What to know about stocking up on medications

As precautionary quarantines become an essential part of combating coronavirus, it’s not uncommon to feel a desire to stock up on critical items for your home–like canned goods or toilet paper. For many, medications are another necessity–but there are some critical things to keep in mind as you take steps to make sure you have enough.

Always consult with your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about your medication or treatment regimen. The CDC suggests having enough to last up to three months. And pharmacists across the country are continuing to receive deliveries to help keep their shelves stocked.

Consider these points when planning ahead:

Do’s:

  • Ask your doctor about what you should know or what precautions you might need to take if there’s a gap in your ability to get your prescription refilled.
  • Refill your prescription as far ahead of the refill date as you can to avoid running out. Depending on your health plan, some drugs can be refilled seven days before your current supply is depleted; others have a shorter limit.
  • Follow the medication regimen prescribed by your doctor, unless you have specific guidance from your physician or pharmacist.
  • Use the oldest medication first — check to make sure it hasn’t expired — and store everything in clearly marked containers in a cool, dry location, and according to the instructions on the packaging.

Don’ts:

  • Don’t hoard medications. Obtaining too much of one medication might limit the supply for others, and put you in danger of reaching the expiration date before you have a chance to use it. Your doctor might also change your dosage in the future.
  • Don’t plan to purchase ahead of time without checking the costs. In many instances, medications will have to be purchased out-of-pocket if a refill is requested before your last fill has been used, even if you have a new prescription from your doctor.
  • Don’t ration your medication by skipping or dividing pills in an effort to extend your supply, unless you are directed to do so by your provider. This could lead to serious risks to your health.
  • Don’t panic. Talk to your healthcare provider, your insurer, and your pharmacist to determine the smartest way to ensure you have all the medications you need as we navigate the COVID-19 crisis together.

The bottom line is that stockpiling might do more harm than good to you and to others.

Remember, if you have questions or concerns, always consult your doctor. And Abarca is always here to help.

This blog was written by Suzette M. Vélez-Rivera, PharmD, BCACP, BCGP, Director of Clinical Services at Abarca.

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