Controlled Substances

What are controlled substances?

Prescription medications can fall into the categories of controlled substances and non-controlled substances. Controlled substances are substances with a high potential for abuse or addiction, regulated and classified by the DEA (drug enforcement agency).

Most prescription medications used for chronic conditions and infectious diseases fall into the category of non-controlled substances. They still must be obtained through a prescription by a physician, but are not regulated by the DEA.

What is PlushCare’s policy on controlled substances?

Our physicians fill many non-controlled prescriptions, but we do not prescribe controlled substances at this time. If you are unsure on whether your medication is a controlled substance, feel free to contact us at (800) 221-5140 or send a message to [email protected].

What are common examples of controlled substances?

There are a number of controlled substances. You can find a complete list through the DEA website. Some of the commonly requested medications that we are NOT able to fill include the following, sorted by condition:

  • Weight loss: Qsymia (phentermine / topiramate), Desoxyn (methamphetamine), Suprenza (phentermine)

  • Pain/narcotics: morphine, Vicodin (hydrocodone / acetaminophen), Tramadol, Percocet (oxycodone), Demerol (meperidine), Methadone, Dilaudid (hydromorphone)

  • Sleep: Ambien (zolpidem), Lunesta (eszopiclone), Luminal (phenobarbital)

  • Anxiety: Ativan (lorazepam), Xanax (alprazolam), Klonopin (clonazepam), Restoril (temazepam), Halcion (triazolam), Valium (diazepam), other benzodiazepines

  • ADHD: Adderall (amphetamine), Ritalin (methylphenidate), Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine), Concerta (methylphenidate), Focalin (dexmethylphenidate)

  • Others: Fioricet (butalbital / acetaminophen / caffeine), cough syrup with Codeine, Suboxone (Buprenorphine / Naloxone), Lyrica (pregabalin), cannabis and marijuana products

PlushCare physicians also do not prescribe certain non-controlled medications with high abuse potential, such as injectable haloperidol (Haldol) or injectable diphenhydramine (Benadryl).  

There are also medications that are not classified as controlled substances by the DEA, but may be classified as such in certain states as they may also have the potential for abuse. One example of this is the drug gabapentin (Neurontin). Prescriptions for gabapentin at PlushCare are strictly limited to patients who qualify and sign an agreement.

Besides gabapentin, other non-controlled medicines with the potential for abuse are listed below. Our physicians will only consider brief prescriptions for short-term use if recommended and deemed necessary by the physician.These substances include but are not limited to:

  • Sudafed (pseudoephedrine)

  • Promethazine

  • Clonidine

  • Muscle relaxers, including baclofen, Flexeril (cyclobenzaprine), Robaxin (methocarbamol), tizanidine, and others

Does PlushCare prescribe chloroquinine or hydroxychloroquinine?

No. During this time of national suffering and need, our physician group has decided to preserve the supply of these medicines for those who need them for their health. There is limited data suggesting these medicines may help with severe COVID-19, but this data is not sufficient to support prescribing it and will not be prescribed by the physician group at PlushCare until a recommendation by the CDC or another authoritative medical organization is issued.

There are preferable alternatives for malaria prophylaxis, and physicians will not prescribe this medicine for malaria prophylaxis. For those with rheumatoid arthritis or other autoimmune conditions and need this drug, we require proof of prior prescription — we will call your pharmacist directly to verify you need this medicine and have taken it previously prior to prescribing.

Are there medications that PlushCare will not prescribe?

Our doctors have the ability to provide either a refill or initiation on most medications, outside of controlled substances and those listed above. However, it is important to note that our doctors will still defer to their best medical judgment during your visit, which may result in an outcome that is independent of prescribing specific medications. If you want to check whether or not we are able to help you, please send us a message via [email protected] or give us a call at 1-(800) 221-5140.