How long should I expect to receive the prescription from my initial request from my doctor?

Hi, my husband is a newly diagnosed this year t1d. We are starting to feel like we are just now getting the hang of this whole thing. Using the smart features and google calendar have really helped us. We really never had any experience with anything medical before this. So this maybe a silly question. But almost right from the beginning we struggled with getting insulin prescribed. Then when we finally got an appointment with an endo after leaving the hospital it felt better- like okay now we are going to have someone dedicated to his diabetes meds. But I am having the toughest time getting the endo’s office on the phone to reup his meds. And I know there is an employee shortage right now- so I am not expecting perfect. But what should I be expecting for turn around time? Like 1 week, 2 weeks? My pharmacy told me to expect 3-7 days from when they receive the prescription from the doctor to when I will receive it. So I’m just unsure if there is a problem with my doctor’s office or my expectation. I tend to be a type A and expect others to hop to like me.

I currently have a reminder set into our google calendar on 21 days (it’s the max day out I can request a refill) before they expire. Then my google home says and displays my agenda before bed every night so we dont miss it.

Sorry, we’re a young couple but we want to take charge of the organizational side of the diabetes (Or maybe I do, because that’s making me feel better to have some control).

Any way the question is- how long should I expect to receive the prescription from my initial request and how long is too long before we need to consider a different doctor?

My pharmacy needs at least 1 business day. They order meds from their supplier and they come in the next days truck, around lunch time. 2 days is plenty notice. Someone from my doctor’s office will respond same day for refill requests. This notion of weeks is ridiculous. For life sustaining meds, people should be right on top of it.

But feces happen, and this is why diabetics are notorious hoarders. Ask the doctors to write the script a little generously. It will enable you to build up an emergency stash of supplies. Always refill as soon as you can, no matter what you have on-hand.


Does your doctor use MyChart or other online system? That is often quicker than phone message, and PAs or other staff can often respond to you more quickly.

As backup insulin, consider getting some insulin from Walmart, without RX in most states.


I thought that most doctors send in their Rxs by computer directly to the pharmacy. At least MY CDE does that. And the pharmacy will have it ready the same day even if they prefer to have 24 hours to do so. And I live in a totally rural area where everything is located at least 25 miles from me. If you have a problem contacting the endo, then that is something to be addressed. Whether you would change endos due to this would be your decision. But not getting Rxs in a timely fashion is certainly not a tolerable situation.


I’m not trying to overstate the obvious here, but you did say neither one of you had much experience with medical things… Prescriptions for long term medications usually have refills on them. If you’re just getting the next round without any changes, then you don’t actually have to talk to the doctor. Just call the pharmacy up and ask for the refill.

Even if there aren’t any refills, the pharmacy will message the Dr asking for permission to refill. It’s much faster for everyone that way. It’s actually the first thing on the call tree when you call my clinic, before they give you the press a number options. “If you need a medication refill, please call the pharmacy directly.”


Thank you everyone. Okay so it is weird to wait almost 2 weeks for a response or the script being sent to the pharmacy. The doctor wants us to call them for our refills, but I’m going to try going through my pharmacy next to see if that speeds it along.

Everyone’s input was highly valued. My husband was wtfing earlier, so this at least helps to know we have other avenues to try.

Robyn_H you are very right. We are very new at this. Your advice was helpful. (Although no refills, my pharmacy’s app will let the pharmacy contact the doctor for a ‘renew.’)

If your endos office is having issues with writing a script. I suggest a call saying this is critical, he’s a type 1 and he has to have his insulin. If push comes to shove, a lot of endos get samples you might be able to pick up some or you can get NPH insulin from Walmart without a script but it’s a lot trickier to use.

Literally when I ask for something, it’s okayed within a day as long as she’s in office, if it’s a new item, it’s possible they might have to submit a prior authorization and that might add a couple of days. I then call the pharmacy to make sure they have it, if not they usually get it within 3 days. If it’s a 3 month supply mail order gets it sent within days.

And yes, we hoard, insulin is our life it’s a guarantee something will happen if we don’t have it. So we hoard. Most endos will write it generously because we have to have it. But take the fact if we are sick or stressed we require more, and you take the highest amount you might need and you have the script written for that amount and if you don’t have to use that amount, you can then build a nest egg for the “in case” situations so you don’t have to be desperate…


I just want to add, because if you are new to this, sometimes you just don’t know.
When you are first diagnosed, your pancreas doesn’t stop making insulin immediately. The younger you are usually the faster the progression. We call this the Honeymoon period. So your insulin needs are likely to go up as time progresses. And it can be erratic as you just don’t know what your pancreas will try to do or for how long it will be able too. It can be weeks, months or even years.

I also like mail order, 3 months at a time, it’s easier and automatically refilled.

Remember that diet can also have a huge effect on insulin use. I like to vary my diet so will low carb for several weeks at 25 carbs or less per day and only use 12-14 units of fast-acting insulin a day. As soon as I go to 50-60 carbs per day, I need 45-60 units per day. Fortunately, my endo is math challenged so when she asks me how much insulin I want, I have her prescribe about 8-10 months at a time with 4 refills. That way I always have plenty of extra. I need a lot of extra because I order my insulin by mail from Canada which takes 7-10 days to arrive so I only order insulin when the weather is cold which helps the insulin to stay cool with the ice packs they put in the shipment. During the warm/hot months there is too much risk of the insulin getting destroyed.

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You might see if you can get endo to write a prescription with refills, and/or see if your insurance allows 3-month-supply insulin prescriptions (likely requiring mail order pharmacy). Maybe because your husband is a very new patient the endo doesn’t want to do more than 30 days at a time. Or maybe it’s just a crazy office rule to never do more than 30 days (yes I’ve seen this).

It’s very odd that a retail pharmacy would require more than a day or two to fill a 30-day insulin prescription. A week lead time is more like a mail order wait. Is this some super rural area or really dinky pharmacy?

I was newly diagnosed as T1 after being misdiagnosed and mis-prescribed as a T2 (along with being in a coma with DKA and a very long hospital stay).

I was soooooo underprescribed insulin that I was rationing my food and not eating and rationing insulin because I didn’t have enough insulin in my script.

And, as others mentioned, if you need other medicine, your body reacts differently.

You have to speak up and tell them what is and is not acceptable.

If he’s running out of insulin—not acceptable.

It’s not like your doctor is paying for the drugs—your insurance is.

I had to learn to self-advocate as a result of this disease. It’s not something I’ve ever done. Now, I don’t have a choice. Looking back—it was crazy what how I was rationing my medicine because I didn’t speak up and tell them they were not prescribing the amount correctly.


As others have said, insulin is life-sustaining (we aren’t talking opioids nor viagra here). Your insulin Rx’s should be written for more than “average daily dose”. So many things affect your bg, stress, a carb-mis-count on something eaten, all sorts of things. No day is ever like the day before. You need the flexibility to properly dose based on what your bg is. In many states, pharmacists are allowed to refill an Rx prior to the official refill date for things like insulin that are life-sustaining. So ask.

And we -as people with T1D (or PWD1’s) have to develop the skill of being a pain in the butt - that is - demand what we need. If your Endo isn’t available, heshe probably has a nurse that can authorize refills. I mean, you aren’t asking for a new Rx.

If necessary, go to an urgent care, explain your situation and hopefully they will step up and Rx the insulin. And be proactive in terms of keeping a bg log. That can serve as proof that you have T1D (for the urgent care people) and can show that your insulin needs are changing (referring to the “honeymoon” ending).

And, welcome to the club you didn’t want to join. Speaking of clubs, perhaps in your area there is a T1D support group. They can help with the tactics we need to live our lives and you may get names of good and responsive Endo’s in your area.


If you are MDI, don’t forget to have the amount you need to prime the needle each time added as well. It does not seem like much but can really add up over a 90 day prescription period.

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On those times where I have failed to get a timely response from a doctor’s office, inluding my endocrinologist, I actually write a letter explaining what I need and physically go into the office. Sometimes I just hand the letter in to the reception desk but other times I have asked to speak with the person incharge of prescriptions/renewals. More often than not, things get put aside and then ‘lost’. An in person visit almost always shakes them loose. See if you can get the prescription set for a longer time period or to have a certain number of automatic renewals so you don’t have to worry so much about having to to miss important medication like insulin.

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Welcome. This is so frustrating. I have been there. My Endo of over 10 years has never had competent office staff. Everything is done over a portal. A few months ago I changed insurance and also my supplies. I went up the chain of command. My NP then the Endo. His MA got right back to me and gave me her personal cell. She may regret that lol. So if I have any problem I text her. 72 hours should be reasonable for a script to go to your pharmacy.


Talk with your endo and get this figured out, that is, how they like to operate. . Mine is fine with prescription refill requests from my pharmacy as long as I see her twice per year. They should respond to a refill request with 48 hours. A week is much to long. I’d suggest finding a different doctor if they are that unresponsive…

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Welcome to the group. My doctors send the pharmacy the prescription and the pharmacy fills it within two days. When I need a refill I contact the pharmacy and I have it within 2 days. If I don’t have any refills left, the pharmacy contacts the physician and I usually have the prescription within 2 days.

I have lots of insulin, so I never need a quick refill. I also call the pharmacy to refill a prescription at least a week in advance, so I build up a surplus of all my prescriptions.

I never call my physicians when I need a refill, I just call the pharmacy. I usually have the refill that day or the next day if they have the product on hand. It really helps to always use the same pharmacy and eventually they get to know you. If I happened to run out of something I normally take, the pharmacist would give me some meds until I can get my prescription filled.

All is well now. Takes too
long to train another Endo. Now I’m just mad at Medicare for their poor coverage of diabetes supplies. Insulin especially. I still work so do not qualify for assistance but I feel for those not able to afford medications.

I have no use for endos find a good gp snd become your own advocate. There is mo reason for a doctor (his staff actually) to take more than s couple hours to refill a prescription which should be good for s year. Find a new doctor and read all you can

Get set up wirh deccom continuous glucose monitor and tandem pumps. It will take a while but you will get tne hamg of things. The new technology takes a lot of the guess work out of it

I use my family GP and he writes scripts and transmits electronically very fast. The pharmacy may need a couple days to order the insulin

If you have a pump medicare covers the insulin under durable medical equipment and if you have the
Medicare supplement it will be covered 100%

I am very happy with medicare for diabetic supplies