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Can a Pharmacist Change a Doctor’s Prescription?

After diagnosis and treatment by your family doctor, the pharmacist is the individual you run to for medication requirements. They are trained to interpret your doctor’s instructions and administer to you the prescribed medication.

In regards to whether or not a pharmacist can alter your prescription, the answer is both yes and no. Usually, a pharmacist is not allowed to change the prescription, unless with guidelines from your doctor. 

However, due to specific local regulations, interactions with other medications, cost concerns, tolerance issues, insurance coverage, and therapeutic targets, a pharmacist can still change a doctor’s prescription. However, the change has to be from one brand of medication to another, in the same class. 

Local Specific Regulations

In the majority of American states, pharmacists are allowed to substitute one brand of medication with another.

Pharmacy has what your body needs

However, the substitute must be in the same class as the prescribed medication. This happens under various circumstances for instance, if the prescribed medication is not available because of various reasons such as logistical issues. It also happens when the patient experiences undesired side effects such as allergies from the original form. Substitution can also be allowed in state regulations if the original medication is too expensive such that the patient cannot afford it through cash or their insurance coverage. 

Interactions with Other Drugs 

Due to the unique genetic predispositions, body type, metabolic rate and overall resilience, interactions with different medications vary from one person to another. One person may interact very well with a particular medication while a different person may experience undesired side effects such as allergies, with the same medication. In this understanding, a pharmacist is allowed to alter your prescription when you are allergic to certain compounds in the original medication, a process known as pharmaceutical compounding.  

Insurance Coverage 

In most instances, family doctors usually prescribe the original form of a certain medication class. However, upon approaching a pharmacist’s counter, you are told that your insurance only covers the generic type of the same medication class. In this case, the pharmacist is allowed to substitute the original with a generic form but in the same medication class.  

Cost Concerns

Original forms of certain medication classes are very expensive, compared to their generic forms. Just because you cannot afford the prescribed medication does not have to condemn you to a lifetime of suffering. To achieve maximum and faithful adherence to your prescription under your budget, the pharmacist is allowed to substitute your prescription with a different cheaper form. 

Improve Adherence

Due to their unique genetic predisposition, body type and overall resilience, some people find it difficult to use medications in different forms. For instance, some people may not be able to swallow the tablet form of a particular medication. Other people may not respond so well or may not be willing to be administered with certain injections. In this understanding, pharmacists may change the prescription to the form that a patient is comfortable with. If for instance, a patient dislikes a certain tablet because of its smell or taste, the pharmacists may introduce the desired flavors to make it comfortable for the patient. 

They may also replace one form of medication with another for instance injection with a drug. This process of altering some compounds of a drug to suit the specific needs of a patient is known as pharmaceutical compounding. It is aimed at ensuring that the patient does not miss their medication. It also helps to enhance a patient’s adherence to their prescription for an effective therapeutic target. 

Therapeutic Target

Sometimes a pharmacist is allowed to change prescriptions by doctors if it is in a lower dosage, for specific health requirements. In this case, the pharmacist will first confirm with your prescriber whether it is okay to increase your dosage or lower it. Similarly, a pharmacist is allowed to substitute your doctor’s prescription with another if the prescription lacks enough potency to support your health needs. To achieve a patient’s specific therapeutic target for instance blood sugar or pressure, a pharmacist is allowed to replace your prescription with a different form of the same medication class. 

As you may have realized in all the above-discussed circumstances when pharmacists can alter your prescription, they have to do so under the guidelines from your doctor. This is because your family doctor is familiar with your medical history, a reason for which they understand your health needs better. Their insight comes in handy when a pharmacist has no choice but to change your prescription. 

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