Medications on Back-Order? These Are 5 Ways to Get Them
Last updated: February 2023
You may have read about diabetes medicines being all the rage in Hollywood. Celebrities have been rumored to use certain drugs not to treat diabetes but for weight loss. That means for those living with diabetes there have been more back-orders and delays in getting diabetes medicines to people who rely on them.
To add to the impact, supply chain and manufacturing issues have also made diabetes medicines and equipment like the new Libre 3 continuous glucose monitor hard to get. So, what do you do if your pharmacy cannot get your diabetes medicine or supplies for you? How do you avoid a medicine shortage in your medicine cabinet? Here are a few options.
1. Check other pharmacies for diabetes medicines
Companies that supply diabetes medicine and equipment to pharmacies may favor some pharmacy chains over others. That means some pharmacies in your area can refill their medicines and supplies faster than others. Even within the same pharmacy chain, there can be a difference in supply from store to store. Ask your pharmacy if other stores in the area have the medicine you need. If your usual pharmacy doesn't, you can call other pharmacy companies in your area to see if they have a supply.
2. Ask your pharmacist for a similar medicine
Medications are grouped by class. Each class of medications works in the body in a similar way, with usually small differences in the side effects and/or blood sugar impact. So, while you may not be able to get the exact medicine you were prescribed, it may be possible to get a medicine in the same class.
Ask the pharmacy if they have any alternatives in stock. If they do, they may even contact your doctor's office for you to change the prescription to the alternative. One thing to watch out for is that the alternative is covered under your insurance.
3. Ask your doctor about new dosing options
You may find you have a harder time getting a certain dose of your medication. For example, maybe you can get the 2.5 mg weekly dose of your medicine but cannot get the 5 mg weekly dose. If so, ask your pharmacy if they'd fill the prescription using the smaller dosing. Doing so means you'll have to change how many injections or pills you take at your usual time, so talk to your doctor to ensure you understand what you need to do for dosing before leaving the pharmacy.
4. Try a combination diabetes medicine
If you're on multiple diabetes medicines and have trouble filling one, ask your doctor or pharmacist about combination options. Combination medications are 2 diabetes medicines in 1 pill or 1 injection. In this crazy world of delays and back-orders, I've had good luck in making this switch for my clients with diabetes. Not only did it decrease their cost and their diabetes medicine burden, but it was also easier for them to consistently get their medication.
5. Make a backup medicine plan
Make sure to contact your doctor if you can't get your prescriptions filled. Too often, I encounter folks who aren't able to get their medications filled and wait until they see their doctor again to figure it out. That means they're unnecessarily struggling with high blood sugars for a long period of time.
It can be really frustrating to deal with back-orders and shortages. But, working with your doctor to come up with a backup plan for keeping blood sugars in a healthy range is essential to reduce the risk of diabetes complications.
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