An Auto-Refill Check-In

Automation has made our lives easier in many ways. Automation allows products to be manufactured, payroll to be deposited directly into a selected account, and sensors to turn lights on when arriving home at night.  Automation also helps with medication adherence with automated refills. You do not have to call in a refill any longer if you sign up for the auto-refill option for your medication. This can truly be helpful and a great reminder when you receive a call that your medication is ready.

What happens when a medication is stopped? Does the doctor only tell the patient to stop the medication? Is the pharmacy being called to stop the medication or is a discontinuation prescription being sent to the pharmacy? Have you only received the medication from one pharmacy, or do you go to multiple pharmacies, and have they all been updated? When the pharmacy receives the information is there a follow-up with the medical office that the medication has indeed been stopped? There are many steps that are necessary to complete the cycle. 

Now, what if the patient was told to stop a prescription, but it was already sitting in the bin to be picked up? Or only the patient was instructed to stop the medication, but the pharmacy was never informed? The patient arrives at the pharmacy and picks up their bag of multiple medications that were automatically refilled. In the bag is the medication that was previously stopped. A few scenarios could happen next. 

  • The patient forgot that the medication was stopped and started to take it again. 
  • The patient thinks that the medication has been restarted by the doctor, that is why it was filled. 
  • The patient calls and checks with the doctor’s office and the pharmacy is made aware that the patient is no longer taking the medication.

This is a cautionary tale that has occurred, with any of the three scenarios playing out. What should you do if you are deprescribed a medication? 

  • Be certain to write down that the medication has been stopped, with the date. 
  • Update your medication list accordingly.
  • Talk to your pharmacist and let them know you are no longer taking a certain medication.
  • Ask the pharmacist to remove the medication from auto-refill to avoid any confusion.

The health systems that help has its imperfections and still needs the personal team approach to keep it in check. Be a part of your health care team to ensure that the system remains helpful and healthful!  Keep reading my blog weekly to learn more about deprescribing and staying wise and well by optimizing your medications.