Prescription Writing

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Prescription Writing

Drugs are prescribed as part of many treatment plans.

The writing of a prescription is underpinned by the implication that he prescriber is personally accountability the knowledge of the patients current and past medical history, current medications and knowledge of the side effects and contraindications for the products prescribed .

Before prescribing:
1) Is the condition suitable for drug intervention?
2) Is the drug considered for use appropriate for the individual (age, health status, other circumstances)
3) How have they responded previously to drugs (drug history is important)
4) Does the patient understand the implications of drug treatment?

The prescription:
• enables the pharmacist to supply drugs
• exact format of the prescription will vary depending on jurisdiction
• generally requires:
• patient’s full name and age
• clear writing
• date
• approved name of drug
• dose
• route of administration
• frequency of administration
• practitioner’s signature, name and address

Practitioners also have the responsibility for the security of individual prescription pads (loss may be a professional disciplinary offence)

Hope et al (1998) suggest that the following ‘ten commandments should be written on every tablet’:
1. Explore any alternatives to prescription
2. Find out if the patient really wants to take the drug
3. Decide if the patient is responsible
4. Know of other ways in which your prescription may be misused
5. Address the 5 questions when prescribing off the ward:
• how many dally doses are there
• are many other drugs to be taken
• the bottle – can the patient read the instructions and open it
• how will you know if the patient fails to return for follow-up
• if the patient agrees, enlist the spouse’s help in ensuring they remember to take the pills
6. List the risks – side effects, contraindications, interactions, risk of allergy
7. Agree with the patient on the risk:benefit ratio’s favourability
8. Record how you will review the patient’s need for each drug
9. Quantify progress towards specified, agreed goals
10. Make a record of all drugs taken – offer the patient a copy

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