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Prescription: Definition, parts, handling, errors | imdip

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Prescription Definition | Parts of prescription | Handling of prescription | Source of errors in prescription | Care required in dispensing procedures | Care required in leveling of dispensed products

Prescription: Definition, parts of prescription, handling, errors.

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The prescription is written documentation written by a medical practitioner to the dispenser for the proper medication for a particular patient.

The medical practitioner may be a doctor, a dentist or a pharmacist.

The dispenser must be a pharmacist.


Date of the prescription:
The date of the prescription should be at the top of the prescription.

Name, age, and weight of the patient:
The name, age weight of the patient should be written in this part.
This one part is very important because of the identification purpose.

The superscription is the part of the prescription, contain a symbol "Rx", means "Take Thou"It's Latin word. English meaning you take.
Basically, the writer of the prescription praying to the god to get the patient well soon.

The inscription is the part of the prescription, contain the composition of the medicine and amount of dosage.
Example- Paracetamol 500mg ; Paracetamol 650 mg etc.

The subscription is the part of the prescription, contain the direction to dispense the dosage form.
The number of dosage units and the quantity to be given, written in this part of the prescription.
Example: Tab Paracetamol - 10 [ that means 10 pieces paracetamol tablet ]

The signatura is the part of the prescription, contain the direction given by the writer to the patient, how and when should the medicines are taken.
The directions are given in Latin short cuts.
Example: "TDS" means three times a day; "BID" means "bis in die" or twice a day; "a.c" means before a meal etc.

The signature is the part of the prescription, contain the signature of the medical practitioner, who writes the prescription.

Registration Number and seal:
In this part, the registration number of the medical practitioner, who writes the prescription is given.
The stamp of the particular doctor.

A perfect prescription format


Handling of the prescription is a very important part.

(i) The relation between the medical practitioner and the patient should be...
Eye to eye contact.
Friendly behavior.
Showing carefulness.
Care naturally.
Showing the politeness.
Encourage the patient.

(ii) The relationship between the dispenser and the patient should be polite and helpful.
Should request to the patient for wait sometimes, when the dispenser reviewing the prescription.

(A) Maintain the legality for all medication.

(B) Reading of the prescription to check and correctness.

  • When the prescription is reading
  • Be alert and conscious.
  • Not be distracted.
  • Don't engage with other people and devices at the time of dispensing.


There are so many sources of medication error or prescription errors.
Sometimes the handwritten prescription is very difficult to read.
Lack of appropriate leveling.
Very bad spelling mistakes of medicines occur. Examples like Metrix and Metriz. These two brand names are quite similar. But Metriz contains metronidazole and Metrix contains glucosamine.

No one persons are available to recheck the full medications.

Too many customers:
Due to too many customers, the dispenser needs more time to properly handle. But customers have no time to wait that's why errors occur.

Lack of concentrations:
Every dispenser should properly concentrate on prescription if they not. Error occurs.

Too many phone calls and social media:
This is also very important to stay out of mobiles or keep it switched off at the time of working.

Lack of experience:
Experience is very important in this field.


Proper dose to a particular patient.
Proper educational and practical qualification to dispense a dose.
Double-check the dose calculation.
The right time to take the dose.
Right medication administration.


Check the expiry date on the leveling of the medicine before delivering it to the customer and before administration.
Be aware of the name of the drug on the labeling.
Always read the instruction on labeling. Ex.- "Shake well before use."
Sublingual tablets should not be swallowed.

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