Ryan is an experienced health writer helping educate and inform people on all types of important health topics. He lives in Salt Lake City, UT and can be found recreating in the local mountains.
Po-Chang Hsu, M.D.
Dr. Hsu received his medical degree from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, and holds a Master’s of Science degree from both Harvard University and Tufts University. Outside of the medical profession, Dr. Hsu loves to write, learn new languages, and travel.
April 9, 2021
Yes, absolutely. Urgent care facilities are equipped with the same licensed and trained medical personnel you might find at a hospital. While an urgent care doctor likely won’t prescribe you a controlled medication like Adderall or Xanax (a specialist must prescribe these), they can prescribe you medicines needed for most cases.
EverydayDr recommends PlushCare for all your online prescription needs. PlushCare is a top telehealth company virtually connecting patients with board-certified physicians. Book an appointment to get a prescription online here.
Urgent care is a medical facility that operates as a hybrid doctor’s office and emergency room. They host appointments and walk-ins for wellness checks, sports physicals, and services such as blood draws and labs, immunizations, and preventative medicine.
However, they also offer various procedures that may not be available at a general practitioner’s office, like pap smears and minor injury care. Many people choose to visit an urgent care facility for minor emergencies to avoid long wait times and prohibitive emergency room costs.
Urgent care facilities are equipped to treat acute illnesses (infections, viruses, etc.) and minor injuries such as strains, sprains, cuts, abrasions, and dislocations. Intravenous (IV) fluids can be administered at most urgent care locations.
However, a patient with major trauma like broken bones, wounds with uncontrolled bleeding, or a life-threatening emergency (shortness of breath, chest pain, or neurological symptoms) cannot be treated at an urgent care location and must be taken to an emergency room. Urgent care also does not offer labor and delivery services.
“This [urgent care] gives people an alternative to visiting the ER in situations that require immediate attention but aren’t necessarily an emergency,” explains the American Board of Physician Specialities. “Only three percent of patients who visited an urgent care center in 2016 had to be redirected to an emergency room, according to the UCAOA report.”
Urgent care doctors and nurse practitioners can prescribe any necessary medication. Patients must attend an office visit either in-person or virtually for the doctor to discuss symptoms and make a diagnosis. They will then prescribe the medication that they decide best addresses the complaint.
A caveat: urgent care doctors seldom prescribe long-term pain medication, narcotics, or anxiety/depression medications. They may prescribe a short-term pain killer for obvious trauma but are trained to avoid drug-seeking behaviors and not offer anything long-term. A doctor at an urgent care facility will generally refer you to a psychiatric doctor who can follow up with conditions for anti-anxiety meds.
Commonly prescribed for anxiety, Xanax is a benzodiazepine medication that affects chemicals in the brain. While urgent care doctors are legally able to prescribe anti-anxiety medication, it is unlikely that they will agree to do so in an urgent care setting.
Urgent care doctors are never able to prescribe Xanax online. Xanax must be prescribed in person, typically by a psychiatrist who has scheduled follow-up visits with a patient.
It is improbable that an urgent care doctor will prescribe a stimulant, which they don’t consider an emergency medication. Urgent care doctors are trained to recognize drug-seeking behavior and not prescribe any medication used as a recreational drug. Adderall is best procured through a traditional doctor’s office.
Similar to Xanax, Adderall is a controlled substance and can not be prescribed by an online doctor. Adderall can only be prescribed through an in-person visit.
An urgent care doctor may be used as a general practitioner for yearly wellness checks and labs. Some may prefer to go to a traditional doctor’s office for continuity of care, but these patients are also free to make an appointment with an Urgent Care doctor of their choice and may continue to see them long-term. There is generally less wait time when making an appointment with an urgent care doctor.
There are typically more urgent care facilities than hospitals in a given community. Because of this, wait times are better at urgent care. Visiting urgent care is an excellent choice for minor injury care. These include:
Head to an emergency room for life-threatening emergencies such as:
Urgent care facilities aren’t equipped to handle these emergencies beyond triaging, acute treatment, and calling for transport. If there’s a question about whether a bone is broken, most urgent care facilities do have X-Ray machines and can splint it before sending the patient to an orthopedist for further treatment.
Urgent care is an excellent choice for anyone who shows symptoms of bacterial or viral infection or who has an injury like a cut, burn, or a smaller broken bone. A patient can be seen with or without an appointment, be diagnosed, and have a prescription called into their local pharmacy, often within an hour or two.
From stitches to splinting, minor injuries can be diagnosed and treated quickly and efficiently. Urgent care is often chosen over a traditional doctor’s office or ER for convenience – an appointment can be made promptly, and walk-ins are welcome.
If not booked ahead, the best time to schedule a visit is mid-morning or late afternoon. Later in the week is also ideal, as Mondays are generally busier times coming off of weekends. Sundays are typically a good bet for light traffic.
To save wait time and the inconvenience of sitting in a waiting room with other sick patients, urgent care facilities usually offer online booking. A patient can book an appointment time by visiting the local urgent care website and fill out the necessary paperwork before stepping foot inside the building. They can receive a text to confirm their time and will be seen as soon as they arrive for their visit.
Some urgent care facilities take this convenience a step further by offering telehealth services. Check your local urgent care to see if this service is available in your area. With telehealth, patients can book and attend their visit virtually so that they don’t need to leave the comfort of their home.
Of course, you can’t get urgent care online for something like stitches, but telehealth services are excellent for things like:
A doctor will ask about symptoms and duration then follow up for any necessary clarification. They can then diagnose the illness and prescribe any necessary medication. They can even call in the prescription to the local pharmacy.
EverydayDr is proud to partner with PlushCare. You can get urgent care online from PlushCare from a board-certified doctor in just 15 minutes, 7 days a week. All their doctors graduated from a top-50 medical school. They can diagnose, prescribe, and develop a personalized care plan.
To get online urgent care now, book an urgent care appointment with PlushCare.
In recent years, telehealth has become a fast-growing business model. Catering to people who don’t have the time or inclination to visit a doctor’s office in person, telehealth allows for simple access to healthcare for a growing population. Doctors can perform virtual visits and prescribe medications online.
While a simple antibiotic is typically called into the local pharmacy, long-term medications (such as insulin or blood pressure medication) may be purchased from an online pharmacy and delivered straight to a patient’s door, saving both time and money.
PlushCare is also a great resource to get prescriptions online. PlushCare’s board certified doctors have an average of 15 years of experience, and are here to help. They can help you to come up with a long term treatment plan for medication management, write prescriptions online, and electronically send it to your local pharmacy.
Click here to make an appointment with an online doctor.
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