How Long Can I Wait to Fill a Prescription?

Patients may have anywhere from 30 days to 12 months to fill prescriptions. The expiration ultimately depends on the medication the script is written for; the time frame is usually based on the medical use of the prescription and its potential for abuse or dependency, which may vary by state.

For example, in Massachusetts, Schedule II prescriptions (including Adderall, Oxycontin and Ritalin) typically have a 30-day expiration from the date the practitioner writes and signs the script. Schedule III and IV medications (such as Vicodin and Xanax) are often valid for 180 days, while prescriptions for Schedule V and VI drugs (sleep aids and anti-diarrheal medications) may be good for up to 12 months due to their lower risk for dependency.