The More You Know…prescription knowledge

Prescription interpretation is a big part of being a pharmacy technician, but here are a few more things you will need to know for your job as well as the exam.

Prescription Label

The label on the medication bottle should contain the following:

  • Pharmacy name, address, and telephone number
  • Patient’s name
  • Prescription number
  • Dispense date
  • Medication name, strength, dosage, and quantity
  • Directions for use
  • Prescriber’s name
  • Refills allowed
  • Expiration date
  • Any required auxiliary labels
  • NDC number

Auxiliary Label

Any additional label required on the medication bottle aside from the prescription label. Some examples are:

Take With Food
May Cause Drowsiness
Shake Well Before Using

Reference Books

For the exam, you will need to know different types of reference books. On the job, this information will be, most likely, electronically-accessed. Here are a few reference books that you need to know for the exam:

  • United States Pharmacopeia: identifies drug standards
  • Facts & Comparisons: drug information reference
  • Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR): drug information; contains inserts from drug manufacturers
  • Redbook: average wholesale pricing of prescriptions
  • The Orange Book: advises on therapeutic equivalencies of drugs
  • Handbook of Over-the-Counter Drugs: gives information on OTC drugs
  • Handbook of Injectable Drugs: gives information on IV solutions and drug-drug compatibilities

Drug Expiration Date

Manufacturers’ bottles will have expiration dates printed as just month and year. The true expiration date is always the last day of the month printed. An example is 03/2015. This means the expiration date is March 31, 2015.

Drug Recalls

As with any product, sometimes drugs are recalled because of defects or some other issue. There are three classes of drug recalls, which indicate the severity.

  • Class I: high likelihood that the use or exposure will cause serious adverse health effects or death
  • Class II: Chance of temporary of medically-reversible adverse health effects from use or exposure. Serious health effects or death is unlikely
  • Class III: Use or exposure is not likely to cause any adverse health effects

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