How Long Are My Prescriptions Valid For?

Massachusetts enforces limitations on how long your prescriptions are elegible for filling. Here is an outline of these limitations:

Control Number Valid/Expiration
II 30 DAYS from DATE WRITTEN; are limited to a 30 day supply unless for exempt diagnosis; and your pharmacy needs a hard/written prescription
III-IV Valid 180 DAYS from DATE WRITTEN or 5 refills, whichever comes first; C III are limited to a 30 day supply unless for exempt diagnosis
V Valid 180 DAYS from DATE WRITTEN or 5 refills, whichever comes first
Non-Controlled VI

Valid for ONE YEAR from the DATE WRITTEN (Shattuck Pharmacy enforced policy)


How Long Are My Prescriptions Valid For

Medications that are non-controlled prescriptions (C VI) are valid for ONE year from the date they are written (Enforced by Shattuck Pharmacy policy). Prescriptions of control three through five (C III, IV, V) are valid for SIX months or FIVE refills, whichever comes first, and C III are subjected to a limit of a thirty day supply per dispense. Narcotic prescriptions of control two (C II) are valid for ONE month from the date they are written. There are exceptions for some medications for diagnosis of narcolepsy and other medical exceptions. These prescriptions may be filled with a maximum of 60 days per dispense. It is important to note that some insurance plans will not cover a 60 day supply even with diagnosis.

Examples of Controlled Substances and Medications:

Control Number Valid/Expiration
II Ritalin (methylphenidate), Concerta, Adderall (mixed dextroamphetamine and amphetamine salts), Percocet (oxycodone and Acetaminophen), Oxycontin, etc.
III-V Vicodin (Hydrocodone Bitartate and Acetaminophen), Tylenol #3 (Acetaminophen and Codeine 300-30mg), Provigil, Ambien (zolpidem), Lyrica, Fiorinal, Xanax (alprazolam), Ativan (lorazepam), etc.
Non-Controlled VI

Zestril (lisinopril), Zyprexa (olanzapine), Tenormin (atenolol), Prozac (fluoxetine), Cymbalta, Neurontin (gabapentin), Lipitor, etc.

On our prescription labels you will find in the bottom left corner a marking labeled: QTY REM. The number next to this identifier is the Quantity Remaining. The next area of the label has the Original Date of the prescription and the Date of Fill. These are distinguished by ORIG and DATE respectively.

Your prescription is valid for the time period described in the table above from the ORIG date on your label.

At Shatuck Pharmacy we strive to place reminder labels on each vial that is on its last refill so that we can notify you that for next time we will need a new prescription. On your behalf we can request a refill from the prescribing physician.


Jeremy KW Spiewak, CPhT, MA RPhT, BA Chemistry, Doctor of Pharmacy Candidate at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

In The News

Levoxyl® Voluntarily Recalled at the Pharmacy Level

Pfizer has conducted a careful risk assessment and has determined that there is little to no risk of any adverse health events due to this packaging defect.  Regardless, Pfizer, King, and the FDA have worked together and decided to voluntarily recall at the pharmacy level, all Levoxyl strengths.

Click Here to Read More


M.G.L. Chapter 94C § 22
M.G.L. Chapter 94C § 23
M.G.L. Chapter 112 § 12D
105 C.M.R. 721.000

Pisano, Douglas J.; Controlled Substances and Pain Management: Regulatory Oversight, Formularies, and Cost Decisions; The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics. Volume 24:4, Winter 1996. Accessed Oct. 2011

Original Published:October 2011

Revised:May 2013