What is a Prescription?

This page answers the question, "What is a Prescription?"

A prescription (℞) is a written order by a physician or medical doctor to a pharmacist in the form of medication instructions for an individual patient.

It can also be defined as an order to take certain medications.

A prescription has legal implications; this means the prescriber must assume his responsibility for the clinical care of the patient.

Recently, the term “prescription” has known a wider usage being used for clinical assessments, laboratory tests or imaging studies.

What Are The Main Things
On An Rx?



  • Name of medical practice or physician,

  • physical address of medical practice or physician (if multiple doctors are listed on a prescription, usually the doctor will circle his or her name for clarification),

  • phone number of the medical practice/physician,

  • name of the patient,

  • the date the prescription was written

    • All prescriptions, except for class II-V drugs, expire one year after they were written.

    • Class II-V drugs expire 6 months after they were written.

  • medication name,

  • medication strength,

  • sig (or directions to the patient, usually written in medical language or abbreviated medically),

  • number of refills, if any,

    • “PRN” refills means as many refills as that patient needs for 1 year

    • Class II medications never have refills-a new prescription must be brought to the pharmacy each time the patient needs that medication

    • Class III-V medications are only allowed 5 refills(the original fill plus 5 refills)

  • a DAW Code (or dispense as written code)

    • The most common DAW code is DAW 0, which means that the generic drug was substituted for the brand name drug.

    • DAW 1 means that the prescriber mandates that only the BRAND name medication be given to the patient.

    • A DAW 2 means that the BRAND name medication is filled at the patients request.

  • a prescriber’s signature (a prescription is incomplete without this important part of the prescription.)

  • the prescribers DEA Number and/or their NPI Number.

Prescriptions and Prescriber's Handwriting

Unfortunately many handwritten prescriptions are illegible. It is believed that illegible prescriptions kill more than 7,000 patients every year.

Physicians use many abbreviations derived from Latin phrases and these must be understood correctly by the pharmacist.

However, abbreviations should be used cautiously because many of them carry an increased risk for confusion.

There are also established conventions for prescription-writing, in order to avoid any misinterpretation. Some of these conventions are:

  • prescriptions must be written with permanent ink;
  • decimal points must be used carefully to avoid ambiguity;
  • units as “teaspoons” or “tablespoons” should be avoided;
  • the degree symbol (°) should not be used for hours (e.g., "q 1-3°" for every 1 – 3 hours), because it can be confused with a zero;
  • usage directions should clearly specify times (7 am, 7 pm) rather than frequency (two times a day);
  • directions should be written in full in English (even if some Latin abbreviations are still being used);
  • numbers should be written as words and numerals (e.g., ("dispense #20 (twenty)");
  • apothecary/avoirdupois units and symbols of measure must be avoided; metric units should be always used;
  • in case of refills, the minimum time between repeats and also the exact number of repeats should be clearly specified.

In case of an illegible handwritten prescription, the pharmacist or technician must contact the physician who wrote it for clarifications.

Another reason the pharmacist may want to contact the physician is in the case of suspected Forgery.

PharmTech Premium Package

Plus...FREE Gifts!! Read on...

Exclusively from 
Pharmacy-Tech-Resources.com ONLY

So, you've found this page and you're wondering "What is the Premium PharmTech Package and Why Am I Going to Invest in it?"

Clearly you need to know how this Premium Collection of e-Books and e-Reports has the potential to impact your life, improve your career, your job satisfaction, your workplace relationships, and maybe even your income.  Can an E-Resource (Electronic Resource) Package do that? Read on...

This Fantastic Collection of 17 e-Books and e-Reports is Hand-picked just for you.  You see, I'm pretty sure I know something about you...

  • Have you made your share of mistakes? (Don't worry, we're all human. Everyone of us has.  Coping with Pharmacy Errors, an e-Book resource I wrote that even I turn back to now and then; is included in this package.
  • are you tired of the head honcho pharmacist getting in your face and micromanaging every little detail of your job?  (Enter My Best Practices for the Assertive PharmTech  e-Book, with proven techniques to help you manage your workplace relationships, included.)
  • are you confused and lost when it comes to the minutia of how to override every last insurance rejection?  (Theres an easier way. Enter Resolving Insurance Rejections (now with Every DUR Code) a quite Handy e-Book, included.

What would you pay to learn...

  • The exact steps to follow to stack the deck in your favor in order to get yourself a raise.  (See Keys to PharmTech Career Success e-Book, included.

Imagine, just for a moment, what work would look like for you, after you invest in yourself and get this VALUABLE, JAM-PACKED e-Book Package... and apply what you've learned...

  1. You now recover and learn from your mistakes faster.
  2. You are now more assertive and know how to better handle coworker and customer relationships.
  3. You understand how to quickly resolve more Insurance Rejections 
  4. Maybe you've even earned a well-deserved raise! (Congrats!)

While you're sitting there reading this page, you begin to understand why you can't afford to waste any more time getting less than everything you deserve in your pharmacy tech career.

As you think about what you need in your career, you begin to realize that you have only one choice to make, and that is to invest in yourself and grab this Premium PharmTech Package.

Scroll down to see all of the e-Resources included in this Deal...

This PREMIUM Collection of PharmTech Resources Might Just Transform YOUR Career! 

Plus... the FREE EXTRAS below:


E-Resources included in this Package:

Volume #1:
Coping With Pharmacy Errors
PharmTech Certification Demystified
Pharmacy Technician Settings
Latin Medical Abbreviations
Resolving Prescription Insurance Rejections
(now updated with EVERY(?) DUR Code)

Volume #2
HIPPA and The PharmTech
How to Become a Pharmacist/Roadmap to RPH
Pharmacy Systems of Measurement
Best Practices for the Assertive PharmTech
Keys to PharmTech Career Success


BONUS FREE GIFTS - Reports & E-Books:
Unofficial PTCB Exam #1: Questions & Answers
NEW Report: How To Cope With A
Hostile Workplace
NEW Report: Managing Overwhelm
At The Pharmacy
REPORT: Telephone Etiquette for PharmTechs
NEW: Pharmacy Dosage Forms
NEW: PharmTech Fundamentals & More
(so new, we don't even have an image for it yet!)
NEW: Time Management For PharmTechs

GRAB this valuable, Premium Collection NOW!
(Your competition may already have invested in it!) 

**NOW 50% OFF**
Normally $9.99, but now
 Half-Priced at $4.99

FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY

Pay via Paypal for IMMEDIATE Download :)

Click Buy Now to get YOUR COPY of this
Premium PharmTech Package, before this deal is gone!

Buy Now




Premium PharmTech Package

Powerful and Invaluable Knowledge from an

Experienced Pharmacy Insider is YOURS


Take Months off your Learning Curve and

Let me be Your Mentor,

revealing:

step-by-step,

easy-to-follow,

essential how-to guides

that you will download IMMEDIATELY!!


You are clicking on the "Buy It Now" button 

and Checking out Now (before this OFFER goes AWAY)

Add to Cart
Discount Code:

Didn't find what you were looking for? Use the box below to search this entire site.

Custom Search

Top of What is a Prescription?

Back to Home

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Page Mini-Summary

This page, "What is a Prescription?" discusses what a prescription is, the main things on a prescription, prescriber's handwriting, suspected forgeries, and more.

[?]Subscribe To This Site
  • XML RSS
  • follow us in feedly
  • Add to My Yahoo!


Didn't find what you were looking for? Use the box below to search this entire site.

Custom Search


Recent Articles

  1. Is it a HIPPA Violation if my pharmacy gave my prescription to someone else with the same last name?

    Aug 20, 17 11:17 PM

    My pharmacy gave my prescription to another patient with the same last name. Isn't this a HIPPA violation?

    Read More

  2. My 10 yr olds prescription -- Is The Following Situation a HIPPA Violation?

    Aug 20, 17 10:46 PM

    I know someone who is a pharmacy tech. My 10yr.olds medication was called into the pharmacy she works at. Her daughter and my daughters have an on off

    Read More

  3. Day Supply Question: When figuring Days Supply, does the calculation include the day it is filled?

    Aug 20, 17 10:31 PM

    Does the day supply calculation include the first day a prescription is filled?

    Read More