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December 25, 2011 9:27 AM   Subscribe

[BirthControlFilter: Xmas Edition] On vacation. Left birth control pills at home. D'oh!

I was supposed to start my new pack tonight, and just realized that I stupidly didn't bring the pills with me. Tomorrow (well today, technically) is Christmas Day, so all the pharmacies will be closed. Even if they were open, I don't have a copy of my prescription. Questions:

1) I do have an official pharmacist's receipt from my last BCP purchase, showing my name, the kind of pill, and the number of units left on the prescription. Can I just walk into any pharmacy and fill the prescription from that? (My Dr's office won't be open again until January).

2) If I go to a drop-in clinic, can they write me a new BCP prescription on the spot? (I'm a Canadian, traveling in Canada.)

3) Given that the earliest I could take a pill would be about 36hrs after I was supposed to start my pack, do I need to use condoms for a week after? (I think I had read that missing pills during the 1st week was riskiest, is that right?)

4) If I can't get pills here and have to wait until I'm home, I'd be taking my first pill a week later than I was supposed to. What's the best thing to do in that case, if my priorites are 1: avoiding pregnancy (obviously) and 2: avoiding condoms (I hate them)?

Thanks for your replies, hope everyone's enjoying their holidays!
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you still have refills available at the first pharmacy, a second pharmacy can probably transfer the prescription and fill it for you. US health insurance won't pay for it if your last purchase was too recent, but at this point it's probably worth it to you to pay the full price.
posted by Ery at 9:34 AM on December 25, 2011

(Er, never mind that about US health insurance, obviously. I missed that line.)
posted by Ery at 9:35 AM on December 25, 2011

I would always be safe and even if you start a day late to use condoms. I have known many people on the pill get pregnant. Although only using condoms for 1 week might also not be enough. I had a friend who starting the pill for the first time had waited one week before sex and she ended up pregnant. I am probably just overly safe about this type of stuff, but I have yet to get pregnant.

Also read the instructions on your pills. I think if you miss one day in the first week it is not so bad as missing it in the 3rd week. The key is to get your prescription ASAP. I live in a bigger town/area and there are 24hr Walgreens that are open, but I am not sure if you have the same thing near your vacation. If you have to wait until tomorrow until you can get to a pharmacy then, just make sure you take 2 (per instructions on your pill) and you should be fine.
posted by Jaelma24 at 10:08 AM on December 25, 2011

If you got the prescription filled at a chain pharmacy, you may be able to go to a local branch of the chain and they will be able to find you/your prescriptions in their computer system and give you your next refill. I did this once with Walgreens (originally handed the paper script from the doctor over in California, and was able to get a refill in Maryland, no problem, many months later.) They were able to confirm this for me over the phone.
posted by needs more cowbell at 10:22 AM on December 25, 2011

If you can find a pharmacy that's open they should be able to transfer it for you. If you go to a chain pharmacy easiest thing would be to find another branch of that chain. Otherwise a walk-in clinic should be able to write you a prescription (it's not like it's a controlled substance which would be slightly more problematic).
posted by bleep at 10:23 AM on December 25, 2011

Pharmacist friend (in US, in large city) is telling me your best bet is to go the pharmacy, explain the situation and don't be surprised if it is no big deal and the pharmacist gives you the pills.
posted by geoff. at 10:25 AM on December 25, 2011

If I remember correctly from the last time I talked to my doctor (and I may not), different pills are different. Regardless of when you are able to get an emergency/replacement pack of pills, ask the pharmacist, nurse or PA what the rules for missing pills are for the specific dosage pill you take. When you have pills in your hands, you'll know precisely how many days you've skipped and the medical professional can tell you what your relative risk of pregnancy is.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:33 AM on December 25, 2011

The earliest pills are the worse to miss because they give your body a longer hormone-free interval and increase the chance of ovulation. To be totally safe you should follow the pill packet instructions about starting from scratch.
posted by yarly at 11:02 AM on December 25, 2011

You should be able to get refills at any pharmacy if you have a valid prescription with refills on it. Otherwise, a walk-in will give them to you (in the US without an exam, but not sure about Canada).

Check your pamphlet/ask to be sure, but as far as I know if you are more than 48 hours late you need to use backup birth control (condoms) until 7 active pills have been taken, and you will need to double up on at least the first pill (1 pill for the 24 hours you missed, 1 for that day if you do it within 36 hours... 3 pills (2 for the days you missed, 1 for that day, etc). If you miss more than 2 pills I think it's it's still 7 days of active pills before you can stop using backup birth control, but you may experience breakthrough bleeding or an irregular period that month.

[And yes, it is actually riskiest to miss pills during the 1st week if you are on the type of pills where you get no hormones for 7 days. But if you are on the type of pills where the hormone dosage is lowered during those days, probably not as bad. I've zero experience with pills that are not monophasic, so you'll want to ask someone with expertise.]
posted by sm1tten at 11:44 AM on December 25, 2011

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