Pharmacy technicians use fingertip units (FTUs) to calculate the days supply.
Ideally, the medical practitioner supplies the pharmacy tech with specific body area(s) to be treated. The pharmacy tech can then quantify how much medication will be needed on a daily basis.
If you are a pharmacy technician, consider this a brief refresher of what you already know, but may have forgotten.
For those of you, who are laypersons, fingertip units and how pharmacies use them to figure out the days supply (number of days your medication will last) are explained in easy-to-understand language.
When a medical practitioner prescribes a cream or ointment, i.e. steroids, the correct dosage may be specified in fingertip units. This methodology for application of topical meds has only been available about 15 years. However, FTUs have proven much easier to understand than previous instructions, such as "apply sparingly" or "use generous amount".
One fingertip unit = quantity of topical ointment/cream that when squeezed from a tube, reaches from the tip of an adult finger to the distal, or first crease of the index finger. One FTU is approximately 0.5g of the product.
Now, put your fingers together and observe the flat of your hand. One FTU treats an affected amount of skin twice the size of the flat of your hand.
Correct daily dosage in fingertip units is based on where the affected area of skin is located on the body. Not only is your skin thinner, according to body part, it is more corticosteroid-sensitive in certain areas.
Here are FTUs for various (adult) body areas:
They are. However FTUs for children are measured with an adult's index finger. Use a gloved hand to estimate the size of the affected area on the child or check standard FTUs for children (below) to determine how much topical ointment to use.
Here are FTUs for children:
Pharmacy technicians refer to the number of days the totality of dispensed meds will last as Days Supply. Generally, they calculate Days Supply by taking how much medication is prescribed per day and dividing that number by the total amount dispensed.
Two fingertip units are approximately 1gm of corticosteroid. Now, suppose the affected area of your skin equals the flats of eight hands. Four fingertip units or 2gm are needed per dose.
The doctor ordered a tube containing a 30gm steroid cream.
What is the correct days supply?
The answer would depend upon how many times per day the person is directed to apply this topical medication. Presuming the person should use the cream one time each day, the days supply would equal 15.
To calculate days supply, divide the total grams (30) by the number of grams needed per day (2). Or: 30gm/tube divided by day/2gm = 15 days.
Shall we make the calculation more difficult?
The directions are: apply to left side of right hand b.i.d. (twice a day) for 10 days. The cream the doctor ordered comes in a 30g tube.
According to the above list of FTUs, it takes 1.0 FTU to treat the entire back of a hand.
Therefore, to treat one-half of a hand, the person needs to apply about 0.5 FTU of medicine to the affected area, for each use. But, since he must use the cream two times each day, she will use 1.0 FTU daily.
One FTU is approximately 0.5g of cream. Based on 0.5g per day for 10 days, the person would use a total of 5g. Or, day/0.5 X days/10 = 5g. The 30g tube is more than adequate for the person's needs.
An inaccurate Days Supply can result in various problems. The person would receive too much or not enough medication for the allotted number of days.
The person's insurance company may reject the claim when Days Supply is incorrect.
Red warning flags could manifest when too much medication is dispensed, leading to an audit of the offending pharmacy by the insurance company.
To reiterate, the doctor should note the quantity of topical ointment on the RX. In the event specific information is not incorporated in the prescriber's instructions or if directions are ambiguous, such as "use as directed by doctor", the pharmacist must follow-up with the doctor's office.
In consequence of receiving an inadequate supply of medication, the person would need refills frequently. More red flags for the insurance company!
These are important reasons pharmacy technicians should adhere to FTUs for determining Days Supply.
The FTU is an important tool when pharmacists counsel patients on the correct use of topical steroids. A typical counseling session would include:
When people are undertreated, the drug is less effective. Pharmacists can be highly instrumental in correct treatment by explaining FTUs and side-effects of the preparation.
At present, FTUs appear to be the best method for expressing correct amounts of topical ointments or creams.
Grab this Collection of OVER
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 "STAT"?"
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 collection of digital downloads do that? Read on...
I'd like to get this collection into the hands of as many Techs as possible, so we have lowered the price: Normally $24.99, but NOW, only $19.99 for a LIMITED TIME ONLY.
This Fantastic Collection of 25 e-Books and e-Reports is Hand-picked just for you. You see, I'm pretty sure I know something about you...
What would you pay to learn...
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...
These examples are just the "tip of the iceberg" on all the stellar content you will soon be reading and applying.
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 resources (PDF digital downloads) included in this UNBELIEVABLE Deal...
Premium PharmTech Package
Powerful and Invaluable Knowledge from an
Experienced Pharmacy Insider is YOURS:
Take Months off your Learning Curve!
Let this Premium E-Book Package
help you, so you won't have to reinvent the wheel!
Invest in yourself and your career!
You are clicking on the "Buy It Now" button ;)
and Checking Out Now
(before this SPECIAL OFFER goes AWAY for Good)
I've made it easy for you: You can even use Paypal!
Normally $24.99, but NOW, only $19.99 for a LIMITED TIME ONLY.
Didn't find what you were looking for? Use the box below to search this entire site.
Jul 31, 18 10:26 PM
This page answers questions about Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit offered by Medicare. Topics include: Who is eligible? What are some of the Costs? Factors to Consider when choosing a p…
Jul 29, 18 06:23 PM
It seems like some of the errors that have been recently made by our pharmacy techs are actually really preventable. Does the FDA do anything about
Jul 29, 18 05:24 PM
At 3:00 P.M., a pharmacist received an order to add 30 mEq/L of potassium chloride to the already running intravenous fluid for a patient. After checking
Jul 29, 18 05:12 PM
My pharmacy tells me I can get it 3 days early but then they wont fill it but 2 days early. Is the law on Xanax 2 or 3 days ?
Jul 13, 18 10:36 PM
I am looking for a tutor to help me prepare for the pharmacy technician certification exam. I live in area code 85373. Can anyone recommend a tutor?
Jul 13, 18 10:25 PM
I am to instill 3 drops into both eyes 3 times a day. Received prescription, of 3 bottles/vials, on 16 Mar 18 and need to know how to figure how long
Jul 13, 18 10:17 PM
If the name of the drug is mentioned in order to further assist the patient with getting them the medication, is this a violation of hipaa?
Jul 13, 18 09:56 PM
Recently there was a wrong-drug mistake at the pharmacy I'm employed at as a technician. One of my tech friends (who works at a different pharmacy) asked
Jun 28, 18 11:01 PM
The intern sent the following orders down: Mr. Brown, 50 mg protamine sulfate STAT. You check Mr. Brown’s chart, and he received 3,000 units of heparin.
Apr 10, 18 11:13 PM
This page covers what a Prior Authorization is and why it happens.
Apr 10, 18 10:00 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
Apr 10, 18 09:26 PM
My pharmacy told my mom I didn't pick up my meds. Yes, I do have same last name but I have a different address; for all they know, that wasn't my mom.
Apr 08, 18 02:43 PM
Vitamin Resources - Information about Vitamin A, The B Vitamins, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D.
Mar 27, 18 10:20 PM
under the hippa law can a pharmacist and a pharmacy tech speak about a clients medical record amongs each other and cam pharmacy techs counsel the patient
Mar 27, 18 10:11 PM
Our pharmacy manager wants us to report any pharmacy error that happens. Why is it important to report errors? Where should we report the errors to?