Why You Need Extra Arthritis Medication for Emergency Preparedness

Don't Be Caught Short

Multiple prescription pill bottles.
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It is our inclination to buy just what we need when it comes to prescription drugs for arthritis. Some people wait until the day they are going to run out of pills before they get a refill. One could argue that you shouldn't buy more than you need because it's wasteful if you change medications and get stuck with unusable pills. But, there is another side to that argument. Emergency preparedness dictates that you get ahead on your prescriptions so that you could last for days, possibly weeks, if affected by an earthquake, hurricane, wildfire, or any natural disaster. Here are some tips for getting ahead on prescriptions and creating a small stockpile that you will be glad you have in case of an emergency.

Order a 3-month supply rather than 1-month supply of each medication you take. Most doctors will ask if you want a prescription written for 1 or 3 months -- and most insurance companies cover either. As a bonus, you may get a price break by ordering the higher quantity.

Have your doctor write prescriptions for the largest, reasonable quantity. For example, if you take one of your medications 2 or 3 times a day depending on your pain level, have the doctor write it for the maximum dose. You can still take just two, but you will be able to save extra pills for your emergency stockpile.

Refill prescriptions as soon as they are due. Don't wait. Most prescriptions allow you to refill a bit early. Check your insurance for specifics, but always take advantage of refilling as soon as possible.

Never let a prescription expire. You are wasting precious time if you let prescriptions expire. You or your pharmacist will have to contact your doctor for permission to refill if it expires. This can take a couple of days at least.

Consider filling your prescriptions at a local pharmacy. Mail order pharmacies are convenient and sometimes a little cheaper, but they take extra time. You can't get drugs immediately, if needed, without extra cost to expedite shipment. You're stuck waiting for the mail to come. If you are in a rush to get your medications, mail order actually becomes inconvenient. Even if you choose to use mail order on a regular basis, try to have a prescription on hold at a local pharmacy in case you needed a refill quickly.

Always ask your doctor for samples of the drugs you take. Doctors often have samples available which they get from pharmaceutical salesmen, especially for brand name drugs. If you can get free samples, that will help build up your emergency stockpile.

The Bottom Line

Essentially, you want to have enough pills in reserve in case of an emergency -- especially the ones you couldn't do without, such as pain medications. How do you know you have enough in reserve? Ask yourself if you would have enough medications to last one week. That's the least amount that you need on hand. More is even better.

Earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, and terrorism have taught us the importance of emergency preparedness. People who take arthritis medications, as well as other medications, should always have enough on hand to be able to withstand an emergency situation. You will never regret being prepared for any emergency which may develop.

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