PVMA Keystone Veterinarian Spring 2020 - 23

made were on the pharmacy's end as opposed to on the
veterinarian's end as a copy of the script can be kept in the
patient's record. An additional advantage of written scripts
is that they allow owners to price shop on their own time
instead of your staff having to make multiple phone calls.
The most common problems with written scripts arise from
unclear or illegible prescriptions. In order to avoid errors,
follow these tips:
*	 Type scripts whenever possible. Ensure any
	 handwritten scripts are clearly legible.
*	 Avoid abbreviations as they can be misinterpreted,
	 especially SID, as this is not recognized in human
	medicine.4
* 	All written scripts should include the following
	 information: date, patient name and species, owner
	 name and address, drug name, drug strength,
	 directions for use, quantity to dispense, number of
	 refills, signature of prescriber, and name and address
	 of prescriber.
* 	Consider including additional helpful information such
	 as patient weight, which may help the pharmacist in 	
	 verifying dosages.
* 	Scripts for controlled substances should include the
	 prescriber's DEA number.
* The best way to prevent errors is to legibly write out
	 the entire script to prevent misinterpretation: i.e. -
	 Gabapentin 100 mg capsules - Give 1 capsule by mouth
	 every 12 hours instead of "1 cap PO BID."
* 	Write "no substitutions" or "brand medically necessary"
	 if applicable.
Phoned Prescriptions
It is legal to provide a prescription over the phone; however,
since the communication is verbal, if an error occurs it
is difficult to know where it originated, especially when
documentation is lacking. While it may be easier to leave
a message, it is always better to speak to a live person
who can confirm the information you are giving them. We
recommend keeping thorough records of who you spoke to
at the pharmacy and the exact instructions sent. Do not be
afraid to spell out information, especially if prescribing a drug
that has a similar name to another product. Additionally,
to prevent errors in what was heard, ask the pharmacist
or pharmacy technician to repeat back the order to verify
accuracy.
Prescriptions by Fax or Email
Transmission of documents by fax seems to be decreasing
in frequency in nearly every industry but pharmacy. While
fax transmissions are a legal way to provide prescriptions
and offer the advantage of documenting a copy of the script
that was sent, prescription delays may occur if faxes are
not received or transmitted successfully. These delays often
result in frustrated owners. Email may be more reliable than

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fax but can still result in delays. Whenever you are transmitting
a script by fax or email, document when a request was received
and when it was sent back to the pharmacy in addition to keeping
a copy of the document in the record.
In our next article, we'll discuss specific examples of common
prescription errors and tips for prevention. In the meantime,
feel free to submit questions to our experts at
bit.ly/pharm-headaches.
References
1. AVMA Staff. National Provider Information Numbers and Veterinarians.
Retrieved from https://www.avma.org/advocacy/state-local-issues/
national-provider-identifier-numbers-and-veterinarians. Accessed
March 7, 2020.
2. DEA. Practitioner's Manual Section II: General Requirements. Retrieved
from https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/pubs/manuals/pract/section2.
htm. Accessed March 7, 2020.
3. AVMA. Pharmacy and Prescription Issues. Retrieved from https://www.
avma.org/resources-tools/animal-health-and-welfare/animal-health/
pharmacy. Accessed Sept. 15, 2018.
4. Kim-Jung L. A Microgram of Prevention is Worth a Milligram of Cure:
Preventing Medication Errors in Animals. Retrieved from https://www.
fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/ResourcesforYou/ucm214772.htm#FDA_s_
Initiative. Accessed Sept. 15, 2018.

Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association | 23


http://www.alliedvc.com http://www.bit.ly/pharm-headaches https://www.avma.org/advocacy/state-local-issues/national-provider-identifier-numbers-and-veterinarians https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/pubs/manuals/pract/section2.htm https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/animal-health-and-welfare/animal-health/pharmacy https://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/ResourcesforYou/ucm214772.htm#FDA_s_Initiative

PVMA Keystone Veterinarian Spring 2020

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