Without realizing it, an ongoing prescription of mine expired last month so when I went online to refill it from the pharmacy up popped the message that I (or they) needed to request a refill from my physician. I don’t pay attention to expiration dates on pill bottles, unless it’s a bottle containing old pain medicine that got tossed into an empty spot in the drawer and forgotten about.
I personally haven’t had any heavy duty pain meds around here in years so there’s another reason that any worry of pills expiring isn’t at the top of my ‘really should think about this’ list. I have one prescription and that is one that my doctor and I keep discussing the need for every year when I see him. When I was carrying around some extra pounds and working, and being more stressed and unhealthy than I realized, the medication was necessary. Now it likely isn’t and so we seem to always have this pleasant back-and-forth about continuing to refill this prescription or just put it aside and see what happens.
For the last year we have been on an agreed routine of 1/2 dosage. I like it, he likes the numbers he sees and so I just watch the little ‘refills left’ and ‘quantity’ numbers decrease slowly and think little else about it.
Anyway, I emailed a request for a refill at almost the exact moment that an email arrived in my inbox reminding me that it was time for my yearly re-check. The MA was nice enough to approve the refill as technically I still had 30 tablets left – two whole months worth of pills that would now allow me to take my time scheduling the recall appointment, because, well – I just can’t see rushing to put myself onto my doctors busy schedule when I suspect this appointment will be like all the others…more pleasant conversation, an assurance that they got the results of my overdue mammogram, the mumbled comments on his part as he types notes into the EHR, and finally our annual ‘goodbye until next year hug’ as he hands me the printed refill, good for another year.
Now, you may be asking yourself what the purpose of this post really is.
I mean, while it seems obvious that everyone is likely happy that my health is fairly good (putting aside the arthritis running rampant throughout my body), and while I can guess that many of you can relate to that point in life when ongoing medicines become routine, I grant you that my prescription refill doesn’t really warrant a blog post.
However…my pharmacy has changed hands in recent months. The pills that used to show up in my prescription bottle were thin tablets, easily broken in half, which fit my dosage needs very well. When I arrived at the pharmacy I was warned by the technician that they had used a different manufacturer this time around so I shouldn’t be alarmed that the pills would look different.
They look different alright. Nearly half the size of the old ones. Fatter and thicker. They also have a thin layer of that enteric coating. In other words, these suckers are impossible to break. They are also impossible to cut without turning the pill into a pile of rubble. They aren’t at all useful for someone who accomplishes their ‘half-dosage’ by breaking their pill in half. Another clear reality came when I realized that once before I had been given this same brand. My decision at that time was to bite those rocks in half. I chipped my top front tooth doing that. I won’t be doing that this time around.
I will be scheduling my re-check appointment. I will be discussing with my doctor the continued need for this medication at full dosage, half dosage, or perhaps not at all. If it is still needed, I assume some conversations with my pharmacist will be happening as well. I want my old brand back. Until then…medical professionals reading this – stop now – I don’t need any lectures on just how wrong what I am about to say is…
I am taking a full pill every other day…because that’s how, for the time being, I am justifying my routine half dosage.