This information describes the Anesthesia Pain Service guidelines at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK).
The pain doctors at MSK’s Anesthesia Pain Service are available to help control your pain by prescribing and adjusting your pain medications. We treat pain with medications such as opioids (also called narcotics), which are controlled prescriptions. We also perform procedures such as nerve blocks or implanting pain devices.
We must monitor you and these medications closely for your safety and for legal reasons.
Guidelines for Medications
- Only your pain doctor should write your prescriptions for pain medication, even if you have other doctors.
- Take your pain medication only as instructed by your pain doctor. If you need any changes to your pain medication, call our office. If another doctor adjusts your pain medication, you must call us to discuss the change by the next business day. Do not change the dose without speaking with your pain doctor or nurse. Please see “Getting Your Prescriptions” for more information.
- Do not suddenly stop taking your pain medication. If you suddenly stop taking opioids, you may have withdrawal symptoms (i.e., nausea and vomiting, abdominal cramps, sweats). If this happens and you have no pain medication, go to the closest emergency room or to the MSK Urgent Care Center.
- The MSK Urgent Care Center is located on the 1st floor of the main hospital. The closest entrance is located at 425 East 67th Street.
- Keep track of when you will need a new prescription for your pain medication.
- Keep all appointments with your pain doctor. If you are getting opioids from us, we will need to see you in our clinic once a month.
- Keep your pain medication in a safe place away from others, especially children and pets. You may need to keep it in a locked box.
- Take at least a 1-day supply of your pain medication with you when you leave your home.
Getting Your Prescriptions
Your pain doctor will write the prescriptions for your pain medication at your appointment. You can fill your prescription at your local pharmacy or at an MSK pharmacy.
We cannot call in prescriptions to your local pharmacy, because many medications are controlled prescriptions. You will need to come pick up the prescription.
If you need to pick up your prescription when you do not have an appointment, you will need to call us 2 to 3 days in advance. You can pick up your prescriptions in the main hospital Monday through Friday, from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm. Please go to:
We are not open for prescription pick up on weekends or holidays.
If your medications change, we may be able to send your new prescriptions to your home through UPS. This is done with the approval of your doctor. Your new prescription should arrive within 3 business days. However, keep in mind that UPS does not deliver on Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays. If you call on a Friday, you will not receive your prescriptions until the following week.
Please note that we cannot send your prescriptions to your local pharmacy or to a P.O. Box.
If you have questions about your medication, please call the Pain Service at 212-639-6851, Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. When you call, we will ask you for the name and dose of your medication, and for your phone number so that we can contact you if we have any questions. Please note that if you call after 3:00pm, we may not be able to return your call until the next business day.Back to top
Lost or Stolen Prescriptions or Medication
It is important to keep track of your pain medication and prescriptions. If you lose your prescriptions or if your medication is stolen:
- Report this to your local police station. Then, fax the police report to us at 212-717-3206 or bring it to us in person.
- You may need a clinic appointment.
- Your prescription plan may not pay for your replacement medication. If it does not, you will be responsible for the cost.
Contacting the Anesthesia Pain Service
If you have questions, need to speak with someone about your pain control, or want to make an appointment, call 212-639-6851, Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. We will ask you to leave your phone number so that we can call you back.
It is best if you call earlier in the day, so we can review your records or speak with your doctor, if needed. We will do our best to call you back the same day or the next business day.
If it is after 4:00 pm, during the weekend, or on a holiday, and you are having an emergency, such as severe pain, page us at 917-314-3477. You can also go to your local emergency room or come to the MSK Urgent Care Center.