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July 10, 1972

Refill: Yes or No?

JAMA. 1972;221(2):188-189. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03200150052015

We have received a thoughtful letter from a concerned pharmacist of 47 years' experience. It reads, in part:

The basis for this thesis is explained by the title. I am employed in a very busy store where I fill many prescriptions daily. I find that most of these contain no refill instructions whatever. But then there are those that specify refill prn (as needed). My question here is: prn for how long? A week...... a month... a year... or indefinitely? It hurts me to receive refillable prescriptions for drugs that I know to be dangerous, with improper refill instructions. I have in mind Coumadin, Indocin, Tandearil, Butazolidin, [and drugs under the controlled Substances Act]. Also, numerous drugs that can be given safely under proper circumstances become dangerous if combined with certain other drugs. (I am especially concerned with this problem, as I, myself, must take Coumadin.)

My point is that