Days Supply Question: Do we always round down when after figuring the Days Supply, the answer includes a fraction?

Yes, Always Round Down When Figuring Days Supply and There is a Fraction

Yes, Always Round Down When Figuring Days Supply and There is a Fraction

When the days supply is calculated and the answer is a fraction do I always round down?

Example SIG: Take 1-2 tabs by mouth every 4-6 hours as needed for pain #20

Comments for Days Supply Question: Do we always round down when after figuring the Days Supply, the answer includes a fraction?

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Apr 24, 2020
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Yes, You always round down. Here is why...
by: David

The reason you round down is if you don't, the fractional medication that is left over does not typically last for the next full day. So to be true when calculating the Days Supply, which calculates the number of full days the supply of medication will last when taken at the maximum daily prescribed dose, this involves being exact. You want to calculate the number of days the medication will last. But you don't calculate fractional days. You wouldn't count a fractional day as a full day.

To use your example SIG to explain: Take 1-2 tablets by mouth every 4-6 hours as needed for pain #20.

The maximum daily dose is 12, which comes from 2 tabs every 4 hours (2 tabs x 6 daily doses). The only potential wrinkle we would have is if this were a pain medication, and/or a controlled substance. Also, if the provider indicated on the prescription the days supply that he or she required, then that would supersede doing this calculation. So in this question, as long as it is not a controlled medication or a pain medication, and as long as your pharmacy doesn't have any specific procedure or rule for this particular situation, the days supply would be 1 day. If you go into the next day, if taken at the maximum daily dose, you wouldn't have enough medication to take you fully through the next 24 hours. So you can't say that it will last for 2 days or be a 2 days supply.

Thank you for your question!

Jul 31, 2017
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Yes, Round Down
by: David

Yes, absolutely. You always round down when there is a fraction when you are figuring Days Supply.

Why? Because you always want to tell the patients' insurance company the exact amount of time the prescription will last (based on the quantity and the directions) but not longer.

In this example, with the medicine for pain, the sig/directions are:

"1-2 tablets po every 4-6 hours for pain." #20 pills

We figure the maximum amount of tablets that can be taken in one day and divide that into the quantity.

So, the maximum is 2 tablets every 4 hours. There are 6-four hour segments in 24 hours. Therefore, we multiply 2 tablets times 6 and come up with 12 tablets max in one day.

So now, we have 20 tablets. We divide 12 into 20 and come up with 1.6666 and because the remaining 8 tablets (20-12=8) will not last the patient another full day given at the maximum possible amount (based on the directions and the quantity left), we would then round down.

The reason we round down, for example, is due to the fact that if the doctor writes another prescription for the patient, for the same drug and same directions, but for a higher quantity, the insurance company already has the first prescription on record. Usually the first prescription needs to be used up at least 3/4 of the way before a new prescription or refill will be able to be run thru the insurance.

If the days supply is not calculated correctly it could delay the filling of the next prescription.

This will cause problems.

The customer may be frustrated, because they need their medicine and may have run out.

This can lead to negative health outcomes and a delay of treating the medical problem / illness / issue.

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