Definition, Parts, Handling and Errors in Prescription : Pharmaguideline

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Definition, Parts, Handling and Errors in Prescription

Learn about definition and meaning of prescription, parts, handling, prescription format and errors in prescription of medicines.

Definition of Prescription

A prescription is a written instruction for medicine from a physician or a registered medical practitioner. There is a link between the physician and the pharmacist when it comes to prescribing. Doctors, dentists, and pharmacists are examples of medical practitioners.

Physician (RMP) -------> Pharmacist --------> Patient

Prescription Meaning

Praescriptus, which means "before writing", is the Latin phrase that gives rise to the English word "prescription."
Prior to compounding and administering a medication, it was necessary to write a prescription.

Parts of Prescription

As an example, a common prescription might include:
1. Prescriber office information
2. Date
3. Patient data (Name, Age, Sex, and Address of the Patient)
4. Superscription (Symbol ℞)
5. Inscription (Medication prescribed)- Main part of a prescription
6. Subscription (Direction to Pharmacist/ Dispenser)
7. Signatura or Transcription (Direction for Patient)
8. Renewal instructions
9. Prescriber’s signature and registration number

1. Physician (Prescriber) Office Information

When a patient becomes ill, having information on their physician is vital to being able to reach them in an urgent situation The prescription contains the following information.
  • Name of the doctor or office;
  • Address with phone number and e-mail;
  • Prescription no. (required when calling the pharmacy for a refill)

2. Date of the Prescription

The top of the prescription should have the date. As a result, a pharmacist can quickly determine the date of the prescription. If the prescription is being refilled, knowing when the last time the drug was dispensed is also helpful.
The date protects the patient from abusing a medication that is habit-forming.

3. Patient Data

This section should contain the patient's name, age, weight, gender, and address. This is a very necessary feature since it is used to identify the person.
Identifying information such as the patient's name and address is required. Child patients must provide their age, weight, and gender in order to determine the necessary dose.

4. Superscription

This is the section of the prescription that contains the sign "Rx", which stands for "Take Thou" It's a Latin term, and it's a good one. You take is a common expression in English.
In the past, the sign was thought to have come from the Jupiter sign. God of healing Jupiter is a Greek deity. The patient's fast recovery was requested by using this sign.

5. Inscription (Medication Prescribed)

The inscription, which is the most important portion of the prescription, contains information about the drug's composition and dose. The medication may be either an official or non-official formulation of some kind.
a) Official Preparation (i.e., from pharmacopoeia): The name of the preparation is the only thing written. E.g., Piperazine Citrate Elixir IP.
b) Non-official Preparation: Each ingredient's quantity and preparation type will be specified.

6. Subscription

In the prescription, the subscription contains instructions for the pharmacist on how to produce a dose. This section of the prescription specifies the number of dosage units and the amount to be administered. E.g., 10 Tabs of Paracetamol, for instance (that means 10 pieces of paracetamol tablet).

7. Signature

To be printed on the label.
"Signature" is the most common way to refer to it. The prescription is completed by signing the prescription. t.i.d (three times a day), b.i.d (two times a day), and o.d (one day) are used in the signature (once a day). Signed and stamped prescriptions are issued by a licensed medical professional.
Prescription Sample

Handling of Prescription

The handling of the prescription is crucial. The pharmacist should follow the following steps when processing a prescription for compounding and dispensing:
1. Receiving
2. Reading and checking
3. Collecting and weighing the materials
4. Compounding, packaging and labeling

1. Receiving

The pharmacist must get the prescription. While accepting a prescription, a pharmacist should not alter his/her facial expression in any way. It creates the appearance that the patient is puzzled or stunned after seeing the prescription.

2. Reading and Checking

Behind the counter, the prescription should be checked after it is received. The validity of the prescription should be verified. Verify the prescriber's signature and the date of the prescription. In order to properly fill up a prescription, the pharmacist must read all of the lines and words. He/she must not make any guesses about the words. As soon as he or she has any doubts, a pharmacist should call another pharmacist or a prescriber.

3. Collecting and Weighing the Material

Materials should be retrieved from shelves or drawers prior to compounding a script. On the left-hand side of the balance, all of the materials are maintained. Each material should be placed on the correct side of the balance once it has been measured. After the prescription components have been compounded, they are returned to the shelves or drawers. Three times each container of material should be inspected during compounding.
(i) As soon as they are removed from the shelves/drawers
(ii) Measurement of materials.
(iii) When the containers are placed back on the shelves or drawers, the process is complete.

4. Compounding, Packaging and Labelling

It is recommended that just one prescription be prepared at one time. Clean surfaces should be used during compounding. Each piece of equipment must be thoroughly cleaned and dried before use. It should be created under the supervision of the doctor or in accordance with pharmacopoeia or formulary instructions. It is important to fill the containers with the prepared compounds. The container should be clearly marked with a label.

Source of Errors in Prescription

Medication or prescription mistakes can occur for a variety of reasons.

1. Legibility:

• The handwritten prescription might be difficult to read in some cases.
• Medicines are often misspelled. Metrix and Metriz are two examples. It's easy to confuse these two brands. Metriz, on the other hand, includes metronidazole, and Metrix, glucosamine.

2. Checking:

To recheck the entire medicine, no one is accessible to do so.

3. Too Many Customers:

The dispenser needs additional time to adequately manage a large number of clients. As a result, mistakes arise when consumers are pressed for time.

4. Lack of Concentrations:

If they do not, every dispenser should focus on prescriptions. There is a problem.

5. Too many phone calls and social media:

The use of a mobile phone during business hours should be avoided or turned off.

6. Lack of Experience:

In this area, experience is crucial.

Frequently Asked Questions on Prescription

Q: What is a prescription?

A prescription is a medical instruction for medicines written by a registered medical practitioner or doctor.

Q: What are the types of prescriptions?

Prescription is of two types.
1. Precompunding prescription: Prescriptions that are already prepared. These are very common prescriptions that are given by most of the doctors for example Paracetamol tablets.
2. Extrampronous Prescription: These prescriptions are formulated by the pharmacists according to the recommendation of the doctor.

Q: What is Rx meaning?

Rx stands for the Latin word "recipe" and it means "to take".  Rx is written by doctors when they prescribe medicines.

Q: How to write a prescription?

A prescription is written in four parts; patient name, prescribed medicines, amount to be taken and signature of the doctor.
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Ankur Choudhary is India's first professional pharmaceutical blogger, author and founder of, a widely-read pharmaceutical blog since 2008. Sign-up for the free email updates for your daily dose of pharmaceutical tips.
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