A prescription is an instruction from a prescriber to a patient for his health care. Writing a prescription is one of the crucial tasks performed by health professionals. The format for writing prescription ensures the appropriate use of drug and minimizing errors. Health professionals must take account of effectiveness, appropriateness, side effects, contradictions and cost at the time of prescribing the medicine.
In India, to purchase the drugs online as well as in retail outlets, a prescription is mandatory. To buy and sell medicine or drugs without a prescription is illegal. The buyers should be aware that the prescription he holds is legal and valid. Many of us are not aware of the fact that the prescription also has an expiry date. Prescription writing is a fundamental task performed by health professionals; an incorrect prescription may lead to fatal death. An individual should be mindful of the components of a prescription. Below are certain guidelines to find the legitimacy of the prescription:
- The name of Doctor, qualification and registration number with the clinic or hospital.
- Signature and Stamp of Doctor.
- Date of consultation, that is the date when you go and meet the doctor.
- Details of the patient such as name, gender, age and date of birth.
- Name and Dosage of Medicines.
- Directions to use the medicine.
- Strength and potency of the Medicine.
- Duration and Frequency of the prescribed medicine.
- The letterheads of the doctors shall be secured to avoid the misuse of the same.
- Overwriting/Alteration on the prescription should be avoided.
- If the prescription is typed or computer-generated, the doctor should sign the prescription in blue ink.
- A doctor should not use the prescription pad of another doctor.
- Specify the times rather than the simple frequency
- Encourage the patient to bring their medication n clinic to avoid an error.
- The prescription should mention clearly if the Physician himself dispensed any medicine.
- As per the regulations approved in the Indian Medical Council Regulations, 2002, every physician should prescribe the medicine with generic names in capital letters and a distinct sense.
The Validity Of The Prescription: The prescription is valid for six months from the date of consultation. If the prescription contains the drugs which are often restricted from illegal use such as Morphine, Pethidine and Methadone, then that prescription would be valid for 28 days.
Who Can Write A Prescription?
Only the appropriate practitioners can write a prescription. The appropriate practitioners are as follows:-
Independent Prescribers: The professionals such as doctors, dentists, independent pharmacist prescribers and independent optometrist prescriber. The prescription should be written by a qualified person who analyses the health condition of the patient.
Supplementary Prescribers: The supplementary prescribers includes the pharmacists, nurses, diagnostics and physiotherapists. Their role is to continue the health care of the patient after an independent prescriber has assessed the health of a patient.
Prescription for Family or Friend: When an individual collects the prescription on behalf of the patient, he should be asked to confirm the details of the patient. As the consumption of wrong medicines can lead to severe consequences.
Factors affecting the irrational use of drugs:-
- Misinformation of drugs.
- Demands from patients.
- Lack of training to the prescribers.
- Supply of expired drugs.
- Self - medication by the patient.
- Lack of enforcement of regulations
- Risk of unwanted effects or adverse effects of medicines.
- Reduction in quality of drugs.