Shutdown affecting opioid prescriptions

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SUNSET BEACH, NC (WWAY) — The shutdown raised concerns in the health community across the Cape Fear. Pharmacists are running low on controlled substances and some patients are unable to get their prescriptions.

A Brunswick county nurse practitioner says she received one report that patients could not get their opioid prescriptions filled because their pharmacist did not have enough drugs in stock. To order controlled substances, some pharmacies use a paper form that must be approved by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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The shutdown limits access to the DEA and refill approval but, there is another option.

“We can move people from pharmacy to pharmacy but, it takes a couple of days,” said Terresa Long, Coastal Comprehensive Care Nurse Practitioner. “Because, when they are Medicaid, we have to get with their Medicaid case worker and okay their move to another pharmacy.”

Long says changing pharmacies could take days before a patient can get their prescription in hand. Another option is changing the dose which may not be as effective.