What to do if You Run Out of Medication

Medications. Like it or not, sufferers of mental health problems usually need to take them to manage their conditions. Being compliant with your prescribed pills is the best path to stable moods. But what happens when you run out?  Here are a few tips to deal with just that.

1. Don’t Panic

If you have a mental health issue that’s triggered by stress, panicking is the worst thing you can do for yourself. Withdrawal symptoms can be harsh, but not as bad as triggering your illness. Breathe. Remind yourself that this is a temporary problem, which can be fixed. Which brings us to our next point…

pills.jpg

Credit to flickr.com user mattza. Used with permission under a Creative Commons license.

2. Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor immediately, and keep them apprised of the situation. If you can’t meet with them, find out if they will call in a prescription for you to a pharmacy. Any doctor at your regular office should have access to your files, and should be able to fill a prescription.

3. Use a Regular Pharmacy

If you can, visit the same pharmacy and get to know your pharmacist. Bring your empty prescription bottles with you to talk to the technicians, and they might be able to give you an emergency five- or seven-day supply, or direct you to an emergency clinic that can. You are unlikely to get one if you are sixteen or younger, as pharmacists are reluctant to give out medication to minors. Take an adult that you trust with you to help smooth things over.

4. What if I Can’t Afford Them?

If you can’t afford your medications, ask your doctor. He or she may have access to free samples of the pills you need, or be able to prescribe you a cheaper generic drug. If you’re an American citizen and you’re uninsured, find out if the pharmaceutical company that manufactures your drug has a patient-assistance program. You may qualify for these programs if your income is 100% of the poverty line, but it’s unlikely that you will if you receive Medicaid benefits. Ask your pharmacy if they have a discount program if you pay in cash. If you’re over fifty and have a membership with the AARP, you can receive discounts on pills.

There is no reason for you to go into medication withdrawal. Ideally, you’d be able to have your doctor prescribe some drugs months in advance, but if that’s not the case, contact your doctors and pharmacy to find out what they can do for you. They want to work with you.

Have you ever run out of meds?

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About Cassandra Stout

Freelance writer Cassandra Stout blogs at The Bipolar Parent, a comprehensive resource for parents with mental illnesses. She is currently working on Committed, her forthcoming memoir detailing her time spent in a mental hospital while separated from her husband and newborn. Cassandra holds degrees from the University of Arizona in Creative Writing and Journalism, and is a member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. She balances her literary work with raising her children, feeding her cat, and managing her bipolar disorder.
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7 Responses to What to do if You Run Out of Medication

  1. dyane says:

    You simply don’t have it in to you to write anything less but an excellent post. Are these all going into the book? Also ever since I finally found the medication that works for me I have been super crazy about never missing a single pill to the point where….well I don’t want to reveal what I do whwn I think I could miss a pill!

    • Aw, thank you, Dyane! I really appreciate your constant support. These posts won’t be going into the book, as Committed only spans the five days I spent in the mental hospital after Nolan’s birth. I’m flattered that you think these posts are good enough to be published in a hardcover, though! And I absolutely understand what not wanting to miss a pill is like!

      • dyane says:

        I didn’t think those types of posts would mesh with the main part of your book, but since they rock, I thought they would be in maybe a separate section, if that makes sense. Too bad Intl. Bipolar Foundation already has a book that addresses this kind of essential info.; your writing is so good it would have been perfect for that book…& such a benefit to people who contact them. If I think of another possibility, I’ll let you know! 😉

        • Thank you so much, Dyane! You are the sweetest. And that does make sense! Maybe I’ll consider cleaning them up and publishing them in a collection. Thank you for your lovely, supportive comments!

  2. dyane says:

    As you know know, I’m the Typos Queen! please forgive my sin!

  3. Yes, thankfully my dr was able to hook me up with samples until I could get on patient aassistance.

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