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10 Tips for Prescribing Controlled Substances

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, August 30, 2010

The coalition this week issued a tip sheet to help physicians ensure proper prescribing of controlled substances "and deal with aggressive enforcement actions by agents of the DEA."

1. Prescriptions for Schedule II controlled substances should be made in writing and signed by a DEA-registered practitioner.

2. If the situation is an emergency, a pharmacist may dispense the drug after receiving oral authorization directly from the physician.

3. If the physician calls in an emergency prescription, the prescribing physician must still follow up with a written prescription within 7 days of that verbal order.

4. Always carry a prescription pad that meets the requirements of the state you're practicing in.

5. Know what information is required for a controlled substance prescription to be legal, such as:

  • date of issue
  • patient's name and address (such as the nursing facility)
  • practitioner's name, address and DEA registration number
  • drug name
  • drug strength
  • dosage form
  • quantity prescribed
  • directions for use
  • number of refills authorized, if any
  • manual signature of prescriber.

6. Write your prescriptions at a facility with a fax machine and fax the prescription to the provider pharmacy rather than calling it in.

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