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Count Your Pills!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:19 AM in Pain Medications
I don't know if this has been discussed here before, but I encourage everyone to count the number of pills in your prescription bottle before you leave the pharmacy.

I recently had surgery ( microdisc) and received 2 prescriptions. I was reading a magazine that suggested you always check your prescriptions, so I thought, I'll count the pills in the 2 meds I just got, and was shocked that 10 days after surgery I had only 47 pills left from a prescription of 90. I had only taken a few of these as they were muscle relaxers and I really didn't need them. When I checked back to my medication log, I had only taken 13 of them.

I thought no problem, I'll just call the pharmacy and let them know they made an error and have them give me the rest of my precription. Well, after numerous phone calls, being hung up on by the pharmacist, and being treated like a "drug seeker" I finally got the problem resolved.

It is much more difficult to get the problem fixed once you have left the pharmacy. I hope no one else has trouble with this.

Be well,


  • we did have a discussion on this on the old SH. It seems that this happens often.
  • I always trusted the Pharmacy to be accurate!! HMMM... that sounds messed up to me! How and where would I count pills at the Pharmacy?
  • the counter in plain sight.
  • I have a customer that does it, he actually wants us to double count them in front of him (we're faster, and it's our own butts on the line, I guess). He was having insurance problems the other day and I helped him a lot, then I remembered that he wanted us to double counted (without his asking), and he found the managers and gave me a compliment, which really made my day. I digress, lol. No skin off our teeth, it is certainly within your rights as a patient. Just please be kind about it, people do make mistakes (show me someone who doesn't!). It is especially common, I've done it myself, to want everything to be 30, since so many scripts are for 30, it just starts to become habit when you've been filling for hours. Then you suddenly get something that's not 30 and it throws you for a loop. I actually don't like filling, I'd rather be at the other stations, even the register, it's totally mindless and boring.
  • :) at my local pharmacy they have a type written number of pills and above that they have it written in pen and then taped over with the pharmacists initials to say there was a double count. makes it rather difficult to say the count is wrong when it has been double counted. anyone else have this at their local pharmacy? Jenny :)
  • Yes, if there is a circle around the qty, it has been double counted. But again, I know that I have personally double counted to the wrong number (usually 30). And, I consider myself a very good tech :) Unfortunately, when you are counting and counting and counting, your brain kind of shuts off. That's why workflow (rotating workstations) is very important. We used to have scales, but for some reason corporate decided they weren't accurate and turned them off - maybe they weren't accurate for your one and only count, but they certainly were a great way to double check counts and the wrong drug, as the scale would certainly know the difference in weight say, between two different strengths. I hope that I can't get in trouble for giving away trade secrets or anything.

    Everyone strives for accuracy, it is very important to any job, but mistakes do happen. Honestly, having 1 bad count a day out of say, 500 scripts is a pretty darn good percentage of error.
  • does happen quite a bit but pharmacists are only human too and we all make mistakes....however in the case of meds that you need , by all means count them suckers right there on the counter. At my old pharmacy , they never double counted....my new pharmacy does and I have had no problems since switching pharmacies. This really is a terrible thing when it happens to you so please always be your best advocate and watch out after your own care and recovery in any way that you can... :)
  • Counts them twice using two different staff members then initials the bottle when finished.

    Christina :)
  • I recently went to a new pharmacy, where I noticed a huge machine, that holds meds and bottles, and fills them automatically, It runs like a mechanical assembly line, with the filled bottle coming out on like a conveyor belt. When I went back to my usual pharmacy, I noticed they too had a similar machine, that I had never seen before. Do they have these at most pharmacies? Or are these new? Do they double count the machine? I do still see the techs, or pharmacists, (not sure which) counting pills... would this be them double counting? Just a curious thought I guess.

    The last time I picked up my script for Kadian, my dose had been increased from 30mg twice a day, to 60mg twice a day. The pharmacy did not have any 60mg pills in stock. My script was for 60-60mg pills. They had to call my Dr. and get approval for 120-30mg pills. Also, they didn't have that many 30mg in stock, so they had to inform my Dr. that they could only give me what they had, which was 92, and that I would need to ask him for a refill early. (Hope that made sense, I think I confused myself just typing that!! lol!!)

    I was just thinking, counting 92 pills right there on the counter would be tough... would asking them to double count for me be sufficient?
  • Some pharmacies have machines, bigger, busier stores have more cells in them. When the scales went away we did start couting everything that came from the cell, even non-controls. Some drugs I know that come from the cell are always right, and I don't double count them, some I know are often one or two off, so I do count them. Honestly, when somebody gets 360 gabapentin and it comes out of the cell, there is no way in heck I am going to pour them all out and count them.

    All controls are double counted, even CII-IV. We've started having the pharmacist double count it, too, because we've had a lot of new techs (basically everyone but me), and we've had problems. We're busy, it gets stressfull, and our hours just got cut again - way to increase the wait times, corporate!

    Many pharmacies have a consultation window. I would suggest, in the interest of the people behind you in line, that if you do want to double ocunt your meds, to please say, "do you mind if we go to the Consultation window and double count my medication? It is very important to me that I get the full quantity." We count by fives, it's really not that bad, and we do it all the time, so we're pretty fast. I would suggest you not grab the counting tray and spatula and try to do it yourself with people watching. Some things are easier said than done. Just please be kind about - don't act like you KNOW it's going to be wrong becasue pharmacy personnel are retarded.

    I'm glad I got to this thread before the pharmacy-crap-talking started this time, lol.
  • I usually do not count my pills, but a year ago I was short pills at the end of the month so I decided to start counting. Last week I picked up prescription of 350 pills, counted it when I got home, and I was short 50 pills. I called the pharmacist that filled the prescription and explained that my prescription was short 50 pills. She was very rude, refused to even acknowledge the fact that I may actually be short pills, and she hung up telling me to have a nice day. I was going to call the store manager but within 10 minutes the pharmacist called me back and apologized stating that her stock was out of balance by 50 pills. I am still waiting for the pills as the pharmacy had to order to fill the 50. I have used this pharmacy on a regular basis for the last 3 years, I know all the employees except this one pharmacists was new. Should I report this incident to the pharmacy manager?
  • Hi Becky, how did you manage to get the rest of the missing pills, did you contact the pharmacy manager or corporate? I'm sorry this happened to you.

    I admit that I never counted my Norco. I get it in the same size bottle every month and it's filled to the top. I have a good relationship with the pharmacy and they know me and my circumstance well. I did divulge my problems so that they know why I take so many pain meds, and the staff is always nice and professional. It is not a big, busy chain pharmacy and I picked them for that reason. I think those huge, ultra busy pharmacies miss a personal touch. I do however recommend that everyone stay vigilant about any discrepancies and should take action if you are shorted at the pharmacy.
  • I just picked up my prescriptions and I was shorted 1 percocet. I had my husband second check. I called ( knowing they couldn't do anything now) but I just wanted someone there to be aware of the situation. I will count at the store from now on.
  • inconvience to have to check your pills but if you do not, once you leave there is usually nothing the pharmacy will do about it.

    Don't do it in your car in the parking lot, count your pills at the counter. I have started doing this and my new pharmacist is very understanding. He even gives me this little tray to count them in. It holds your bottle at the bottom and is angled so that as you count the pills they slide right down in the bottle.
  • that this could be a problem, after all you can't trust anyone.

    My meds are issued in blister packs so it is not an issue, sealed boxes.

    Is this an option?
    In some places they will blister them for you.
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