Help! I’ve Run out of My Prescription Medication

Step-by-step emergency tips for refilling prescriptions in a pinch

It can take you off guard if you run out of your prescription medication. You might panic if you are unable to get your regular prescription because you have lost your medication, run out when out of town, or run out when your doctor is on vacation or unavailable. What can you do?

It’s always best to be prepared and to take plenty of time to manage your medications and get your refills before you run out in a pinch. However, sometimes emergencies occur.

There are times when you can forget to refill a vital prescription before the weekend—or worse—during the chaos of packing for a vacation where you must turn to a foreign drug store, such as a Canadian pharmacy or a Mexican pharmacy, to refill important medications.

It’s very important to try to order enough prescription refills before you find yourself in an emergency situation without any necessary drugs.

However, don’t panic, it can make the situation worse (especially if you have a condition that is triggered by stress) and there are ways to remedy the situation and get you the medication you need quickly in the following emergency patient situations:

You’ve run out of prescription refills…

Step 1: Get a prescription from your regular doctor in advance of when it is about to run out—a few months in advance is recommended.

Step 2: Set up an account so that you can fill prescriptions online and quickly have them shipped to you via discount Canadian pharmacy.

Step 3: Get to know your pharmacist by using the same drug store for all prescriptions—if you are a reputable customer, your pharmacy might be able to help you by giving you a sample or by contacting an emergency clinic to get you the drugs you need until you can contact your regular doctor.


  • Never take a prescription meant for anyone but you
  • Always take your prescription drugs as prescribed—skipping doses to save money or stretch meds over a weekend is dangerous

You’ve run out of prescription medication on a weekend…

Step 1: Call your pharmacy immediately and explain your emergency.

Step 2: Talk to the pharmacist—you may have refills left that you’re not aware of.

Step 3: If not, tell the pharmacist what prescriptions you are prescribed taking and the name of your primary doctor.

Step 4: Ask the pharmacist for an emergency sample to hold you over until your regular doctor is available on Monday morning.

You’ve run out of your medication during an out of country vacation…

Step 1: If you are traveling, especially to another country, keep a full medical record with you that includes the following information:

  • Name and contact info—including your address and home phone number
  • Your blood type
  • A list of your immunizations
  • Your doctor’s name and emergency office number
  • Your insurance provider’s information—including location, contact and policy number
  • Make a list of any health conditions, allergies and an emergency contact
  • List all prescription medications by name, strength, dosage and number of refills
  • Contact info for your pharmacy

Step 2: If you are traveling to Mexico or Canada, your prescription can be replaced with relative ease as these countries regulate pharmacies by similar standards and laws as the U.S.

Step 3: Before taking any prescription from a foreign pharmacy, check the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Agencies (NAPRA) database for listings of a full-licensed pharmacy in your immediate area.

Bio: Bernice Spradlin is an avid hiker and runner. She works at a gym in Brooklyn, New York, where she gets great inspiration for her freelance health-related articles and blogs.

In her off time, you can often find Bernice jogging the East River path along the waterfront and enjoying the cool breeze. Bernice is currently looking for freelance writing work, and can be contacted at [email protected]

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8 thoughts on “Help! I’ve Run out of My Prescription Medication”

  1. Having your doctors telephone number is essential. You can usually go into a pharmacy (even those in big box stores) and call or have them call your doctor and get a prescription or enough pills to get you back home. I have done this twice.

  2. Now I am not saying that I have ever done this or even condone this – perhaps I have heard of people that do this but if you tell your doc you would like a three month supply they will write it up that way and then (if you can afford it of course) you can go get your three month supply. Then, in two weeks if you call up your doc and say you went out of town for the weekend and lost your meds, they will re-fill the three month supply for you. Then you have three months worth of meds.

  3. Ran out of one of my main medications I take for epilepsy (Depakote ER) over the weekend. Will miss hopefully just one dose, but see about being able to get a few days at the pharmacy where I work before I get ahold of my doctor on Monday because this one prescription is delivered from a pharmacy that pays for this expensive brand name drug I can’t afford. Assume I’ll probably have to pay for the few days I get it for from the other pharmacy.

  4. i run out of medication on EVERY refill. Ive been without insulin now for 5 days. I have called my pharmacy (wlagreens) 34 times now. think we have it worked out and then have to start over. this has been going on now for years. everyone says that shouldnt happen, yet i am out of at least one medication at least once a week.


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