Medical prescription

Definition and Format of Medical Prescriptions

  • A prescription is a formal communication from a healthcare professional to a pharmacist, authorizing them to dispense a specific drug for a specific patient.
  • The symbol ℞, sometimes transliterated as R or Rx, is recorded in 16th-century manuscripts as an abbreviation of the Latin instruction 'recipe,' meaning receive.
  • Medieval prescriptions began with an instruction from the physician to the apothecary to compound certain materials.
  • To be accepted as a legal medical prescription, it needs to be filed by a qualified healthcare professional.
  • The prescription may be entered into an electronic medical record system, transmitted electronically to a pharmacy, or handwritten on preprinted prescription forms.

Contents of a Medical Prescription

  • Every prescription contains information about who prescribed it, who it is valid for, and what is prescribed.
  • Additional information may be required depending on jurisdiction, drug type, or patient group.
  • Prescriptions may specify whether the pharmacist can substitute a generic version of the drug.
  • In some jurisdictions, the age of the child may need to be included on the prescription.
  • Prescriptions often include instructions on taking the medication and may specify the number of refills allowed.

Drug Equivalence and Non-Substitution

  • Many brand name drugs have cheaper generic substitutes that are therapeutically and biochemically equivalent.
  • Prescriptions may indicate whether the pharmacist can substitute a generic version of the drug.
  • Different jurisdictions have different ways of communicating substitution preferences, such as preprinted lines or handwritten phrases.
  • In the UK's National Health Service, doctors are reminded to consider using generic drugs to allocate resources effectively.
  • Non-substitution preferences may be indicated to ensure the patient receives the specific brand necessary for their treatment.

Prescriptions for Children

  • In some jurisdictions, it may be a legal requirement to include the age of the child on the prescription.
  • Pediatric prescriptions may advise including the age and weight of the child for accurate dosing.
  • Including the age on the prescription is generally helpful.
  • The weight of the child can also be included for better medication management.
  • Providing accurate information about the child helps ensure safe and appropriate medication use.

Label and Instructions

  • Prescriptions in the US often have a label box for the pharmacist to provide information about the medication and instructions.
  • The label may include the indication for the medication, assisting the pharmacist in checking for errors.
  • Some prescriptions specify the number of repeats or refills allowed.
  • Regulations may restrict certain drugs from being refilled.
  • Instructions for taking the medication are provided on the label or separately to the patient.

Medical prescription Data Sources

Reference URL
Knowledge Graph