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Monday, December 9, 2013

It's So Obvious...Except When It Isn't

Part of a pharmacist's job is to interpret. We take what the prescriber has written and translate it into English for the layperson. However, we are also there to explain. If a prescriber writes "BID" as the only direction, it is up to us to make a readily understandable label for anyone to follow. We like verbs in the pharmacy world. Words such as "take", "apply", "inhale", etc. What usually gets me are the oversimplified directions we have to put on the labels. Years of practice will teach you that you must make your labels understandable to the lowest common denominator. Simply put: Use small words and make it so simple that any kindergardener just learning to read could tell his mother how to use it. Prescribers usually aren't so careful in explaining how to use/take their prescriptions. That is our job.

This brings me to the following list. It includes directions we shouldn't have to type, but do.

1. Unwrap and Insert Rectally/Vaginally (on any suppository...because people don't. Ouch. OR they swallow them.)
2. Remove old patch (yes, people go to the ER with dozens of patches all over their bodies.)
3. Chew AND swallow. (Because someone would spit.)
4. Apply to AFFECTED area. (Because it's not obvious which part of the body has the issue. You did point it out to the prescriber for her diagnosis, right?)
5. Remove old ring (it only takes 1 ring to rule them all and in the darkness bind them. You're not building a vaginal slinky.)

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