When you bring a new prescription in to the pharmacy, it is the pharmacists responsibility to ensure the medication prescribed is appropriate. The pharmacist will check if the medication is correct for the condition being treated. They will check the dose, frequency and duration of the prescribed medication. If an error is found, the prescription may need to be altered before it can be administered to the patient.
The ability of the pharmacist to adapt the prescription prevents the pharmacist from having to call the doctor, or have the patient go back in to see the doctor. This also ensures the medication is started as quickly as possible.
What is a prescription adaptation?
When the pharmacist knows patient well enough, is familiar with the patient’s medical condition being treated and feels confident to assess the patient, they may adapt a prescription if they feel it was written incorrectly or not necessarily written such as to provide the optimal benefit from that drug regimen. For example, the dose of a medication may be too high or too low for a particular patient and therefore, the patient would benefit from an adjustment of that medication dose. This may be an opportunity for the pharmacist to adapt that prescription to improve drug therapy.
I think the dose of my current medication is too low, can the pharmacist increase it?
No. The pharmacist can only adapt brand new prescriptions for a few reasons.
When can the pharmacist change the dose of a NEW prescription?
The pharmacist can alter the dose if the adjustment is required due to the patient’s age, weight, or organ function. For example, if your child weighs 20 kg, but the doctor calculated the dose of their antibiotic based on the weight of the child at the last visit, say 10 kg, then the pharmacist can alter the dose because of the weight.
Why is the pharmacists name on my prescription bottle instead of the doctors?
Once a pharmacist adapts a prescription, the pharmacist becomes the prescriber. The responsibility of the prescribed medication now falls with the pharmacist.
Will my doctor be told about the change made to the prescription?
If the pharmacist changes the dose of the medication they must notify the original prescriber. The pharmacist who changes the dose must notify the doctor of the type and amount of the drug prescribed, the rationale for the change and the instructions to the patient.