Two weeks ago I went in to get my medications filled for my chronic pain and fibromyalgia. I’ve been getting the same medications filled, at varying levels and strengths, for almost 20 years now. Two months ago, the same pharmacy and pharmacist, got involved at the level of an acting DEA agent with me and my doctor. It was explained in no uncertain terms that I would no longer be able to fill my pain medications at this pharmacy unless I lowered my dosage. As my doctor and I were already planning to lower one of my medications (for the second time in ten months), I did comply with this; the very next month. I also had a couple long and hostile conversations initiated by the pharmacist during this time, two of them bringing me to tears. It’s noteworthy for my readers to understand that I’ve been working with this pharmacist for six years and this pharmacy for almost the whole 20 years. The month that I lowered the one medication my doctor raised my other medication to two extra pills a day. My doctor even went so far as to speak with my pharmacist and send in a written plan about the two pills a day. When I phoned my doctor the following month for a refill on that medication I requested of the staff, three times, to lower the dosage back to four pills a day; upon arrival at the pharmacy I discovered that my doctor had given me six pills a day again. I explained to my pharmacist that I had only asked for four, after he loudly and rudely let the entire counter know that if I did not go back down to four next month he would not fill my medications ever again. Embarrassed I explained that I had only asked for four a day that month. His response was that I needed to prove it and that he would not refill my medication until six weeks from now so that I could approve it. He did not consult with my doctor prior to doing this. He did not acknowledge that I was continuing to be compliant with his rules. Peers, despite pharmacist acting as DEA agents and as doctors, it is illegal for them to change someone’s prescription without first consulting with that person‘s doctor. So as you may surmise I will be talking to my doctor in the next few weeks and looking for a new pharmacy .
I know this is not only my experience during the opioid epidemic or crisis, what I don’t know is exactly how I’m supposed to respond anymore. Anyone out there have a suggestion?
Lucinda Tart, Pain Peer Advocate