The Panic of Medication Scarcity

Having been prescribed the vast majority of my medication over the last decade, the monthly ritual of repeat ordering has been pretty uneventful, until a wrench was thrown in.

Like most restless legs syndrome (RLS) and chronic pain sufferers, we rely on a regular and automatic 30-day system, with our tablets, caplets and pills being dropped off by our pharmacy to ensure we don't have to face the masses if our bodies are rebelling.

Sometimes, supplies run short

As of late, I have been coming up against a brick wall, primarily for my Pramipexole. As many of you may know, this is a commonly used tiny tablet for RLS, and how I survive living with the condition.

Knowing I have my monthly supply used to give me peace of mind. But now, roughly every 20 days, I start getting in a panic. For the last six months, my pharmacy has been unable to order my specific dose.

This has triggered my restless leg syndrome when my diary shows "the time of the month" is forthcoming! Not menstruation in my case, but when my repeat prescription is making its way towards the pharmacy.

When my landline starts ringing, the lone word 'Pharmacy' is shown on the caller display, and my stomach starts tying up in knots.

Coping with the bad news

"Mrs. Hades?" the lovely lady at the end of the telephone asks, swiftly followed by, "We are having trouble ordering your Pramipexole this month."

In my brain, the bullhorn is sounded. "AROOOGAH, AROOOOGAH, ACTION STATIONS EVERYONE! WE ARE GOING INTO MELTDOWN MODE!" Appointments scheduled for the next 30 days flash into my mind's eye. "There is no way I can miss them!"

The filing system in my mind is then ransacked as I recall the worst RLS attack I have ever had. I ruminate over what is going to happen if my medication is not received -- I can't just imagine a minor attack, I have to remember  night-shattering, mental health-breaking attack that will leave me rocking in a corner for all eternity! (My brain is such a drama queen.)

Finding solutions, finding relief

As it turns out, the problem sits with a supplier who cannot seem to get the dosage ordered. Thankfully, I will receive 2 weeks' worth of the correct medication dose and 2 weeks' worth of a lesser amount that I have to take 2 tablets of.

With this news, action stations in my head are dropped. The panic-stricken electrical charges slow down, and my brain has a well-earned break from running round and round looking for the next worst thing that could possibly befall me.

After one of these episodes, I have been known to collapse on the sofa in tears. There are only two medications in my arsenal that I cannot do without -- my RLS pill is one, and the second is my kick-ass pain capsule. When the delivery man drops them off later that day, I have to stop myself from hugging him!

Can you relate?

When it come to medication, so many of us turn into slaves of the clock, waiting for alarms to sound with instructions to take tablets regularly -- otherwise, our bodies turn into complex misfiring engines. Are there any medications in your weekly pot that drive you to near breakdown if they are currently out of stock?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.