My Story: Labeled a Drug Seeker by a Pharmacist

My Story: Labeled a Drug Seeker by a Pharmacist

I had a very similar issue as Colleen Sullivan, who wrote about being humiliated by a pharmacist.

I am a patient who tells the pharmacist everything. I feel this triggers better care and more of a “human” response. It’s not something I can see everyone being comfortable with, but I am proud to discuss my illnesses with anyone to raise general awareness.

Tracy Crider

Tracy Crider

I have interstitial cystitis, which is a very painful bladder disease. It can be embarrassing to discuss, but I refuse to be shamed by anyone. I also have fibromyalgia, which many even debate if it’s a real condition. I also have temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), irritable bowel syndrome, and gastro paresis.

I had surgery one week before my run in with the pharmacy. I was at the pharmacy to fill other scripts and discussed this surgery with both the tech and pharmacist. Two days later as my pain level increased, I called the surgeon and requested pain medication. Then I waited and waited for the prescription to be filled.

I checked with the pharmacy and they said they had nothing for me. I called the doctor back and they said go to the emergency room. At the ER they wrote me a rescue script for 8 tablets of oxycodone.

We went home and the next afternoon my husband went to our pharmacy at the Weis market, and asked if my surgeon had called anything in for me. He was told no, so he gave them my script for the 8 tablets. They advised him the printer was down and to go to another pharmacy. He did and they filled it.

On Monday, I called the surgeon to request an appointment and to ask why they hadn’t called in the script when they had said they would. They told me that a prescription for 30 hydrocodone had been called in Friday but it was cancelled by the pharmacist after my husband had brought “a duplicate prescription.” They said if I was looking for double scripts I was in the wrong place.

After hearing this, we went to the pharmacy and the pharmacist got into a heated discussion with my husband. The tech had looked at the script, not the pharmacist. That started a whole host of issues for me because the tech didn’t know the difference between oxycodone and hydrocodone.

There was no duplicate prescription — but the pharmacist called my doctor to have the script for hydrocodone cancelled.

If I had been given my prescription on Friday, I wouldn’t have needed rescue pain management from the ER at all. If they had filled it or even checked the computer on Saturday, my husband would have picked it up instead. But because they couldn’t be bothered, all these things went wrong.

My husband called the Weis pharmacy corporate line. The head of the pharmacy department was appalled that this had happened. She made the pharmacist call back and fix the issue. He called my specialist and they reinstated the script and had it sent to my new pharmacy, as I refused to stay with the old one after all this drama.

But when I went to the new pharmacy to get omeprazole for acid reflux, I was told that because of everything that happened – how did they even know? – they were told by my specialist not to fill “ANYTHING” prescribed by them or my family doctor.

So I can’t have my gastroenterologist, rheumatologist, urologist, orthopedist, or my neurologist prescribe anything now. I am apparently marked as a drug abuser and being punished as such.

I’m completely lost. This is causing huge stress which is making me hurt worse.

Before you trust a pharmacist, check to make sure they know what they are doing and that they are not just following blindly the word of a tech who has no more training then a cashier. It can greatly impact your life!

12_7.jpgTracy Crider lives in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.

National Pain Report invites other readers to share their stories with us.

Send them to editor@nationalpainreport.com

The information in this column is not intended to be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Only your doctor can do that!  It is for informational purposes only and represent the author’s personal experiences and opinions alone. It does not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report or Microcast Media.

Authored by: Tracy Crider

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shannon cole

Just so were clear hydrocodone has Tylenol in it not asprin read up on your meds

Is anyone else sick of hollier than thou anti-opioid preaching? I almost died of stress induced cardiomyopathy thanks to my doctor’s last attempt at dose reduction.

I don’t have run of the mill chronic pain, I have deadly intractable pain, which (if untreated) will cause death because of IP’s effects on the cardiovascular and endocrine systems. During flares, my systolic BP exceeds 210 mmHg (not healthy.

My breakthrough medication is 120 mg/day oxymorphone
That’s equal to 240 mg/day oxycodone or ~360 mg/day hydrocodone or 72 hydrocodone 5 mg/day

I used to take 12 OxyIR 30 mg/day, plus 4 1.2mg Actiq/OTFC/fentanyl lozenges, that was in addition to Duragesic 300 mcg/hr and low dose methadone (15 mg 3x/day).

My Oncologist, Radiation Oncologist, Neurosurgeon, Neurologist, and PCP all agreed with my Pain Management doctor’s treatment plan.

I hate when doctors are called pill pushers for prescribing weak, low dose opioids, like hydrocodone/Norco/Vicodin.

Thanks to the DEA, the spineless medical profession, assholes selling pills, pharmacists not understanding their job description, idiots blaming pills for their mistakes, and uninformed idiot laypeople making judgements and false allegations, my meds were reduced by
Duragesic/fentanyl patches 33.3% reduction
Methadone 100% reduction
OxyIR (no change)
Actiq/OTFC 100% reduction

Thanks to that uninformed Opiophobia, I also can’t find a doctor able and willing to manage an intrathecal morphine pump for me, so (despite an extremely successful pump trial – 90% relief) I can’t get the pump that could give me my life back.

Cheryl Shelton

I’m greatly saddened by this story, quite frankly I have great concerns about “pain management” Dr’s. In the 70’s many folks were “pill seeking” I remember it well, and most Dr;s, Dentists etc had no clue about that much less how people were actually using meds. So here we are 30 +/- years later and pharmacists think it’s their jobs to monitor the population for pill seekers, Phooey! It’s the Dr’s responsibility, period! As for “pain management” I have one of those Doc’s, she’s a flipping pill pusher! I was sent to her by a primary care physician who didn’t want to prescribe Rx strength Aleve for me for fear of getting in trouble with I have no idea who. Now I see this nice but none the less ‘Pill Pushing lunatic’, in my unsolicited opinion. She prescribes me 60 hydrocodone every 3 months or so which I already have plenty left over because I do NOT need nor take narcotics at this time. Oh I’ve had some crazy illnesses this past year for which I have taken only a few of “those” pills for. She claims this med is safer for my already sensitive gut, HELLO?! It’s got aspirin in it which is not good for the gut either! I was a Chemical Dependency Counselor, I had to have life experience in the area and two years of Schooling and pass a state test to be that, Dr’s get 8 years of college and 8 hours of chemical Dependency courses. WTH??? I know more than they and they are prescribing me narcotics and telling me they are better for me? For Pete’s sake how could causing me a physical/mental addiction be better for me? this is all so crazy! Let me tell them how I feel and what I need and if it’s non-narcotic so be it. I know that my need for greater relief will come don’t rush it and cause me to be a patient whom you believe is a pill seeker.

Tracy Crider

Thank you guys for the responses. It means a lot to know I’m not alone although I would rather you not be treated this way either. I have since became a patient at a pain clinic myself. It’s not all great, but it is better. Thank you again!

trudy myers

Im sorry THIS HAPPENED TO YOU!! It happened to me by a pain clinic when I pissed off a nurse practioner.

hector p

????? are any of these practices that are being made against us who suffer from chronic pain for whatever ailments, do we have any recourse with a attorney? if this was done to someone on say insulin or cancer would the action be criminal if yes then it should be for the million of people who get treated like this thru no fault of there own. someone please someone has to defend us against our very own govt. i will not lay down and just die from pain i will fight to my dying breath all i need is people , attorney, ACLU activist, our congressmen, doctor, everyone in this mess created by both illegal / irresponsible Doctor how only thought was $$$$ now remember pharmaceutical company give kick back to doctors for use there med more than the others???!!!!, them-self,and then the One heavy handed slamming down DEA on all doctor and especially the patients who are in need of med the one who lives ARE RUINED by there condition then attacked by our own Govt with everyone in the medical field who put them. self ahead of there patients. What is happening in this country with THE DEA making legal drug a target and branding patients as users/ drug fiend plus thin spines medical org, who rather fold camp i don’t know what the answer is all i know is that CHRONIC PAIN TAKES AWAY YOUR DREAM, ISOLATES US, MAKE LIVING SO MUCH HARDER THAN IT,S ALREADY IS, and really really make not being alive at all a too often choice to the horror of the pain and the system in place. I know one thing people we are strong , powerful , together we have a voice we have a power to remove those who suppose to serve us , we have the power to stop anything in this country in it track.Our voice our action can will, must be the hammer in which we Strike a blow to any and all Govt service people!! simple if they don’t do what we want what best for our health , then it simple qet vote any and all out the truth always comes out but unless we get together , organize , get our political muscle together and force policy changes in our fed govt state govt city govt. Then nothing nothing will ever change. We have to remove people like this asshole Tom Corbett from PA and others in govt across America people if we don’t make a stand now but also show the Assholes who don’t give a crap of the millions they are making surfer needlessly because of there war on people like us i really believe that by the yr 2020 all pain med will be outlawed, and regardless of the horrible pain anyone is in they will not give us anything to ease our suffering and i fear many will die.

Janice Reynolds RN, BC, OCN, CHPN

Tracy, I am so sorry this happened to you. As you have heard you are not alone. It is important that you (and others who have had problems not only go to corporate and explain the problem but also to you senators and representatives. The war on people with persistent pain needs to stop and in order for that to happen, legislators need to be made aware of the problem. If they cannot tell people with pain (and according to the IOM there are over 100 million of us), from drug abusers, they need to be voted out of office. Mentally unstable people like Kolodny (and I say that because he doesn’t believe evidence unless it comes from him-grandiose thinking)should not be the voice of opioid prescribing (preaching to the FDA and the DEA- part of where the pharmacy problems originated. We need to be sure our voices are heard.

The people in or pharmacies have a couple of weeks of training, not years. However, they might not be called techs, although they all handle prescriptions.

I’m not sure if the author reads the comments, but just in case she does, I wanted to let her know that I had an extremely similar thing happen with my wife at CVS and Hershey Medical Center’s Orthopaedic department. Luckily, I was also a CVS employee at the time and the pharmacist was willing to listen to what I had to say. We never went back to Hershey, but her PCP was great about it and CVS removed the flag from her profile because this doctor was known for poor charting, which caused the misunderstanding. The funny thing is that she was on OxyIR 30mg q4h for post-op pain (T4-L5 Spinal Fusion) and the surgeon wanted to reduce her dose by half. She agreed and I took the Rx to the pharmacy (same pharmacy). The medical assistant didn’t even ask us about it or call the doctor who wrote the script, he just voided it and called the PCP. In his zeal to label her a drug sealer, he actually prevented her from lowering her dose!

The physician’s assistant that she was seeing at Sadler (her PCP and alocal clinic) asked about it at her next appointment and thankfully he listened. He spent half of that appointment reassuring us (her chat made no mention of pill seeking, so he didn’t fix it after the fact, he talked to us BEFORE putting ANYTHING in her chart. After thoroughly discussing her pain, he came to the conclusion that my wife never should have been reduced to 15mg 6x/day. He attempted to convince her to increase her dose because of the number of flares, but given our previous experience, she

I now maintain close relationships with four local pharmacists and most techs aren’t allowed to do anything but hand the phone or prescription over to the pharmacist.

Unfortunately, Pennsylvania is extremely conservative, especially when it comes to pain management. The pharmacists are extremely paranoid, in past thanks to then attorney general, now governor, always an asshole, well sexist asshole, Tom Corbett and people like him.

Steve in Carlisle PA

Julie Anna Bloodworth

Tracy, my heart goes out to you and all other Chronic Pain Patients. I too have been denied having a prescription filled by a “holier than thou” Pharmacist who thought they were single-hand-idly stopping drug abuse. Never mind that I had been using the same pharmacy for over a DECADE and my prescriptions were all written by the SAME physician and spaced at appropriate intervals. After pointing out these facts I was then obviously lied to and told that they didn’t have it in stock, leaving me in my back brace and severe pain to drive from pharmacy to pharmacy to find one that would fill my prescriptions because it was “against their policy” to call other pharmacies to see if they had the meds in stock.
When I found a pharmacy that didn’t have a problem with my meds, I switched all my prescriptions to that pharmacy and never went back to my “regular” one – who actually had the nerve to call and ask me why I was no longer using them (my co-pay amount on my meds is over $500.00 a month after insurance payments). Boy, did I give them an earful and I’m sure they were sorry that they called me.
I have painfully learned to not tell ANYONE about the meds that I take. Either I am labeled an addict or asked for some of my meds (which are carefully calculated for a 30 day supply – NO EXTRAS) or worse, called an addict THEN asked for meds. Unfortunately Chronic Pain has been pushed to the dark shadows due to abusers but all of us have to pay for their indiscretions.

Jessi

Actually a tech has at least two years of training under a pharmacist or an associated degree. Your experience was terrible but if they reinstated your script there should have been no questions asked. This coming from a person who has Dealt with chronic pain my entire life. And a pharmacy tech who will be working this Christmas.