August 9, 2023

Did you run out of refills on your medication? Has your prescription expired with no appointment to see your family physician? On those occasions, your pharmacist may be able to help.

Katherine Kennedy, Pharmacy Manager at Central Plains Co-op in Rosetown, Sask., gave us more information about the role your pharmacist can play in ensuring there are no gaps in your treatment.

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

Your pharmacist can assess your medication needs and may be able to renew or extend your prescription for a limited time to avoid interrupting your treatment.

"When a person has been stabilized on a medication, a pharmacist may be able to renew the prescription when a doctor is not available," explained Kennedy.

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.

Can my pharmacist prescribe any medication?

Your pharmacist will assess your situation individually to determine whether renewing or extending your prescription is appropriate. They will also review your medication profile to make sure the medication is working for you.

After the review, your pharmacist may extend or refill your prescription for the same or a shorter duration than your previous prescription. Your pharmacist's name will appear as the prescriber on your medication label.

Kennedy noted that there are limitations to how long the prescription can be renewed for, as well as situations and certain medications where the pharmacists cannot 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," explained Kennedy.

Do I still need to visit my doctor?

While a pharmacist may be able to extend your prescription in the short term, your pharmacist does not replace your physician.

"It is important to continue to see your doctor for follow up on your care," Kennedy said.

Pharmacists are required to inform your doctor of any extensions. A pharmacist who refills or extends a prescription must promptly notify the original prescriber.

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.

Your Co-op pharmacist is here for you! Speak to your Co-op pharmacist if you have any questions about prescription renewals.

Article courtesy of Federated Co-operatives Limited