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davidtrump

The “Why” Portion, How Much & Refills

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The “Why” Portion

Many prescriptions that you write will be for “as needed” medications. This is known as a “PRN” (from the Latin pro re nata, meaning as circumstances may require). For example, you may write for ibuprofen every 4 hours “as needed.” What is commonly missed is the “reason.” Why would it be needed? You need to add this to the prescription. You should write “PRN headache” or “PRN pain” so that the patient knows when to take it.

How Much

The “how much” instruction tells the pharmacist how many pills should be dispensed, or how many bottles, or how many inhalers. This number is typically written after “Disp #.” I highly recommend that you spell out the number after the # sign, though this is not required. For example: I would write “Disp #30 (thirty).” This prevents someone from tampering with the prescription and adding an extra 0 after 30, turning 30 into 300.

Refills

The last instruction on the prescription informs the pharmacist how many times the patient will be allowed to use the same exact prescription, i.e. how many refills are allowed. For example, let’s take refills for oral contraceptives for women. A physician may prescribe 1 pack of an oral contraceptive with 11 refills, which would last the patient a full year. This is convenient for both the patient and physician for any medications that will be used long term.

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