Useful information

Basic knowledge of Medicine ③ How many days can I be given medicine?


For colds and acute diseases such as influenza, most of the time, medicine is prescribed for several days.
However, in the case of chronic illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia (in other words, “disease”), there are many people who think “What I receive is always the same medicine, so I want to receive all the necessary amount at one time.”

Do you know how many days of prescribed medicine you can receive at the same time?

In the past, there was a principle stating that “prescription up to 14 days” and “prescriptions up to 30 days or 90 days” were available if the symptoms were stable, depending upon the type of medicine.
However, in 2002 the rules changed, and with the exception of some medicines, the upper limit of prescription was eliminated. In other words, the amount of prescribed medicine for however many days is left to the doctor’s discretion.
So, maybe you want to ask a doctor, “Can you give me medicine for a year?” Although it’s legally possible, it’s not realistic. Even though it is a chronic disease, the drug should be prescribed after confirming whether any side effects are appearing, symptoms are stable, drugs are faithfully taken … … etc.
Therefore, although the upper limit of prescription days has been eliminated,  we say “Please come once a month,” “Please come once every two months,” periodically for seeking medications, which is a lot more in general.


By the way, I wrote that “the upper limit of prescription days was eliminated except some medicines”.
What is included in this “some medicines”?

Those are “new medicines,” “medical narcotics,”  and “psychotropics”.
By the way, a psychotropic medicine is a medicine that acts on the central nervous system and acts on mental activity. Hypnotics and sedatives are included.

New drugs less than a year from release have a rule to be prescribed up to 14 days.
Prescription for narcotics and psychotropic drugs are either 14 days, 30 days or 90 days, depending upon the type.

Because new drugs are still early from the launch, it is necessary to carefully observe side effects and issues.
For psychotropic drugs, the reason for the 14 day length of prescription is to prevent abuse and dependence.

However, even with medicines with these restrictions on prescription days, if there are special circumstances such as that you are going on long-term trips, New Year’s holidays, Golden week, etc., 30 days prescription is allowed.
Please consult your doctor or pharmacist.