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State and Federal Limitations on Prescriptions for Controlled Substances

 Note: many limitations are more stringent for Schedule II prescriptions.

Prescription Characteristic

Limitation Schedule II

Limitation Schedule III and IV

Limitation Schedule V

Mode of issuing prescription Written, verbal (only in a bona fide emergency)*, fax** or computer*** Written, verbal, fax** or computer*** Written, verbal, fax** or computer***
Refills None allowed - partial filling allowed for terminal patients or patients in long-term care facilities Maximum of five within six months of issuing prescription unless renewed by the practitioner As authorized by practitioner
Length of prescription validity Six months Six months One year
Quantity limitations**** 30 days 90 days 90 days

*Emergency means that the immediate administration of the drugs is necessary for proper treatment, that no alternative treatment is available, and it is not possible to provide a written prescription order for the drug at that time. In the case of a bona fide emergency, a practitioner may telephone or transmit by fax a prescription order to a pharmacist for a controlled substance in Schedule II. In such a case, the drug prescribed must be limited to the amount needed to treat the patient during the emergency period. Within 72 hours, the practitioner must furnish to the pharmacy a written, signed prescription for the controlled substance prescribed. The pharmacist is required by law to notify DEA and BNDD if a written prescription is not received within 72 hours.

**All written, signed prescriptions may be transmitted by fax. When the drug is in Schedule II the original prescription must be presented to the pharmacist before dispensing, except when the prescription is for a long-term care facility resident or for certain narcotic injectable preparations. The face of the original prescription for all schedules must be signed and dated after transmission and the prescription filed chronologically at the practitioner?s office, except when the original Schedule II prescription must be presented to the pharmacist.

***The DEA approves computer prescription transmission only on an individual basis. When approved by DEA, Missouri regulations require the practitioner to maintain a signed printout of each day’s transmissions, and the pharmacist must periodically verify prescriptions with the practitioner.

**** These quantities can be increased to a three-month supply if the physician describes on the prescription form the medical reason for requiring the larger supply.








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