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Can an Urgent Care Prescribe Medication?

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Can Urgent Care Prescribe Medication?

writtenByWritten by: Christina Wedberg
Christina Wedberg

Christina Wedberg

Christina has been a writer since 2010 and has an M.F.A. from The New School for Social Research. Christina specializes in writing about health issues and education.

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March 16, 2021 Read Time - 7 minutes

Can You Get Prescription Medicine From Urgent Care?

Yes, urgent care centers can prescribe medication. In fact, one of the most convenient qualities of urgent care is that many facilities have their own pharmacy. This makes it easy for a patient to pick up their prescription on-site rather than having to go to another location. 

Read on to learn more about what urgent care is, what conditions they treat, what types of medications urgent care centers can prescribe, and how to get treatment at urgent care, in-person and online. 

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  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

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What is Urgent Care?

Urgent care provides easy access to healthcare when your primary care physician’s office is closed or you cannot get a timely appointment with your regular doctor. Urgent care centers generally take most kinds of health insurance, and they are open to patients during the day, nights, weekends, and holidays.

What Conditions Do Urgent Care Centers Treat?

Urgent care centers generally provide treatment for non-life-threatening treatment for injuries and illnesses. Some examples of treatments may include:

  • Ear infections
  • Allergic reactions
  • Broken bones
  • Sprains and strains
  • Pink-eye
  • Colds and flus
  • Strep throat
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Sinus infections
  • Animal and bug bites
  • Cuts and burns

Do Urgent Care Centers Provide Other Services?

Yes. Urgent care centers provide a number of all-inclusive services so that you do not have to go to another facility. Some services may include the following.

Lab Services

Many urgent care centers also offer a wide variety of lab services in conjunction with treatment and diagnostics. These kinds of lab services are like what you would find in an emergency room or at your primary care doctor’s office. Some lab services offered may include:

  • Blood tests such as complete blood counts, basic and comprehensive metabolic panels
  • Blood glucose testing
  • STD testing
  • Pregnancy testing
  • Strep testing
  • Fecal blood occult
  • Urinalysis
  • Drug testing and screening
  • Flu and rapid flu tests
  • Electrolyte testing
  • Preventative Treatment

Urgent care centers may also offer routine preventative treatment when you are unable to see your primary care physician or do not have a regular provider. 

These services often include:

  • Physicals for summer camp, sports teams, school, or annual physical exams
  • Flu shots
  • Vaccinations
  • Drug screening
  • Well baby checks
  • Gynecological exams

Urgent care centers employ staff who are medical professionals that include doctors, nurses, and specialists. Treatment at an urgent care center may often include giving you medication on-site, taking x-rays, or starting an IV. After a doctor has evaluated you, you may be offered a prescription medication to take after you return home.

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

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What Types of Medications Can Urgent Care Centers Prescribe?

Urgent care centers are able to prescribe many different types of medications to treat your condition. Some drugs may include:

Allergy and Asthma Medications – If you see a physician at an urgent care center for allergies or asthma, your doctor will be able to prescribe medication such as Advair or Symbicort. Your doctor may also offer you a prescription and recommendations for long-term allergy or asthma medications.

Antiviral Medications – If you have the flu, you may get a prescription for an antiviral medication such as acyclovir or Tamiflu. If you think you have the flu, you should see your doctor as soon as possible in order for any antiviral medication to be most effective.

Antibiotics – If you go to an urgent care center because you think you may have an infection, a doctor can prescribe you antibiotics for your treatment. Urgent care centers have all of the common antibiotics such as penicillin and azithromycin in stock and can fill your prescription when you are done with your appointment.

Medication for Stomach Issues – Patients seen at an urgent care center with stomach conditions such as acid reflux or constipation may be able to get a prescription for a short-term medication that will last 30 days or less. Your urgent care physician may refer you to a gastrointestinal specialist or have to ask you to follow up with your regular primary care physician.

Short-term Pain Medications – If you go to an urgent care center with an injury such as a broken arm, slipped disk, or back pain, some clinics may be able to prescribe you short-term pain medication. Pain medication may be prescribed depending on the patient’s condition and at the doctor’s discretion. However, not all urgent care establishments are allowed to prescribe medication for pain.

One-Time Medications – If you run out of medication, an urgent care clinic may prescribe you maintenance medication on a short-term basis until you can speak to your regular provider. One-time medications may include drugs such as blood pressure medications, drugs for diabetes, or cholesterol medications.

Urgent Care Medication Frequently Asked Questions 

The following questions are commonly asked about the limitations of urgent care on prescribing medication. 

Will Urgent Care Refill Prescriptions?

No. Urgent care is utilized when a patient needs immediate attention for something. 

Long-term prescriptions and medication that need refills are best monitored by a primary physician. Primary care doctors can see the patient as frequently as necessary, make detailed treatment plans, and follow up with medication management. 

An urgent care doctor can refer a patient to a  primary care physician if they do not have one. This allows for a long-term relationship with a doctor who can monitor the condition and medications.

Does Urgent Care Prescribe Pain Medication? 

Yes. Urgent care facilities can administer prescription pain medication. A doctor can give patients pain medication as necessary, but will never give narcotics or long-term pain management medication. 

Can Urgent Care Prescribe Antibiotics? 

Yes. Urgent care doctors can prescribe antibiotics, usually used to treat an infection. Urgent care is an excellent option if you need an infection treated quickly, as you will need a prescription to obtain any kind of antibiotics. 

Can Urgent Care Prescribe Anti-Anxiety Medication or Antidepressants?

No, urgent care doctors cannot prescribe anti-anxiety medication or antidepressants. Urgent care doctors only see a patient once and cannot prescribe anything that requires monitoring. It is best to talk to your primary health provider or psychiatrist if you are interested in getting a prescription for mental health treatment. 

Can Urgent Care Prescribe Blood Pressure Medication?

Yes. An urgent care doctor can prescribe blood pressure medication, but it will likely be a one-time dose or non-refillable prescription. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is an ongoing condition that requires monitoring, so it is best to have a long-term treatment plan with your doctor in place. 

When to Go to an Urgent Care Center

You may feel that something is wrong at times, but you are unsure what the appropriate action to take is. If you feel any of the following symptoms, it is a good idea to find an urgent care facility and get yourself checked out:

  • Persistent nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting
  • Rashes or itching that will not go away
  • Persistent sore throat
  • Body aches or muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Unexplained pain or swelling
  • Coughing, sneezing, or wheezing
  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

Urgent Care Online

You can also get medical attention online at PlushCare. PlushCare connects you with top online doctors who give you a real-time video diagnosis and prescribe a treatment plan, including necessary medications. 

If the online doctor finds you need to be seen in person, you will get your money back, and they will refer you to the nearest urgent care center. 

Save yourself time and money and book an online appointment today.


Read More About Urgent Care


Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

American Academy of Urgent Care Medicine. What is Urgent Care? Accessed on January 29, 2021 at https://aaucm.org/what-is-urgent-care-medicine/

 

Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Urgent care centers in the U.S.: Findings from a national survey. Accessed on March 11, 2021 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2685126/ 

 

Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Why Do People Choose Emergency and Urgent Care Services? A Rapid Review Utilizing a Systematic Literature Search and Narrative Synthesis. Accessed on March 11, 2021 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5599959/ 

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