What To Do If You Lose A Prescription Paper? (Future Of E-Prescribing)

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If you lose a prescription paper, you can call the prescriber and set a short appointment with them to explain your situation and get a new one issued. If controlled substances are involved, you should first file a missing police report to avoid illegal usage—a test to account for the drugs present in your body. And a call to confirm with your pharmacy for the medications purchased might help reissue another prescription. An electronic prescription removes all possibilities of any such issues.

A paper prescription contains all the details of your doctor’s medications for your current health condition with the dosage and refills mentioned.

It’s quite an essential paper without which you won’t get your necessary medicines from a pharmacy. So, if you lose it, getting another prescription paper can be tricky but not impossible.

Let’s explore the possibilities of how and under which conditions you can get a new prescriptions paper for your lost one.

What are the requirements for it and things you need to do to obtain it! And what does the electronic prescription means moving forward!

When you lose a prescription paper

A paper prescription contains all the essential details about the medication you are prescribed to take. You might go to your nearest pharmacy to get the required prescription medications.

If you do end up losing a prescription, a request, or a reference that is given to you, then you’re left with two options:

  • You can call your doctor and get a short appointment mentioning your lost prescription. At this appointment, your doctor will give you a new prescription, most probably free of charge. This appointment will be kept very short only to discuss lost prescriptions and reassign a new one in its place.
  • Sometimes, if you cannot reach your appointment and wish to collect it from the reception, your doctor might charge you a small fee later.

However, this advice doesn’t apply to a prescription that involves controlled substances. Such a prescription paper is trickier to be reissued by your doctor.

Parts of a prescription paper

A prescription paper has several parts, so let’s break it down.

They include the superscription or heading with the symbol “R” or “Rx,” which stands for the word recipe in Latin, i.e., to take.

The inscription contains the names and quantities of the ingredients—the subscription or directions for compounding the prescription drug.

The signature is proceeded by the sign “s” standing for signa in Latin, i.e., mark giving the directions to be marked on the container.

Lost prescription for controlled substances

A pharmacist is on the phone helping a patient review their lost prescription medicine.

If you lose a prescription paper with controlled substances, it’s trickier to get another one quickly. Controlled substances are drugs considered to have the highest misuse and use disorder potential.

Because of this, there are stringent regulations and prescription requirements on a federal and state level.

To prescribe medication, a clinician must have a DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) license. To fill a prescription, a pharmacist must also have a controlled substance license.

Schedule 2 drugs are the highest level of misuse potential medications that a clinician might prescribe. At first, these drugs were issued on paper but thankfully are now prescribed via electronic prescribing of controlled substances.

A 2017 study shows that one of the top reasons for a pharmacist contacting the prescriber was prior authorization approvals and missing prescription information.

If you lost your prescription paper, then there are two ways your prescriber will handle this situation:

  • They may test you to see and make sure you have the drugs in your system they expect to see.
  • They’ll contact the pharmacy you get your prescription medications from and check up on your history of purchases. They can cross-check the times you’ve refill prescriptions from the pharmacy and on what date you purchased them.

Once approved, this cross-checking and testing will lead to your prescriber issuing another prescription paper.

So, when you’re prescribed such medications which involve controlled substances, you’re usually told to use one pharmacy. This way, it’s easier to keep track of your dosages and refill prescriptions and when your RXs were filled.

The national information banks keep track of controlled substances prescribed and filled. So, if you’re not truthful because you sold your prescription drug or used them for any other illegal purposes, there are multiple ways for practitioners to check up on you and find out the truth.

If your narcotics are stolen, then you need to file a complaint. Also, check to see at local pharmacies if someone tried to refill prescriptions on your identity. If you don’t report it, then you’ll be accused of illegal use of drugs.

Measures for lost or stolen prescription

If a prescription is lost or stolen, there are many illegal ways to use it, and that’s why there are several measures already built in to avoid any illicit such usage.

The prescription papers have solvent-sensitive ink, ultraviolet marking, colored backgrounds, and serial numbers.

Other measures include:

  • The doctors and staff should ensure maximum protection of all the stationery, including the prescription pads.
  • If any prescription pad is stolen or missing, then it should be immediately reported to the police. It also includes informing the local pharmacies to look out for anyone trying to refill prescriptions with the missing or stolen prescription pad.

There should be a record of all the stationary handy, including:

  1. All the stationary received is with serial numbers.
  2. To people whom the prescription pad has is issued with serial numbers.
  3. The serial numbers of any unused prescription forms.
  4. Details of any prescription pads destroyed.

Electronic prescriptions

A pharmacist is filing a patient prescription through his tablet.

Electronic prescriptions are when the prescriber writes medications to a person and sends them electronically (e-prescribing) to the participating pharmacy.

There’s no need for a handwritten or a faxed prescription when e-prescribing is a more convenient way to achieve the same result. 

It’s very convenient, and most physicians or medical practitioners are moving towards prescription online as there are almost no chances of prescriptions being lost or stolen.

It works fairly to keep track of the medications. E-prescribing can help achieve:

  • Creating and refilling prescriptions
  • Managing medications
  • Viewing patient history
  • Connecting to a pharmacy or other drug dispensing site
  • Integrating with an electronic medical record system


Can you refill a prescription without the RX number?

Before initiating refill prescriptions, you need to have an Rx number handy for the pharmacist to enter into their system. But they can also look it up in their systems.

Do chemists keep records of prescriptions?

Pharmacists must record all the medications bought to know who bought what and when if there is a police complaint of illegal purchase, misuse of the drug, or any other unlawful activity.

It’s also for them to be easily updated on prescriptions dispensed and supplied.

Can I get a 3 months prescription?

Federal law doesn’t put a time limit on refill prescriptions for non-controlled drugs.

Eight states don’t define a time limit either, including California, New York, and Massachusetts. But some states have the time limit set to one year from the date prescription is written.

Can controlled substances be electronically prescribed?

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) published an interim final rule in the Federal Register on March 31, 2010, which provides practitioners with the option of writing prescriptions for controlled substances electronically.

Does insurance have to cover prescriptions?

All the health insurance plans offered through the health insurance marketplace are required to cover your prescription medications. So, your insurance company should be covering it.

How do insurance companies decide what drugs to cover?

Health insurance companies publish a “formulary” list of the drugs’ generic and brand names that your insurance plan will cover. Prescription formularies are developed based on the efficacy, safety, and cost-effectiveness of the medications. 

To summarize

Losing a prescription slip is a thing to worry about. There are a couple of things you will have to do to get another one in its place. While it’s relatively easier to get another prescription if it doesn’t involve controlled substances, but it becomes more difficult if it does.

There are a lot of issues if you lose a prescription paper with controlled substances as prescribed medications.

You definitely need to file a police report to avoid any illegal usage of your prescription paper. As long as you haven’t done anything wrong, you should be able to get another prescription issued to you.

Preferably choose to get a prescription online from your physician. A prescription online reduces the chances of getting lost or stolen and being misused for any illegal purposes.

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Saumya Malik
I'm an ardent follower of everything good for the health and wellness of body and mind. I am passionate about providing effective solutions to general health and mental well-being issues and wants to help people achieve the same. When I'm not writing, you can find me curled up with a good book in a corner or cooking as a form of good mental therapy.

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