Clozapine (Clozaril) can be a frustrating medication to be on. You have to get blood work done every month just to be safe because the medication can have some serious side effects. I’ve never had any problems with the possible serious side effects from Clozapine, but I have had problems getting the actual prescription filled every month for the past year.
I go and get my blood work done (on time, like I’m supposed to), but the pharmacy I go to does not have it together. They always deny getting my lab results, so I end up calling the lab and having them re-send the blood work results. The pharmacy has even told me a couple of times that they weren’t there when the lab faxed over my results, which is why they don’t have them. That is complete crap. Even if my results were faxed over in the middle of the night, they should be there waiting for the pharmacy when they open.
Yesterday, I thought I found a new pharmacy. I talked to the pharmacist, and they were able to register me in the Clozapine database; however, they could not accept blood work results from the lab. So, it looks like I’m going to be staying at the same pharmacy I’ve been struggling with for the past year. I guess, I’m just going to have a sit down with the pharmacist and see if I can get everything figured out.
I take a lot of medications; most I take daily, and some are taken as needed. I keep very close track of my medications and when they need to be refilled. It’s a big task, but I make sure I’m on top of it all. I have a problem filling my Clozapine prescription every month. I have to do monthly blood work. The pharmacy won’t fill the Clozapine without the blood work results. Filling this prescription is an issue every single month.
Every month, the lab forgets to send the pharmacy my results. It’s always a huge hassle. Even though I filled out the paperwork, I still have to convince the lab to send my results over. I shouldn’t have to call the lab every time. At least I’ve found a way to make the phone call easier and shorter.
I refill my prescriptions about a week early (they can be filled from approximately 3 to 7 days early depending on the script). If I start early (at the 7 day mark), then it’s okay if they run into a problem. I learned this the hard way. Running out of prescriptions is not fun.
This is the third time in a row that I’m having problems getting my Clozapine prescription filled. The lab automatically faxes my blood test results to the pharmacy, but for some reason, the pharmacy cannot find them. Yesterday, the pharmacy told me they didn’t have the results without even knowing my name. Then I told them my name and said that the test results normally go straight into my file. Less than a minute later I was told again that they don’t have the test results.
I called the lab and left a message for them asking them to resend my blood work to the pharmacy. Today, I will call the lab again just to make sure they got my message, and then I will call the pharmacy again. If I’m still having difficulties, then I will just show up at the pharmacy and ask to speak to the pharmacist. I really wish it wasn’t this difficult getting my Clozapine script filled.
Yesterday, I dropped off my weekly Clozapine prescription at the pharmacy. I asked the pharmacy technician if she could check to see if my lab work had come in. I told her that it gets faxed over from the lab every week, and that someone from the pharmacy normally puts a copy in my file. She looked at me weird, and said, “We don’t do blood work here.” I explained to her again, that I get my blood work done at a lab and then the lab sends my blood work to the pharmacy so I can get my prescription filled. She still didn’t understand; she told me again, “We don’t do blood work here anymore.”
Wow, I was surprised at how ignorant this woman was. If she had just taken 30 seconds to listen to my explanation, then she would understand. At this point, she went to the back of the pharmacy with my prescription. When she came back up front, I asked if she found my blood work results. Her response was, “I don’t know, I didn’t look.” I was so baffled that I just decided to leave instead of try to get this woman to understand me. I asked her to please call me if there were any problems filling the prescription.
Luckily, they were able to fill my prescription. The pharmacist must have found my blood work in my file. I think they’re finally getting used to receiving my blood work results and having me filling my weekly Clozapine prescription there. The pharmacy technician I had this odd interaction with was new, so I can understand her being confused; however, if she had just listed to my explanation, she would have understood easily.
I’ve decided to write about my story, piece by piece. I’ll begin with my childhood and work my way up. I’m doing this because my memory is horrible and I’m trying to remember my life; I thought that writing out my story could help.
Growing up, I was a very happy child. I easily kept myself busy and entertained. My mom worked from home, so I spent a lot of time with her. My dad ran his own independent pharmacy. I also spent a lot of time with my dad at his pharmacy. I was happy to spend time with both my parents; I loved being with them. I’m the youngest of three children. The town I grew up in had about only 3,200 people. Everyone knew me because of my parents. My mom never had to tell me ‘no’ until I was 6 years old; I was a really good kid in the beginning. She could bring me to her meetings and appointments, and I would keep myself busy playing with rocks and sticks.
School was a breeze for me. I never spent much time working on school work; all of it was done while I was still at school. I don’t remember studying for tests, but I aced everything. I didn’t start getting in trouble at school until I was in middle school. I stayed busy outside of school. In my spare time, I rode horses, played the piano and several other instruments, and went skiing. I even rode horses competitively for many years and did pretty well. My first horse was named Houdini and my second horse was named Copperfield. I spent most of my free time at the barn. I worked there for a while doing things from mucking stalls, to teaching riding lessons, and helping to run summer camps. I’m used to working; my dad had me and my siblings working at his store on Sunday mornings at the very least. It taught me a lot about responsibilities.
My dad decided to take flying lessons one day. He ended up getting his pilot’s license and the two of us would go flying sometimes to different mountains to go skiing, sometimes just to go flying for the fun of it. Spending time with my dad was always a blast. The two of us were adventure buddies. I was always up for anything.
I also remember holidays with my family. Christmas was at our house. Thanksgiving was always at my aunt’s house. There were usually more than 20 people at these holiday events. My parents taught me that family is always there for each other. We support and love each other unconditionally. My entire life, I always knew I was loved. When I would get in trouble, my mom would say something like “I love you, but I don’t like your actions.” Not once while I was growing up, or even now as an adult, have I ever questioned whether or not I was loved. I had an amazing childhood; I know how lucky I was to have such loving parents and family.
I’m beyond frustrated at this point. I’m so annoyed and pissed off. I’m still having problems refilling my Clozapine. Yesterday, I had to call the pharmacy 6 times. I finally found out that the problem with my prescription is because of the national database. I don’t know what problem the national Clozapine database has found. My blood work is better than it used to be, it’s finally back to normal. My doctor waited a few extra days to write my prescription because he was waiting for my Clozapine level blood test to come back. That test took a few extra days. I usually get my script on Sundays or Mondays, and this time he didn’t write my script until Thursday. Maybe that’s the problem.
I have an appointment to go do my weekly blood work today. Part of me is wondering if I should even get it done since my script from last week hasn’t been filled. I’m out of Clozapine. If I can’t get my script to be filled today, then I have no Clozapine to take. I wonder if there will be bad side effects or withdrawals. I’ve forgotten to take the medication by accident once or twice. When that happens, I usually end up feeling sick to my stomach, more like a stomach pain. I have no clue what to do. I keep calling the pharmacy, but I’m getting nowhere.
I started my Clozapine rechallenge on April 3rd; I have now been taking it for close to 8 weeks. My doses have increased slowing over that time. I’ve had some side effects, but nothing that can’t be managed or dealt with. Some of the side effects have gone away over time and others I’ve learned to deal with to the best of my ability.
I just had my Clozapine level taken and the results finally came back yesterday. My level came back at 80, which is very low. I’m assuming that my doctor is going to be increasing my dose, but I’m not sure. I don’t really know where he wants my Clozapine level. A low level is between 50 to 150 ng/mL, 200 to 300 ng/mL is a medium level, and 350 to 450 ng/mL is a high level. I’m pretty sure that the therapeutic level begins 100, which I haven’t reached yet.
Every week I seem to have problems with my blood work and filling my prescription. People at the pharmacy tend to lose track of my blood test results, which they need in order to fill my prescription. I have finally learned that if and when the pharmacy says they haven’t received my weekly blood work, I just need to tell them to look in my file. I thought getting my script filled would be easier now that I’ve figured out that part. However, this week’s prescription has been difficult for another reason. First, my doctor wanted to wait for the Clozapine level results so he knew how much to prescribe. I normally get my script filled on a Sunday or Monday. It’s now Thursday, so I can’t last much longer without a refill. My doctor has called the prescription in twice to the pharmacy. He said that he was on hold for 10 minutes just to leave a message. I’ve called the pharmacy 3 times today regarding this script, and it still isn’t filled.
I don’t know why it’s so difficult to get this prescription. It seems to add a great deal of anxiety to my life every week. I’m actually taking Valium just to deal with this situation. I wonder if it does more good than harm.