Although there are many ways your doctor can get your prescription to the pharmacy (phone in, fax, electronically, etc.), many doctors will still write out a paper prescription. If your doctor hands you a prescription, there are a few important things you should know and/or look for.
1. Is your name correct?
Believe it or not, there are times where patients bring a prescription to the pharmacy with an incorrect first or last name. If this happens to you, the pharmacist will have to call your doctor to ensure that you have the correct prescription, despite the wrong name.
You can prevent this clerical error by always double checking any paper prescription that has been handed to you. This quick check can save you time at the pharmacy!
2. Is it for a pharmacy?
Although most prescriptions are meant for the pharmacy, there are several occasions where I have received a prescription for things other than a medication. Some things your doctor may prescribe to you, that isn’t a medication, include:
- Prescriptions for blood work, labs, or scans.
- Prescriptions with instructions for how to care for your condition.
- Notes for certain over-the-counter medications you might need.
- Certain medical devices that need to be obtained from a medical supply store. This can include things like canes, walkers, nebulizers or compression stockings.
3. Is it the medication you were expecting?
It’s unfortunate, but many patients I have spoken to at the pharmacy don’t know what their medication is being used for, let alone what is actually being prescribed. It is important to find out what is being prescribed, and what the medication is treating before leaving the doctor’s office. Informed patients are equipped with the knowledge necessary to make important decisions about their own health!
4. Did your doctor sign the prescription?
This is a big one! Pharmacies will not accept a prescription that is not signed by your doctor. A quick glance at your prescription to make sure that your doctor has signed the prescription can save you time at the pharmacy!
5. Is anything missing?
No one expects you, as the patient, to understand or decipher what your doctor wrote on your prescription. However, taking a quick glance could save you time in the long run.
There are a few minor details, if not filled out properly, that could delay you from receiving your prescription. Specifically, be sure that your prescription contains the date, doctor prescribing credentials, quantity, directions, and strength.