can I fill a narcotic prescription early?

edited 02/17/2015 - 8:37 PM in Pain Medications
I have cervical herniated discs and my pain has been continuously getting worse. I ended up going to e.r. who tried to help but couldn't. After leaving e.r. I was able to get right in with my neurologist. Because my pain had gotten worse I was taking more of my meds (Norco 10/325), so I was almost out. I let my Dr. know and he wrote me another script. Seeing it was too soon, my insurance wouldn't cover it, therefore cvs said they couldn't fill it, even if I paid cash. Will I be able to get it filled somewhere else?


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
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  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,846
    Any pharmacy is going to contact the insurance company for clearance. So, wherever you go, you are going to find
    the same situation.
    Cash means nothing here...
    If your doctor agreed to write a prescription knowing that you exhausted your existing one ahead of schedule, then they had
    to adjust the script.
    For example: If it was 4 tabs per day x 30 days = 120 tabs, If the script was written for 6 tabs a day, then the insurance company would have okd it
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Hi.. How early are we talking? I have had to do this for various reasons. If you go to a different pharmacy than you went to originally and tell them you don't want to file your insurance with them, they will fill it and you can pay with cash. Pharmacies don't have access to your insurance and only know if you tell them. Since the doctor is fine with it, you are not being dishonest. This comes down to how many pills the insurance co wants to pay for. So, fill it at a pharmacy that does not have your insurance and... case closed. One drawback is you will pay the100% retail price, and not the co-pay with the insurance. Hope that helps.
    Left foramina stenosis of L3/L4 (retrolisthesis)
    L2-ilaic revision fusion ( loose screws) with a laminectomy at L3 (cage at L3-L4)
    (PLIF) -@ L4/ L/5 - S1 (cage at L4/L5)
  • Some states mandate the use of computer systems that track when and where you've obtained scripts and attempted to obtain scripts. It's not associated with your insurance, its tracked by pharmacies entering the information.

    The doctor would have done you a much better favor if he would have adjusted the dose. Then, insurance most likely would not have had an issue with filling it.

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,846
    many pharmacies will not even entertain. Filling out a prescription without seeing some insurance coverage.
    It is important and good that they do have access.

    That is to prevent people for filling out narcotic prescriptions before they are do. That has become one of the major offensives dealing with narcotics. That has also been the biggest reason why some people are required to sign "pain contracts". That is done to avoid filling too soon.

    That has always been a red flag and marking someone as abusing their pain medications.

    There is sound medical reasons why this is done.

    Now, probably everyone at one time has run low too soon ,took more pain medications then they were suppose to. Does that mean they are a drug addict? NO

    But anyone in this type of situation they need to discuss it with their doctor. If the doctor agrees with the need, it's simply changing the dosage on the script. Then it could be filled earlier

    For example. Script A says 4 tablets.a day, 30 day supply - 120. Doctor write a new script, same drug, but now 6 tablets a day which is 180 pills for that same 30 day period
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Jillybean079Jillybean079 Posts: 266
    edited 03/07/2015 - 10:08 AM
    Dilauro is right. I just had this problem because my pain doc upped my script after an ER visit. I was worried about having problems with the insurance covering it, and they didn't. Because he wrote the new script for every 4 hours, rather than 6, like he originally told me to take. After my pain started getting worse, he gave me permission to take it every four, and because he re wrote the new script, we had no problems....
    Spine-Health Moderator 
    Ankylosing Spondylitis
    Bulging discs T12-L3
    Annular Tears with Disc Extrusion L4-S1
    Moderate Central Canal Stenosis
    Moderate Foraminal Stenosis
    Enlarged Facet Joints/Ligaments
    Spinal enthesopathy
    L4-L/5 PLIF with cages, rods, screws 2/15 

  • brandysue50bbrandysue50 Baldwinsville NYPosts: 46
    No you can't. You can get in trouble if you tell your dr your short. They will do a random pill count and you not be able to get narcotics.
    This according to nyspine and wellness.
  • BpainFree39BBpainFree39 Posts: 127
    edited 04/07/2015 - 2:04 PM
    I disagree with the last 3 posts. After I was laid off I lost my insurance. I was paying out of pocket for my meds and if you want to pay cash, you can without registering the insurance. This was in NC, and they use this prescription monitoring program. He's the deal with it. The pharmacies don't decide anything from it. Its for a doctor's office to review your history if you are needing pain meds. If you are doctor shopping they can see that, and will not prescribe. For legit reasons and if the doctor agrees no one cares. Here's something that happened to me before I lost my insurance. My pain clinic stopped taking my insurance. They referred me to a new one in the middle of my month. Meaning I had all my pills from the first clinic. The new clinic checked my medication history, and they did not blink. They said we can see you take XYZ. I said yes. The new doctor put me on higher doses of the same drug the first pain clinic had me on, and left one the same. I filled all of them under the new doctors care that day because I would need to drive too far to go back to the pharmacy I used in town. My insurance even covered the meds in the same month because it was a new doctor. Also, if the med dosage is changed and you just filled a script, your insurance will cover it. So, from experience I can tell you this: 1) insurance is not needed to fill a narcotic script. 2) the medication monitoring system is used by doctors, not pharmacies (With the exception if you go to the same pharmacy to fill early, and this is because of insurance, not the monitoring system) 3) people are far too worried about all of this, and if someone is being honest, and just has a real issue, all hope is not lost.
    Left foramina stenosis of L3/L4 (retrolisthesis)
    L2-ilaic revision fusion ( loose screws) with a laminectomy at L3 (cage at L3-L4)
    (PLIF) -@ L4/ L/5 - S1 (cage at L4/L5)
  • VA25478VVA25478 VirginiaPosts: 1
    BpainFree39, most of what you said is wrong. Pharmacies DO have access to the medication monitoring system and we DO use it most of the time to check to make sure that there isn't any abuse going on. Also most doctor's offices doesn't even check the prescription drug monitoring system because they are too busy trying to see 30+ patient in an 8 hours window. Pain clinics check all the time because that's what they do to make sure their patient are not abusing the drug. Pain clinics also usually gets urine test from their patient to ensure that they are taking the medicine and not selling it. Also even if the doctor agrees to filling it early does NOT mean the the pharmacist has to fill it. We have right to say NO if we do not feel comfortable filling it. Your experience just tells me that you dealt the the big chain pharmacies where they are always pressured to fill medications quickly and if the pharmacist were to question an early refill of a control medication, the patient would raise hell. The only thing I agree with you on is that you do not need insurance to fill medications, but if a patient were to walk into the pharmacy and tell me that they are paying cash for a pain medication, the first time I'm going to do is run their name in the medicaiton monitoring system to make sure they are not trying to fill it early or from a different doctor. 
  • TheHammerTTheHammer Opelika, ALPosts: 3
    So no one answered the question because original poster didn't respond with details.  I'm in a similar issue, so I'll post my details and hopefully when someone comes through the next time and finds this they will find it helpful.
    I take Norco 10mg 3x a day.  I saw my doctor last wednesday and he wrote me a script for two weeks since I was going to see him monday (5 days later).  
    So today he writes me a script for 90 norco 10mg (3x daily).  I wont see him for another 3 weeks so he went ahead and gave me a months worth.  I told him I was worse in the last several daysand was using more since I had them and I had leftover from a previous script (from him) .  
    He didn't change the dosage, just gave me a months worth.  
    I know if i try to fill this red flags will pop up everywhere.  
    So I have a 2 week prescription that is 6 days old (counting the fill day and today), whats the earliest I could fill this?  I would go on the 14th day (tuesday) which is what I normally do when refilling.  BUT I am hurting pretty bad and don't want to be suffering through the weekend if I don't have to be.  I know the pharmacy will sometimes fill 3 days early on a month script.  But this is a 2 week one then a month one.  Any advice is much appreciated.
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