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ScottyMacEsq, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 13793
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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Is it illegal for a person to take medication for bipolar disorder

Resolved Question:

Is it illegal for a person to take medication for bipolar disorder without a doctors supervision?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ryan Kappel replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I have over 10 years of experience helping people with bipolar disorder and other mental health conditions.

A prescription from a doctor is required to get the medications for bipolar disorder, and there would be no other legal way of obtaining these medications. If this person has obtained medications for bipolar without going to a doctor, most likely they have done this illegally.

If a person has been prescribed these medication legally but is taking them without doctor's supervision, that is probably not illegal, but it is certainly not recommended. The best type of medication and dosage can change throughout the course of a person's life, and it is very important that a doctor supervise this in order to make any necessary adjustments. Taking old medication or adjusting/determining dosages without supervision can make a complicated situation even more complicated, so while this person may not be breaking the law, it is not advised, and can potentially be harmful. I hope that I've been able to answer your question and if there's anything else I can do to help just let me know.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
She was prescribed legally but hasn't been back to the doctor since. After taking the medication she ran away with my son to another state and filed for separation. She now has my son with her. She also has a family history of mental disorder and suicide. Several people have told me that it is illegal for the doctor to keep the prescription active without any supervision. It has been over six months since her diagnosis. There has to be something that I can do in order to prove her incompetent as a parent or something illegal about taking medication without some sort of doctors supervision. Can you please explain how it is not illegal?
Expert:  Ryan Kappel replied 2 years ago.
In this particular situation it would be best for you to speak with a lawyer. Sorry I couldn't be of more help.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I already have. I'm trying to get information from a mental health care professional about what I can do about this. I just don't understand how it can't be illegal. She is currently taking Lamotrine and citalopram together without any doctors supervision. Are you sure that there is nothing illegal about that?
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for using JustAnswer.

I am an attorney and will assist you in any way that I can.

These drugs are what's known as "non controlled" prescriptions. In general use, 'controlled substance' means those drugs which are 'scheduled' - meaning they have special restrictions above and beyond those of ordinary prescription drugs. These restrictions include additional limits on handling, storage (they have to be kept in locked containers), and record keeping (you need a special book which records every single dose). The most tightly controlled, Schedule I, includes those drugs which have little or no medical use - this includes most illegal drugs. Morphine is Schedule II; it has some legitimate medical uses but handling is controlled because it has a high abuse potential. Prescriptions of these drugs are closely monitored, and would need oversight to re prescribe (and would need original, rather than faxed, prescription documents).

For non-controlled prescription medication, there still needs to be a doctor that prescribes them, but often they won't require reassessment for 6 to 12 months. A good example would be birth control medication or thyroid medication. It is watched, but not "supervised" per se. Rather, re issuance of the prescription is often done with a call, and doctors that are not the primary or prescribing doctor CAN refill prescriptions. If it were a controlled medication, this could not happen.

And whether it would be legal to take medicine that was prescribed, yes, it's absolutely legal. Now if the prescription had lapsed and she procured the medicine from the streets or otherwise illegally, that would be prescription drug abuse, which is illegal. It's not a requirement that someone be under a doctor's control, but rather that the prescription itself be legally obtained.

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck to you!

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
So there is nothing illegal about taking mood altering drugs without the doctor seeing what effects they have on a patient? Bipolar disorder is very dangerous when you take into account the threat of suicide and the family history.
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 2 years ago.
I completely understand. No, there's nothing illegal about taking these drugs so long as they were prescribed or if they're over the counter. Now if the prescription has expired, then it would be illegal. But this is not contingent upon whether or not a doctor is observing them. There's nothing illegal about taking prescription drugs that the patient has a valid prescription for but not being observed by a doctor.
ScottyMacEsq, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 13793
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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