Frequently Asked Questions
The following information may help you find the answer you are looking for.
If not, please feel free to call us at 585-241-9000, or ask your health care provider.
- How do I transfer my prescriptions from another pharmacy to Pleasant Street Apothecary?
- How early should I order refills?
- How long does it take to have drugs delivered?
- What does “take with food” or “take on an empty stomach” really mean?
- Why do I need to bring in a prescription from my doctor every time I need a refill on
some of my drugs and not others?
- What is the difference between the Medicare A/B plan billed by my doctor or hospital and
a Medicare D plan?
- What is a spend down?
- What is the difference between a brand name and generic drug? Is one better than the other?
- Why does the doctor call my medication by one name and the pharmacy label it with another?
- What should I do with the leftover pills when my provider changes my medication regimen?
- What should I do if my new pills don’t look like the ones I had before or the samples I
got from my doctor’s office?
- Who do I call if I think I’m having a reaction to a new prescription?
- How can I get medications if I am out of town or on vacation?
- Can someone pick up my prescriptions for me?
- Why aren’t my co-pays always the same?
- Who should I alert when my insurance coverage changes?
- What is a drug interaction?
- What should I do if I miss a dose?
- What is resistance?
- My medication needs to be refrigerated. How long can it be left out before it is no good?
During your first visit to PSA, we will get the required information to request a transfer of existing, transferable prescriptions from your current pharmacy provider. In addition we will need to see your insurance cards and gather some basic information.
How early should I order refills?
While we strive to complete all refill orders the same day, we recommend ordering refills 5 days prior to taking your last dose, so there will be no interruption in your medication regimen. In most cases, this will allow time for PSA staff and your doctor’s office to process refill or prior authorization requests and address other issues if necessary.
How long does it take to have drugs delivered?
Home deliveries are made by a publicly known, outside service, i.e. FedEx. For local delivery of refills on an existing prescription, you can generally expect to receive your delivery within 2 business days when all the medications you are requesting have refills.
For a new prescription or one requiring authorization from either your provider or insurance company your order will be shipped as soon as processing is completed.
What does “take with food” or “take on an empty stomach” really mean?
When dosing instructions indicate to “take with food” it is generally recommended that you take the medication with a meal to avoid stomach or intestinal irritation. Other times it is recommended that a medication be taken with a certain type of food, such as milk or cheese, to increase the amount of medicine absorbed by your body. When instructed to “take on an empty stomach” medication should be taken either 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating.
Why do I need to bring in a prescription from my doctor every time I need a refill on some of my drugs and not others?
New York State prescribing regulations require a standardized, written prescription for any drug categorized as a controlled substance. Prescriptions for other categories can sometimes be called in or faxed to the pharmacy and the written prescription mailed or sent via courier by your provider.
What is the difference between the Medicare A/B plan billed by my doctor or hospital and a Medicare D plan?
The easiest way to explain this is that Medicare A covers inpatient and hospital associated costs; Medicare B is for outpatient medical care such as your physician’s office. A Medicare D plan is a prescription drug program offered by a third party insurer in accordance with Medicare regulations. For more information visit www.medicare.gov
What is a spend down?
A spend down is the amount of your income you should have available to contribute to the cost of your healthcare or medications as calculated by the agency processing your benefits.
What is the difference between a brand name and generic drug? Is one any better than the other?
When a medication is first developed the manufacturer has patent rights on the formula and/or compound. Once this patent right expires, other companies can produce generic versions of the drug that meets the same FDA requirements and regulations as the brand name drug.
Most insurance companies require generic substitutions unless specifically requested by the prescriber or patient.
Why does the doctor call my medication by one name and the pharmacy label it with another?
Medications are generally identified by one of two names or an abbreviation. The brand name or trade name that is assigned by the manufacturer when it is introduced is the most common used by medical staff. The generic or chemical name is what will normally be printed on the label from your pharmacy since this is what they are actually dispensing. Many medications also have a commonly known abbreviation.
For example, a common medication used to treat high blood pressure is hydrochlorothiazide (generic name), which is commonly referred to as HCTZ (accepted abbreviation) is manufactured by Merck & Co. as HydroDIURIL (brand name). We understand this can become confusing, please do not hesitate to ask our pharmacy staff for clarification.
What should I do with the leftover pills when my provider changes my medication regimen?
Once dispensed medications can not be resold or returned; however many organizations collect medical supplies for distribution to people in need both locally and abroad. Ask you provider if they work with any of these programs.
What should I do if my new pills don’t look like the ones I had before or the samples I got from my doctor’s office?
Medications from different manufacturers, while similar, may not always look exactly alike. If there is any question whether or not you received the correct drug or dosage, always contact your pharmacy or provider’s office before taking the dose.
Who do I call if I think I’m having a reaction to a new prescription?
Side effects from medications are varied. If you are experiencing general discomfort such as nausea, a rash or a headache, contact your doctor’s office. If you are experiencing chest pain, hives or a rash all over your body or severe shortness of breath, call 991.
How can I get medications if I am out of town or on vacation?
If you are planning a trip and your current supply of medications will run out while you are away discuss your needs with a member of the pharmacy staff as early as possible.
In special circumstances with the appropriate documentation early refills may be requested through your payer or prior arrangements can be made to ship your medications to you.
Can someone pick up my prescriptions for me?
You can ask a friend or family member to pick up your order. They will be required to sign for the medications and pay any balance due. Please alert the pharmacy staff ahead of time if someone new will be picking up your order to avoid confusion.
Why aren’t my co-pays always the same?
Co-pay amounts are set by your insurance carrier and each carrier offers many plans. The simplest explanation would be tiering; medications are categorized in three tiers. Most insurance plans assign a different co-pay amount with each tier.
For example, with a popular plan from a local carrier there is a $10 co-pay for Tier 1 drugs, $30 for Tier 2 and $50 for Tier 3 while a well know Medicare D plan sets it’s co-pays at $0 for Tier 1, $3 for Tier 2 and $7 for Tier 3.
Who should I alert when my insurance coverage changes?
To avoid delays in filling your prescription and out of pocket expense, please share any insurance changes with a pharmacy staff member or include the information along with your automated refill request.
What is a drug interaction?
A drug interaction is the reaction of one medication with another. Medications are compounds of chemical agents; the agents in one medication can interact with or react to those in another. While this is sometimes a good thing, such as Ritonavir boosting in HIV care, more often the interactions are adverse.
You should never take medications not prescribed by your healthcare provider. Additionally, you need to always be sure to update all your providers including specialists, other pharmacies and therapists when there is a change in those medications prescribed for you.
What should I do if I miss dose?
What to do when you miss a dose will be different, depending on the drug and the directions for it’s use. Always call your pharmacist or provider to find out what to do when you miss a dose.
What is resistance?
Drug resistance is the ability of an organism, such as a virus or cancer, to overcome the effects of a drug prescribed to destroy it. This is particularly of concern with the HIV virus requiring a greater than 95 percent drug adherence rate to reduce the risk of resistance.
My medication needs to be refrigerated. How long can it be left out before it is no good?
While this depends on the medication, generally prescription drugs can be left out of the refrigerator for up to 24 hours without affecting their potency. To be safe, please check with your pharmacist before taking any medication that has been left out.