Frequently Asked Questions

Ordering refills

How do I get refills on my medication(s)?

Via eTang: For most efficient service, log-in to the eTang patient portal, click on ”Messages,” create a “New Message” requesting a refill/renewal from our pharmacy, and follow the instructions online.

  • If you have refills remaining on your prescription, your medication will be ready by noon the next day.
  • If you do NOT have refills remaining, your request will be forwarded to your Primary Care Physician (PCP) and team for review. You will hear back within 72 hours whether your request has been approved, or next steps.

By phone: The preferred refill request method is online through eTang (see above) however you may leave a message with details of your request at (510) 642-3249 and a pharmacist will return your call. Please follow the instructions in the phone message. (Note: This applies to prescriptions last filled at UHS. See "Transferring a Prescription" for prescriptions last filled elsewhere.)

All refills called in after 8am will be ready by noon the next working day. Please note that the Pharmacy is closed on Saturday during the Summer months.

In person: You may also bring your refill information to the Pharmacy counter. It will be processed on a first come, first served basis.

How do I get refills if I don't have the prescription number or if I am out of refills?

If the prescription was written by a UHS clinician and you do not have the prescription number, or you don't have any refills left, the UHS Pharmacy will contact your clinician for a new prescription, you will want to: 

  • Contact the UHS pharmacy (510) 642-3249
  • Give us your name, your Student ID number, the name of the medication(s) you wish to refill and a confidential phone number 
  • Assume your medication request will be reviewed and processed, and will be ready for pick-up at the UHS Pharmacy within 48 hours of your request. You will hear from your clinician's office only if there is a problem with the refill.

If your prescription was written by a clinician outside of UHS and you are unable to contact them to transfer the prescription, you must book an appointment with a UHS clinician by calling (510) 642-2000.

Transfers

How do I transfer my prescription(s) to the UHS Pharmacy?

For the pharmacists to transfer any remaining refills on your previous prescription(s) to the UHS Pharmacy, you will need to stop by the UHS Pharmacy and: 

  • Give us your name, your Student ID number, the name of the medication(s) you wish to refill and a confidential phone number.
  • Give us your previous pharmacy's name and phone number. 
  • Give us the name(s) of the medication(s) you want transferred, and the prescription number(s) if you have them. 
  • The transfer process may take up to 48 hours during busy times, and if the medication requires ordering.

How do I transfer my prescription(s) from UHS to another pharmacy?

Please ask your pharmacy to call the UHS Pharmacy at (510) 642-3249 and the UHS pharmacists will transfer the prescription along with all valid refill(s).

Reimbursements for prescriptions

I have SHIP. How can I get reimbursed for prescriptions filled outside of Tang?

Prescriptions filled outside of UHS have a $5 co-pay for generics and $25 co-pay for brand name medications (30-day supply), and $40 for "non-formulary" items.

Picking up prescriptions

When can I pick up my prescriptions?

When you call in a refill request, please allow 48 hours for us to contact your clinician and get approval for the refill. If the request is urgent you may talk to a pharmacy staff person who will expedite your request as needed.

Can I have someone else pick up my prescription?

For privacy reasons we can only dispense medication to the intended person. However, if you give express permission for someone else to pick up your prescription, either in writing (send a note with them) or by contacting us ahead by phone so a note can be placed with your medications, then a designated person can pick up your prescriptions. The person picking up the medications must be prepared to pay any associated charges or co-pays.

Emergency contraception

What are the directions for taking Plan B?

Both tablets of Plan B can be taken together right away, or one tablet now and the other 12 hours later. Consult your physician or a pharmacist with any concerns.

Are there any side effects after taking Plan B?

Side effects are minimal with Plan B. Some women may experience mild nausea and/or temporary breast tenderness until their next menstrual cycle. Plan B may also often change the timing for menstruation.

What is the medication in Plan B?

Plan B is a progesterone-only product.

How effective is Plan B?

Plan B is about 90% effective when used within 72 hours. It is not 100% effective, and it is more effective the sooner it is taken. Contraception must be used consistently to prevent pregnancy. If you use Plan B and you do not begin menstruation within three weeks, you will need a pregnancy test.

How much does Plan B cost?

For students 18 and years older: Plan B is over the counter; the cost is $30 plus tax.
For students under 18 years of age: Plan B can be dispensed to the patient only, by the pharmacist, by written order from a UHS clinician. The Berkeley SHIP co-pay for Plan B is $25, which will be charged to your student billing form. Charges on a billing form for Plan B are confidential; they are listed only as a pharmacy charge. If you are under 18 you may call the Advice Nurse at 510-643-7197 to get a prescription for Plan B.

Contraceptives

Please review the following statements, but feel free to call the UHS Advice Nurse during regular clinic hours at (510) 643-7197 if you have any unanswered questions or concerns. You may also schedule a health coaching appointment or contact the Sexual Health Education Program to talk through your options around contraceptives.

How do I get non-prescription contraceptives?

Non-prescription contraceptives, such as condoms and other safer sex supplies are available at the UHS pharmacy at Tang Center.

How do I get prescription contraceptives?

Contraceptives such as pills, patches, rings, injection, and diaphragm require a prescription. Please make an appointment for a visit with a Nurse Practitioner or Physician's Assistant at UHS by calling (510) 642-2000. You may also bring in or transfer a prescription from elsewhere. For an IUD, make a consultation appointment with one of the IUD clinicians.

I am taking birth control pills, and feel like I am experiencing side effects. What should I do?

First establish whether you may have a rare, but serious effect from the pills, and if so, medical care should be sought immediately for the following ACHES:

  • A - abdominal pain: unusually severe or persistent pain under the lower right ribs that could indicate liver or gall bladder problems. 
  • C - chest pain: sudden shortness of breath, and sharp, localized chest pain which is unrelated to other causes.
  • H - headaches: increased number of migraine headaches or a severe headache with dizziness, visual changes, weakness or change in your mental state, such as confusion. 
  • E - eye problems: sudden visual loss or blurring. 
  • S - severe leg pain: tenderness, pain, redness in one calf or thigh that is unrelated to injury or overuse.

If you just started taking birth control pills, and do not have serious side effects, continue to take them for approximately 3 months. It takes your body time to get used to the new hormones. If, after that time, you are still unhappy with the prescription, make an appointment with a clinician.

Note: Minor side effects include nausea, bleeding between periods, no period, breast tenderness, emotional changes, and complexion changes. Minor side effects usually resolve with time. Some of these can be lessened by making small changes. Contact the pharmacist or read your handouts for suggestions.

I forgot to take my pill(s). What should I do?

Usually, if you miss just one pill, it is okay. Take the pill as soon as you remember it or take two together. If you have taken two together before and it caused you some nausea, you can separate the two pills by 6-12 hours.

If you have missed two doses, take them as soon as possible, separating the doses if necessary, and use a back-up method of contraception for every act of intercourse for the next 7 days.

If you have missed three or more pills your cycle and contraception will be affected. There are a couple of ways to handle this: 1) stop the pills, use a backup method for every act, restart pills on the 1st day of your new period, or 2) continue the pills, but use a backup method for every act of intercourse for seven days. You may experience spotting or even a full period, but eventually your cycle will match your pills.

I have run out of packs of pills and I have no refills left. What should I do?

If you received your prescription from the UHS Pharmacy:

  • First, check your birth control packaging and look on the Tang prescription label to verify that you do not have any more refills left.  If you do, request a refill through the eTang portal (ready before noon the next day), or just stop by the pharmacy.
  • If you are completely out of pills TODAY, call (510) 642-3249 or secure message the Tang Pharmacy. Your request will be forwarded to the clinic nurse who will review your chart and renew by protocol whenever possible, or will let you know if an appointment is needed. The process may take up to 72 hours to complete although we make every effort to respond the same day.
  • If you have some pills left  and it has been MORE THAN ONE YEAR since your last prescription from UHS, make an appointment to get another year supply of birth control pills.  Please make an appointment with your primary care provider by going online to the eTang website or by calling the appointment office at (510) 642-2000.
  • If you had a prescription from an outside clinician, the pharmacist can contact that office and request additional refills. However, you need to follow your clinician's instructions for follow-up appointments. 

Tang Tip: Allow at least 72 hours turnaround time for medication renewals.  We strongly suggest you request medications early -- as soon as you realize you have only a week left.

I have more questions about contraception. Who should I ask?

  • To get a prescription at our pharmacy: UHS Pharmacy, (510) 642-3249
  • For questions about contraception or a particular birth control method: Advice Nurse, (510) 643-7197
  • To learn about the range of contraceptive options:

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