Nearly half of Americans have at least one prescription maintenance medication — and 1 in 4 Americans take three or more. Setting aside an emergency supply can be challenging as safety guidelines limit how much prescription medicine a patient can receive at a time. Fortunately, many health plans are temporarily relaxing these guidelines in light of COVID-19 and allowing early refills of maintenance medications. Be sure to visit your health plan’s website to check for updates that could affect you.
“Certain prescription drugs are called maintenance medications because they help patients to maintain treatment for chronic, long-term conditions like high blood pressure,” explains Kate Tepedino, PharmD, manager of pharmacy benefits at Sharp Health Plan. For those who take maintenance medications, Tepedino recommends the following:
- Continue to take all current medications, unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
- Check with your health plan if they are easing prescription refill guidelines. Some health plans are allowing maintenance medications, with the exception of controlled substances, to be refilled early. Visit your health plan’s website to see what refill options are available.
- Contact your pharmacy if you need a prescription refill. If you are out of refills, you can ask your pharmacy to contact your doctor for you.
- Ask your pharmacy if delivery is an option. Many pharmacies are waiving delivery fees at this time.
Tepedino adds, “Opioids, other controlled substances and some medications are not able to be refilled early.”
In these cases, a new prescription from your doctor is required to provide an emergency supply of a controlled substance.
Learn what Sharp HealthCare is doing in response to COVID-19.