A medical prescription should be clearly written for easy reading and to prevent unnecessary mistakes in interpretation. If not written clearly, check with the prescriber and Never guess. Not all medications require prescriptions. There are certain medications on the market that can be purchased over the counter, thus their name Over-the-Counter drugs (OTC.)
Definition of terms
• Medical prescription: A legal written order from a qualified prescriber to a qualified dispenser which contains instructions to dispense or compound and administer specified medicines to a clearly mentioned patient.
• Prescriber: means any medical practitioner who is licensed or authorized to write prescription.
• An extemporaneous prescription is the type of prescription in which the prescriber selects the drugs, doses and dosage form desired and the pharmacist prepares the medication.
• Dispenser: means any person who is licensed or authorized to dispense drugs and/or medical supplies to recipients.
• Patient: means a person or an animal with ill health
• Medical supply: means any article that may be used on the inner or outer part of the body for diagnosis or treatment of disease in man or animal.
• Prescription drugs: means drugs which are dispensed with prescription only.
• Over-the-counter drugs: means drugs which are dispensed even without prescription.
Parts of a Medical Prescription
• Name of the institution/Health facility: Full address of the institution
• Prescriber information and signature: Name, address and signature of the prescriber together with professional qualification. (ACO, CO, AMO, MD or DS etc.) Written and signed in indelible/permanent ink
• Patient information: Patient information which includes the patient full name, address, hospital registration number, age and /or body weight of the patient.
• Date prescription was written: The date prescription was written showing day, month and year.
• The superscription (Rx symbol): Consists of the heading where the symbol Rx (an abbreviation for recipe, the Latin for ‘take thou’) is found. The Rx symbol comes before the inscription
• Inscription (medication prescribed): Is also called the body of the prescription. Provides the names and quantities of the chief ingredients of the prescription to be dispensed. The dose/strength and dosage form, such as tablet, Suspension, capsule, syrup is found
• The subscription (dispensing instruction to the pharmacist): This gives specific directions for the pharmacist on how to compound the medication. These directions to the pharmacist are usually expressed in Latin or may consist of a short sentence such as: “make a solution,” “mix and place into 10 capsules or “dispense 10 tablets.”
• Signatura (Direction to the patient): This gives instructions to the patient for use; on how to take the drug, (route by which the drug is to be administered); How much, how many times per day (frequency of administration), when and how long the drug is to be taken. These instructions are preceded by the symbol “S” or “Sig.” from the Latin, meaning “mark.” Or “Label”. Also signature may contain, special instructions, warnings considered important for the patient.