Whenever a new medication is dispensed for a patient, it’s important to explain to the client the purpose of the medication, how to give it, and what to expect with regards to clinical improvement and adverse effects.
If you are writing a prescription to an outside pharmacy, the pharmacist is required to provide this information when dispensing a new medication. However, pharmacists usually aren’t trained in veterinary pharmacy, so you don’t want to rely on them to convey all the relevant information to a client.
Therefore, it’s important to explain all medications before the client leaves your clinic. This practice may also help to prevent panicked phone calls from clients when a pharmacist tells them about an adverse effect that occurs in people but not in animals, or when a pharmacist questions the prescribed dose as too high.
The following points should be covered for each new medication prescribed or dispensed:
- The name and description of the medication
- The route of administration, dosage form, duration of therapy, and common and/or severe adverse effects of the medication
- Any special directions for proper use and storage
- Actions to be taken in the event of a missed dose
- Precautions and relevant warnings provided by the drug’s manufacturer
By Lauren Forsythe,
PharmD, DICVP, FSVHP
Medication Dispensary Coordinator