Asking Your Pharmacy To Fill Your Controlled Substance Early

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses how to go about filling your controlled substance prescription (Oxycontin in this case) early.


I am prescribed OxyContin for chronic back pain. I get my medications filled every month at the exact same pharmacy (w/no issues.) This would be the very first time I am encountering an issue in regards to medication fill dates. My issue is this: I would need to fly out 4 days prior to when my 30 day supply refill date is due. Being that this is a schedule II medication, will the pharmacist make an exception this one time to fill my prescription a few days early so I am not without meds for (12) days? I have NEVER EVER requested to have ANY MEDICATIONS to be REFILLED EARLY!

Asked by Pinklipz69 On Jun 19, 2018

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Jun 19, 2018

PharmacistThere are a few different options for you and I can give you a general overview, but the exact details and best option will be different for you based on what state you live in (as pharmacy laws differ by state).


Option 1: Have Your Prescriber Authorize An Early Fill

  • Depending on your state, filling a controlled substance early can cause a "stop" based on the information stored in your states prescription monitoring system. The prescriber is required to review this database (depending on the state) before issuing a prescription order for a controlled substance. The prescriber may in most cases approve an earlier fill for a controlled substance if needed for a vacation supply, given you have not filled early in the past.
  • Your pharmacist must also be willing to accept the documentation from the prescriber and approve an early fill of the medication, even if it is flagging as early in a monitoring system. The pharmacist must use their professional judgement in filling controlled substances as they have a corresponding responsibility, and may communicate with the prescriber to ensure the script is legitimate and follows all laws and regulations.
  • You should talk with your doctor as well as your pharmacy ahead of time to verify what they are comfortable with as well as what they may require from you or each other to have the script filled early.

Option 2: Have Your Prescriber Write You A Prescription To Take With You

  • Your doctor must be comfortable issuing your a script to be filled out of the area.
  • Some pharmacies are hesitant to fill out of state prescription for controlled substances for patients they are not familiar with. 
  • Your insurance (most commonly if through a state sponsored agency) may not pay for medication out of state or out of network.
  • You should once again speak with your prescriber and the potential filing pharmacy to try and take care of any issues beforehand.

Additional Information

In terms of the actual law, most states specify how early you can fill a controlled substance prescription, like Oxycontin. For example, New York State allows the patient to have up to a 7 day supply on hand when refilling. In other words, you can fill your prescription up to 7 days early. This of course does not mean your pharmacy or doctor will authorize a fill that early. It is important to discuss the situation with your personal pharmacist and doctor to decide on the appropriate course of action.

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Adam DeRue Pharm.D

Dr. Adam DeRue is a Doctor Of Pharmacy and registered pharmacist. He graduated from the Albany College of Pharmacy in 2008.

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