What makes a prescription a prescription?

What is a prescription?

A prescription is a legal document, and therefore must have certain information contained on it to make it such. The following components must be on a prescription:

  • Date the prescription was written
  • Name and address of the patient
  • Name of drug or drug product
  • Strength of drug and dosage form
  • Route of administration
  • Quantity to be dispensed
  • Instructions for use
  • Number of refills, if any
  • The prescriber’s name and phone number
  • The prescriber’s signature

How long is a prescription valid for?

The prescription is valid for 1 year from the date that it was written.

Can I photocopy my prescription for personal use?

No. A prescription can not be copied unless done so by a pharmacist. The pharmacist must place appropriate stamps and notes on a copied prescription and sign the copy.

The doctor wrote the prescription on a large piece of paper, can I trim the edges?

No. The paper the doctor wrote on should not be altered in any way. The prescription is your doctor’s communication to the pharmacist.

The doctor made a mistake, can I write on my prescription or cross something out if I don’t need it?

No. If there is a mistake, notify the pharmacist and they will contact the doctor to have it corrected. Altering a legal document, such as a prescription is considered forgery.

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