white pills arranged in the shape of a question mark on a bright yellow background

Should I use an Online Pharmacy?

In the UK, you can now nominate to send all your electronic prescriptions to an online pharmacy. You can then order medication online, and have it delivered to your door. This post is about my positive experience using an online pharmacy this year, and how to get around ordering issues.

Pros of Using an Online Pharmacy

  • Saves travelling to a pharmacy and queueing in person
  • No extra cost
  • Easy to use with prepaid prescription certificate
  • Get reminder emails when it’s time to order repeat medication

Cons of using an Online Pharmacy

  • Need to order a few days in advance
  • Have to remember to specify alternative pharmacy at your GP if you need medicine ASAP (like antibiotics)
  • If you pay for prescriptions, payment may be taken automatically when your GP orders for you

My Experience

I started using an online pharmacy in April because I wanted to reduce the time spent ordering and collecting medication as well as decreasing my risk of Covid-19 exposure. I have found it so convenient that I don’t think I’ll switch back.

I used to have to phone the pharmacy (multiple times because the phone was usually engaged), then call ahead a few days later so they could prepare the medication, then go to collect in person and usually queue. On top of this, my local pharmacy had supply issues a couple of times, which meant I had to go back every few days to collect a few tablets at a time. I’m on several medications long-term so cutting out pharmacy trips has made ordering and picking up prescriptions so much easier.

I have a prepaid prescription certificate and I could select this as a payment option online with no problem. It was also easy to change my delivery address and re-nominate the same account from my new GP surgery when I moved house.

The only problem I’ve had was forgetting to ask my GP to send a prescription for antibiotics to my local pharmacy instead of online. This did take several phone calls to sort out but was fixed the same day.

Help! My prescription was sent to an online pharmacy but I need it ASAP

If your nominated pharmacy is online and your GP prescribes you medicine to start taking immediately, it’s best to ask them to send it to your local pharmacy as a one-off. There will be a delay if it’s sent to a nominated (online) pharmacy due to packing and delivery times.

If you forget, and the order hasn’t been shipped by the online pharmacy, it’s not too late.

To rectify an order sent to an online pharmacy by mistake, phone the online pharmacy and tell them you need to collect ASAP from another pharmacy. Then, ask them to put your prescription back on the NHS ‘spine’. This will cancel your order with them and make your prescription available to order elsewhere. This might take a few minutes and they might have to call you back. They’ll then give you a long number code. You will need to phone your local pharmacy with this code, tell them your prescription is on the spine and give them your details and the code. This should allow the local pharmacy to prepare the medication for you.

I would recommend online pharmacies…

If you have repeat prescriptions and want to cut down on pharmacy trips. This has saved me so much time going to the pharmacy, as well as reducing my risk of exposure to covid-19. I haven’t had any problems with supply which has been an issue over the past year at my in-person pharmacy. It’s easy to order and I don’t have to wait in a phone queue or in person at the pharmacy any more.

The pharmacy app or website also makes it easy to see when you last ordered your medication, and can send email reminders when it’s time to reorder repeat prescriptions.

It might not be worth it if…

You order medication infrequently, and need medication on the day more often. It’s also worth noting that if you pay for prescriptions and save your payment details with your nominated pharmacy, you could be charged automatically when your GP sends a prescription through.

To nominate an online pharmacy

You can ask your GP, use the NHS prescriptions app, or most online pharmacies allow you to nominate them through their website. When choosing an online pharmacy, make sure that it is reputable and properly licenced, the NHS guide to ordering prescriptions online is here: https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs-services/pharmacies/how-to-order-repeat-prescriptions-online/ .

NHS-listed online pharmacies:

Boots (free delivery in England only) (https://www.boots.com/online/pharmacy/)

Echo by Lloyds (https://www.echo.co.uk/)

Pharmacy2U (https://www.pharmacy2u.co.uk/)

Health, Lifestyle

Wrist Splints Review

My recommendations for wrist supports to prevent subluxation and clenching at night.

I have a pain response where I tightly clench my fist and arm in my sleep. This causes my wrist to sublux (joint pops partially out) and stretches and irritates my median nerve, which was damaged in an accident. Both of these things cause more pain and perpetuate the cycle so a year ago my doctor recommended wearing a wrist splint at night to prevent these things from happening.

Recently I had to replace my splint and was a bit bewildered by all the different options, so I have tested and reviewed six supports below. All the splints cover the palm and include a metal bar up the inside of the wrist and bent into the palm. It’s more comfortable than it sounds and the bar helps to stop the fist from folding in towards the arm. When putting a splint on I clench my fist and arm muscles with my arm straight so that I won’t make the splint too tight or restrictive.

In an ideal world, consult with your doctor for the best advice. I appreciate we don’t all have the access we need at the moment and sometimes a quick fix or stopgap is helpful. For the same reason, although I try to avoid it, these are all links to Amazon. They have a huge range of wrist supports, and a decent return and refund system.

My original splint (Praxis)

My doctor gave me this splint when I first said I was having problems clenching my fist overnight. The strap around the wrist and arm is fully adjustable as it can attach to anywhere on the neoprene and provides enough support to stop my wrist from subluxing. It’s easy to line up and put on one-handed because of the way the big strap wraps around. The neoprene gives some additional warmth which I find nice except for on very hot nights. This splint comes quite high up over the palm of the hand so the design and the metal bar inside really stop the wrist from being able to flex.

I love this splint and find that it works really well and is very comfortable. The only downside is that attaching the Velcro to the neoprene causes it to fuzz and become less sticky over time. I think the lifespan of this splint if you wear it every night is probably around six months before the Velcro stops working. You can sew Velcro on top of the neoprene to increase the lifespan which I did but after about 12 months it’s really frayed and stretched beyond repair.

Splint #2 (Praxis, £5.99)

I bought this splint as a replacement for my worn out one. It’s the same brand, but a slightly altered design. They’ve changed the type of velcro on the wrist wrapping part, maybe to try to avoid the neoprene fuzzing. I’m not sure if it’s an improvement as I found this made it less sticky at the edges.

It’s one size fits all; I have small hands and wrists and find it comfortable and supportive enough. It restricts wrist movement curling the hand towards the wrist best, but doesn’t totally restrict wrist movement side to side.

Splint #3 (Actesso, £9.85)

I was looking for something that would be more breathable and cooler to wear in the summer. The design of this splint is quite a common one with panels of stretchy, breathable fabric at the sides. It’s quite difficult to put this splint on because has multiple straps and it’s tricky to hold the splint closed and line them all up. I chose this splint specifically because it looked the most breathable, but unfortunately because it has both elastic and thin parts, it doesn’t prevent my wrist from bending very much.

Splint #4 (BodyTec, £6.49)

This splint has a similar design to the one above but is made of neoprene. Again, from the side view it can be seen that the fabric of the splint doesn’t actually overlap itself. This does cut down on bulkiness but if you’re looking for a sturdy wrist support, it might be too stretchy. It was still possible for me to flex my hand inwards and sublux my wrist so I found this splint too flimsy and didn’t brace my hand well enough.

Splint #5 (Zofore, £13.97 but currently unavailable*)

If splints are like a prison for your wrist, this splint is Alcatraz. It’s very well made and sturdy, and the design ensures that skin doesn’t get trapped in the join. The straps are not stretchy and the middle strap wraps all the way around the arm and back on itself, making this splint the most supportive that I tried. It’s possible to tighten the straps so that you have no flexion in the wrist at all. I ordered the smallest size but the top strap is still a little long, so has to be positioned at an angle. Overall the fit is fine for my wrist and arm though. It is made of breathable fabric but now it’s cooler I haven’t noticed whether it’s effective.

The ‘strengths’ (literally) of the splint are also its weaknesses. Three straps are quite difficult to coordinate with one hand, especially the long middle one which sticks to everything when I’m trying to put it on. The first few times it was difficult to find the correct fit and not over tighten it, which led to me cutting off my circulation in my sleep, because it’s not so stretchy.

* Correct October 29th 2020

Wrist support (Dr Arthritis, £12.95)

Not a splint, but I sometimes use this wrap-around neoprene wrist support during the day. Although not as supportive, I find it useful if my wrist is feeling very weak and I have to do something where I need wrist flexibility like yoga or moving heavy things around. The neoprene strap that wraps all round the wrist gives the extra support I need to stop my wrist subluxing. Again because it’s neoprene it showing signs of wear, but I’ll probably replace it with the same kind because it is very comfortable.

I can’t speak for how well these splints will help for other wrist conditions like arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome- you may find that you don’t need as much support or restriction of movement, or prefer to wear something less bulky. Several of the product pages state that they are used by the NHS although I’m not sure how you’d check that.

For preventing wrist clunching and subluxation at night, my top recommendation would be the Praxis splint, as I find it the easiest to put on and the most comfortable. Its only downsides are that it wears out relatively quickly (this may have been improved by the new design) and it can be hot to wear. The black Zofore splint was the sturdiest splint that I tried and was very supportive. I did find it difficult to get the fit right and coordinate the straps at first but have got the hang of it after a couple of weeks. I’d recommend putting a new splint on an hour or so before going to bed to get the fit right and avoid overtightening.

Tips for choosing a wrist splint:

  • Fewer straps will make it easier to put on
  • A strap that wraps all the way around the wrist will give better support
  • Stretchy and breathable materials might not provide enough support
  • Neoprene is a comfortable and warm material, maybe too warm
  • Doctors may advise against wearing splints in the day to avoid deconditioning muscle. Always speak to a doctor for the best advice