When you know you need a certain prescription, it is a pain to wait the days or weeks to see your provider in the doctor’s office and get the treatment you need. Fortunately, the Digital Age has presented a suitable solution: telemedicine.
These days, you can see a qualified healthcare provider any time of day or night to receive care and obtain appropriate prescriptions.
Yet, just because telemedicine makes healthcare much more straightforward doesn’t mean getting a prescription is as easy as asking for one. Here’s a guide to getting prescriptions online, so you know what to expect at your first telehealth appointment.
You Still Have to See a Qualified Provider
It doesn’t matter how long you have been taking a prescription medication, how familiar you are with it or how urgently you need it; to receive a prescription, you need to talk to a qualified health care provider. Though the future might bring AIs capable of assessing symptoms and offering treatment plans, at present, you cannot accomplish anything without talking to a living, breathing, trained professional.
Fortunately, telehealth makes it easy to log into a healthcare appointment and get a prescription fast — as long as you have all the information your provider needs. At the very least, you should know the name and dosage of the medication you are hoping to acquire online. It will help to know your medical history, especially the timeline of diagnoses and treatments related to whatever prescription you are pursuing. If you are having any new symptoms, you should write them down and talk to your provider about them; they might indicate that you need a higher or lower dose of your medication, or you might need a different medication altogether.
Telehealth appointments are faster and easier than going into the doctor’s office, which means you should be able to get your prescription sooner than you would by meeting with a provider in person. Still, if you anticipate getting a prescription by filling out a form or completing some other online process, you should revise your expectations.
You (Probably) Can’t Get Controlled Substances Online
Not all prescription medication is accessible through online platforms. After a patient named Ryan Haight overdosed after obtaining an online prescription for pain medication, laws have been passed to restrict access to controlled substances through telehealth. Such controlled substances include:
While controlled substances are not entirely unavailable over the internet, there are some hoops you and your provider would need to jump through to access such prescriptions online. These hoops include conducting an in-person assessment of the patient and their needs, which more or less negates any advantages of using telehealth to obtain a prescription. State and local governments can add even more hoops or prohibit the practice of prescribing controlled substances online altogether. It is worth talking to your regular provider about the prospect of getting your prescription renewed online if this is something you anticipate needing in the future.
You Might Ask About Other Treatment Options
While you are talking to a qualified provider about your health condition and symptoms, you might want to discuss the opportunity to shift away from medication and toward other treatment options — especially if your prescription is for a controlled substance that is difficult to acquire or potentially dangerous for your wellbeing.
For example, if you use a prescription medication to manage your mental health, you might discuss the possibility of beginning or increasing counseling sessions. There are thousands of mental health professionals available through telehealth platforms, which make attending multiple therapy sessions per week easier and more affordable.
Conversely, if you use a prescription medication to manage pain, you might look into physical therapy, chiropractic therapy, massage and similar solutions. You can continue using your medication as you transition to other forms of treatment, but you might find that you can slowly decrease your dosage as other treatments become more effective.
When you are taking medication that is not controlled, you should be able to get or renew a prescription online in a matter of minutes by talking to a qualified practitioner on a telehealth platform. Otherwise, you should look into your local laws and consider contacting your regular provider for a new prescription.