Can You Fill Different Prescriptions For Norco?

The pharmacist discusses whether or not you can legally fill two different prescriptions for the same medication.


I am prescribed Norco currently, however I was given an additional prescription for Norco due to injury. Will I be permitted to refill it in the state of Illinois?

Asked by Laura On Jul 13, 2018

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Jul 16, 2018

In most cases, you cannot fill two different prescriptions for the same medication, especially when it involves controlled substances like Norco (hydrocodone/acetaminophen). Not only will this be an issue for the pharmacist, your insurance company will likely deny the new prescription as a "refill too soon" or "therapeutic duplication". Although there are situations where your insurance may cover both, it is unlikely.

Perhaps most importantly, I would venture a guess that the same doctor did not write both prescriptions. If that is the case, trying to fill the same prescription from two different doctors is a huge red flag for both your doctors and the pharmacy, regardless of your intent.

Your best option is to speak with your primary care/pain doctor to let them know of what was prescribed to you. If they want you to have both,  they could have one prescription for Norco cover both sets of directions written for you. Let's say for example, this is how your two prescriptions are written:

  • Prescription 1: Norco - Take one tablet by mouth every 8 to 12 hours for pain.
  • Prescription 2: Norco - Take one tablet by mouth every 4 to 6 hours for pain.

Since those directions overlap, it would be unlikely they would both be filled. Your best options would be to have your doctor "combine' both sets of directions, sometime along the lines of:

  • Take one tablet every 8 to 12 hours. May take an additional tablet for severe pain.

Lastly, as a general rule of thumb, medical practitioners are often advised against prescribing two immediate release (i.e. fast acting) opioid medications. More commonly, if more than one is required, an extended release formulation is prescribed for around the clock use while an immediate release formulation is prescribed on as "as needed" basis, for breakthrough pain.

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger Pharm.D

Dr. Brian Staiger is a licensed pharmacist in New York State and the founder of He graduated from the University At Buffalo with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2010. He has been featured in numerous publications including the Huffington Post as well as a variety of health and pharmacy-related blogs. Please feel free to reach out to him directly if you have any inquiries or want to connect! He's answered thousands of medication and pharmacy-related questions and he's ready to answer yours! Office: 716-389-3076

About Hydrocodone

Hydrocodone is an oral semisynthetic opioid agonist and is most commonly prescribed in combination with acetaminophen, although it is available as a single ingredient in products such as Zohydro ER. Hydrocodone works by acting as a mu-receptor opioid agonist, which causes changes in the perception of pain in the central nervous system. Hydrocodone may be taken with or without food, and has an onset of action within 10-30 minutes after taking a dose by mouth. The duration of action is around 4 to 8 hours,

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