Monday, November 8, 2010

Running Out

Saturday morning I woke up, and went to take Methotrexate, only to realize that I only had two pills left. I take six every Saturday.

I panicked. I looked at the two pills and contemplated what to do next.

Not take any at all?

Just take a third of my normal dose?

As I started to think clearly, I realized that the CVS that my prescriptions are at is only a few blocks away. So I threw some clothes on and headed out. Luckily they were able to fill my prescription then and there, so
I waited eagerly to get my meds.

I honestly have no idea how this happened, and this has never happened to me before. I don’t think I have ever come up on short on pills at the moment that I needed to take them.

I know I have to let myself off the hook for this. We all make mistakes. And in this case, it was easily rectified.

But where is my head? I knew that I needed to refill my prescriptions sometime during this week, but didn’t realize that I would run out of something, especially Methotrexate, before I planned to refill them.

Has this ever happened to you?

Has it happened when you didn’t have easy access to your home pharmacy?

What did you do?

How important is it to take every dose exactly as prescribed?

There must be room for error, because patients, and even doctors, are only human. We can’t do everything right 100% of the time. It would be nice, but that’s not realistic.

So how do we become the masters of our health domains, considering that we can’t be perfect patients 100% of the time?


  1. I've come close to doing this at various times, and it's one of the reasons that I always use one of the national pharmacies for my main prescriptions. You just never know where you might be when something happens and you run out or your purse is stolen, whatever. Glad it worked out for you!

  2. I've done this a few times with methotrexate - probably more than a few over the 16 years I've been taking it (16 years - seeing that written down is kind of terrifying!). I think being a bit late or a bit off once in a while is okay, as long as it's not a frequent occurrence. My rheumatologist told me it's more important to be on time with the daily meds than it is with the weeklies, although I try to be accurate with both as much as I possibly can.

  3. Various versions of this scenario have played out for me. Sometimes it's been because I spent several years traveling to and from my mother's house (she increasingly needed help) and had to stockpile medication. Other times, it's been the health insurance provider limiting the number of pills and when I can refill the prescription. Some of my medications I don't take on a regular basis, so often the prescription has run out just before I go to order them. Another scenario happens with the drugs I order through the mail: it just depends on how long it takes for the order to go through and the package to mail.
    I'm glad you were able to get the pills you needed. I know what it's like to run out (or almost run out) and the panic it engenders!

  4. I've had various versions of that scenario, and know the panic that it engenders! I spent much of the last five years travelling back and forth to my mother's to give her a hand as her mental and physical health worsened, so I often had to either stockpile medication or take a lower dose to make it last. Other times, it's been restrictions placed on the medication by the health insurance provider: only so many pills during a specific period of time: even if my condition warrents and my doctor wants me to take more. And, since some of my meds I take only occasionally, my prescription might run out just about the time I need to refill (say every few months rather than monthly).
    I'm glad you were able to get the pills you needed. I use post-it-notes as visual reminders for meds, etc. Of course, I have to remember to read them. LOL

  5. So much depends on the medication. With my daily thyroid Rx it's very important that I take it at the same time daily, so I keep a close eye to make sure that I refill my prescriptions on time. My pharmacy lets me put some of my prescriptions on auto-refill. If the prescription ends my pharmacy will contact my doctor for a fax refill, so even if I do run short it's only a day or two before a refill.

    If I'm not sure whether I can miss a day or two safely I'll check with the pharmacy or my doctor (if it's not a weekend- my pharmacy has a lot more hours than my docs do). If it's moe than a day or two then I'd ask for a hold over, and my pharm. has helped out with that before (I had to travel and couldn't get the prescription refill approved before I had to leave the country).

    I have to say, it's terribly stressful managing prescriptions though. I'm on a tight schedule with my meds and managing interactions is an issue for me- anything that throws off my schedule can cascade into serious problems if it goes on too long. One thing I do now is always keep at least 1-2 days' worth of prescriptions on reserve so I always have a buffer. This is tougher for weekly prescriptions however.

  6. It's not a problem if you have a lesser or no weekly dose of MTX once in a while. For example, I have been told to forgo the weekly shot (I take 15 mg as injection once a week) if I have an bad case of infection like bronchitis or viral flu etc.
    Basically, the level of MTX in your body will not decrease drastically if you don't get the regular dose once in a while.
    BTW I just discovered your blog and thanks!