Prescription Peace of Mind
November 13, 2020

There are occasions when your prescription runs out of refills before you can see your doctor. On those occasions, your Otter Co-op pharmacist may be able to help.


How can my pharmacist help when the refills of my prescription run out?

In many cases, pharmacists are able to renew or extend your prescription. This can be helpful when you no longer have refills remaining and need to avoid interrupting your treatment.


What do I need to know?

Your pharmacist will assess your situation individually. They will ensure your medication is for a chronic condition, that you're stable on the medication and that it's working the way it should.

However, there are limitations to how long the prescription can be renewed for, as well as situations where the pharmacists may not be able to extend it. A pharmacist will assess the situation for what is in the best interest for your health. Sometimes, while the prescription could be legally renewed, a pharmacist will choose to send the patient to their physician. Additionally, Health Canada does not allow pharmacists to renew or extend prescriptions for narcotic or controlled medications.


Do I still need to visit my doctor?

While a pharmacist may be able to extend your prescription in the short term, pharmacist-authorized renewals are not intended to replace regular visits with your primary care provider. It is important to continue to see your doctor for follow up on your care. Pharmacists are required to inform your doctor of any extensions. A pharmacist who refills or extends a prescription must promptly notify the original prescriber who issued the prescription.


Pharmacists are medication experts

Your pharmacist has taken additional training to ensure patient safety when prescribing, which is now a requirement to be licensed as a pharmacist.

Every province has different regulations that guide your pharmacist's ability to renew your prescription. Speak to your Otter Co-op pharmacist to determine if your prescription can be renewed or extended. When a person has been stabilized on a medication, a pharmacist may be able to renew the prescription when a doctor is not available. Pharmacists may also be able to renew a prescription in an emergency situation or when someone is away from home and forgets to bring their medications.


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