How to Get an Emergency Prescription Refill

By Craig Sorkin, DNP, APN
Medically reviewed checkmarkMedically reviewed
November 11, 2022

Key Takeaways

  • If you need an emergency prescription, you can call your doctor or pharmacy to authorize a refill.

  • Online doctors and urgent care clinics can help in a pinch or if you need a refill outside of business hours.

  • Certain programs can help you get free medication in case of a natural disaster.

If you need an emergency prescription refill, don’t panic—there are plenty of ways to get your medication. Usually, your primary care provider can help, and they should be able to send your prescription to the pharmacy of your choice. 

In this article, we’ll talk about how to get an emergency refill, which medications are eligible for refills, and how to get an emergency prescription. We’ll also discuss creating an emergency preparedness plan.

How to Get an Emergency Prescription Refill

There are a variety of reasons why you might need an emergency refill. You could’ve lost your medication, had a sudden family emergency, needed to travel suddenly, or forgotten your prescription on vacation. Regardless, your primary care provider and local pharmacy should be able to help

Contact your doctor

First, contact your primary care provider. They may be able to authorize an emergency refill over the phone, but in some cases, they may ask you to make an appointment. 

Go to a nearby pharmacy

Once your healthcare provider has authorized your refill, they will send it to the pharmacy of your choice. This may be your usual local pharmacy, but if you’ve needed to travel for any reason, they can send it to a pharmacy that’s convenient for you. You should be able to transfer your prescription to another in-network pharmacy, but you might need to contact your insurance provider to ensure that your medication is covered.

Before picking up your prescription, it’s a good idea to call the pharmacy and check that they’ve received the order and ask when you can pick it up. This is particularly important if you’re using a different pharmacy than usual.

If, for any reason, you need to use an out-of-network pharmacy, get in touch with your insurance provider to ask about their policies. You’ll likely need to pay full price for your medication, and this can mean it’s a lot more expensive than you’re used to. Your insurance provider may be able to reimburse you for this, so save your receipts and use them to submit a claim. Some pharmacies also have manufacturer coupons they can use to lower the price of your drugs. 

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Go to an urgent care clinic

If you can’t get in touch with your primary care provider, you can try visiting an urgent care clinic. Most primary care doctor’s offices have standard 9-5, Monday-Friday business hours, but many urgent care clinics have extended hours. This can be helpful if you need an emergency refill in the evening or over the weekend. Bring along your last prescription and insurance details, and be prepared to discuss your medical history. 

If you can’t go to an urgent care clinic, you can try an online platform. Online doctors can usually prescribe most medications over the phone or computer.

Medications Eligible for Emergency Supply

Not all medications are eligible for emergency refills. These laws vary from state to state, so you’ll need to check which medications are available in your location. You can check your state’s laws on the CDC website

For example, South Carolina allows emergency refills of Schedule II drugs. A pharmacist can dispense the medication if they receive verbal confirmation from your provider, but they may only be able to give you a limited amount. However, in other states, emergency refills of Schedule II drugs are not permitted. 

Some common examples of Schedule II drugs include:

  • Adderall
  • Ritalin
  • Dexedrine
  • OxyContin
  • Vicodin

Getting an Emergency Prescription During or After a Natural Disaster

If you are affected by a natural disaster, you can access your medications through the Emergency Prescription Assistance Program (EPAP). This program is specifically designed for people without health insurance, and it provides free 30-day supplies of prescription medications. 

Contact your pharmacy

First, contact your local pharmacy. If you need to evacuate, they can send your prescription to a different pharmacy.

Get a prescription refill online

Talk to a doctor with K Health and get your prescription refilled.

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Transfer your prescriptions to a new pharmacy

Once your prescription orders have been successfully transferred, call the new pharmacy to make sure they’ve received them. They can let you know when they’ll be ready to pick up. You may also need to call your insurance provider to make sure they’re covered.

Plan Ahead

It’s a good idea to have a preparedness kit packed in case of an emergency. You may want to include:

  • A minimum 7- to 10-day supply of all medications in labeled containers.
  • A list of all your prescription medications including names, dosages, instructions, generics, and allergies.
  • A supply of over-the-counter (OTC) medications, like pain relievers, antihistamines, and antidiarrheal medications.

Get an Emergency Prescription Refill Online

Now you can get an emergency prescription refill using K Health. All it takes are three easy steps:

  1. Answer a few simple questions.
  2. Meet your provider.
  3. Get the medication you need.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to get an emergency prescription?
Yes, you can get an emergency prescription. If you need an emergency refill, call your primary care provider to authorize the medication, then get in touch with a pharmacy that’s convenient for you. Programs like EPAP offer free 30-day refills for people during natural disasters.
What to do if you run out of your prescription?
If you run out of your medication, call your pharmacy right away and ask them if they can fill it for you as soon as possible. You may need to contact your primary care provider to approve a refill.
How do you refill a prescription that has no refills?
If you run out of refills on your prescription, you’ll need to call your doctor’s office or pharmacy to approve the medication.
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

Craig Sorkin, DNP, APN

Craig Sorkin, DNP, APN is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner with over 15 years experience. He received his Undergraduate and Graduate degrees from William Paterson University and his doctoral degree from Drexel University. He has spent his career working in the Emergency Room and Primary Care. The last 6 years of his career have been dedicated to the field of digital medicine. He has created departments geared towards this specialized practice as well as written blogs and a book about the topic.

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