Save Money Filling Pet Prescriptions at a Regular Pharmacy – LifeSavvy


Many people don’t know that you can fill your pet’s prescriptions at the same pharmacy where they get their medications. You can even save a lot of money doing it! Here’s what you need to know.

Although most people have heard of pet medicine mail order delivery due to services such as 1-800-PetMedsit just might not have crossed their minds to walk into the local Walgreen’s or Costco pharmacy and get a prescription filled for the old Fido.

But many of the prescription drugs animals take are the same as drugs prescribed for various human conditions. There are, however, a few ins and outs to consider in order to have a smooth experience, save the most money, and avoid the rare dangers of using a human pharmacy for pet medications.

What pet prescriptions can your pharmacy fill?

The good news is that your local pharmacy can fill a number of common pet prescriptions! Here’s a breakdown of what can generally be filled where and how to save money even when you encounter situations where a particular drug is for veterinary use only.

Pharmacies can fill human medicines for animals

Although discovering that your dog with a heart problem needs medications like enalapril, furosemide or spironolactone might be the first time you hear these medication names, they are common medications available not only at the office pharmacy. from your veterinarian, but also in regular pharmacies. the street.

There are a lot more crossovers than you might think. Your dog might even end up taking sildenafil to treat pulmonary hypertension. Sildenafil may not be in your mental drug index, but the brand name Viagra probably is – no really, Viagra started life as a heart medication and use the more famous was a secondary side effect discovered later.

In practice, most pharmacies can fill any prescription for which a human equivalent exists. Antihypertensives, anticoagulants, diuretics, antibiotics, analgesics, steroids, etc., there is a huge overlap between human medicine and veterinary medicine. The only real difference is the dosage. Your Pomeranian will take a very small dose of the same pain medication that you would take.

Pharmacies generally do not stock animal-only medications

If a drug is used to treat high blood pressure or otherwise in humans and animals, chances are you can get the prescription filled at your local pharmacy.

However, for drug formulations strictly used in veterinary medicine, such as heartworm treatments, prescription flea treatments, etc., it is virtually impossible to find them in a regular human pharmacy.

There are some exceptions to the pets only question

When it comes to finding veterinary-only drugs in pharmacies, there are two notable exceptions to be aware of.

The first is for warehouse club pharmacies like the Costco Pharmacy, found in-store at Costco stores across the United States. Costco will not only refill medications used in human medicine for your pet, but they have a program where they offer about 150 common veterinary drugs at reduced prices.

This not only includes preventative medications like Nexgard and Heartgard, but also deep discounts on expensive heart medications like Vetmedin. If you have a Costco near you, I can’t recommend this option highly enough. Thanks to savings at Costco, a 3 month prescription fill is less than what I used to pay for a 1 month fill. While mail-order services like 1-800-PetMeds have better prices than my vet’s office, Costco Pharmacy even beat them.

sam’s club has a similar program where you can get traditional medicines and exclusively veterinary medicines at the store’s pharmacy.

The other option is to contact your local compounding pharmacy. Compound pharmacies are used to working with a much wider range of drugs. From special formulations for your pet to less common medications for yourself, it’s always a good idea to call your local compounding pharmacy and check.

What do you need to fill pet prescriptions?

A pharmacist taking medicines from the shelf.

Filling your pet’s prescription at a regular pharmacy is quite simple. Even if you feel like the oddball for calling Walgreen’s to fill out a script for your dog, we can assure you that one of a long list of local customers is doing the same.

In fact, in some cases, you may even have to go to a regular pharmacy to fill out the script. Few vet offices have hydrocodone syrup on hand, for example, and you’ll have to call to find a pharmacy that does.

Here are a few things to keep in mind and expect from the experience.

  • The pharmacy will likely create a customer profile for your pet related to you, especially if the prescription is for a controlled substance. If your name is John Smith and your dog’s name is Skipper, there will likely be a John “Skipper” Smith in their system.
  • For the majority of prescriptions, the pharmacy will only need the prescription with the veterinarian’s license number.
  • Most medications can be ordered over the phone from your veterinarian’s office. Prescriptions for narcotics and controlled substances must generally be presented in person at the pharmacy.
  • For controlled substances, the pharmacy will also need the veterinarian’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) number. This is the veterinary equivalent of a human physician’s National Provider Identifier (NPI).
  • You usually won’t be able to fill a multi-month prescription of a controlled substance like tramadol or hydrocodone syrup. You will likely need to replenish your pet’s supply every month.
  • Also, for controlled substances, you’ll likely have to sign additional forms and even browse through a database (but if you already get the drugs from your vet, you know that process).
  • Insurance discounts only apply if you have pet insurance or use a general discount card like BonRX.

Other than accommodating the particular workflow needed to prescribe your pet (like going to the vet first to get a paper prescription for a controlled substance before going to the pharmacy), it’s really very simple.

Is it safe to fill pet prescriptions at a regular pharmacy?

If you’re an avid pet parent, you probably have one last important question. Is it safe to fill pet prescriptions at your local pharmacy?

The answer is that in almost all cases, yes, it is perfectly safe to do so. The local pharmacy will be just as stringent when it comes to checks and safety standards, if not more so, than your vet’s office.

There are, however, two situations to keep in mind where using a regular pharmacy could pose a problem.

Pill dosing and cutting issues

If your pet needs a very small, precise dose of a particular medication, you might run into problems. The local pharmacy may only stock larger tablets and, in the case of particularly crumbly medications, using a pill cutter to cut them in half or four may prove inaccurate enough that your pet receives too much. or too little medicine.

Discuss this with your veterinarian when considering refilling the medication at another location.

Be Aware of Toxic Ingredients

Your veterinarian will not prescribe toxic medication for your pet. However, the pharmacy may compound the drug in a way that is toxic to your pet.

In very In rare cases, the way medicine is prepared for humans may contain compounds that are dangerous to your pet.

For example, some pharmacies sweeten cough syrups and other liquid medications with xylitol, a sugar-free sweetener. Xylitol is good for human consumption but toxic to dogs and can cause hypoglycemia, liver damage and even death.

When getting a prescription filled at a regular pharmacy, talk to your veterinarian about this potential problem ahead of time so you can take the proper precautions at the pharmacy.

Not only can you potentially get all of your pet’s prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy you use, but you can even save a bundle by doing so!


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