Understand the Pet’s Peeves Before Providing Prescription Medicines


Date : Jul 31, 2017 Author : Rahul Singh Category : Healthcare

The American Pharmacists Association has been actively encouraging pharmacy technicians and pharmacists to become more informed about the animal drug compounding market. ?

Consider a usual day at the drugstore – you might be handling your business even as a customer walks in with a prescription for their pet. The local veterinarian has prescribed certain medication that you as a pharmacist feel to be too much for the animal in question. You may even call the vet only to realize that animals have different digestion and metabolic rates and the dosage is actually the correct one.

Currently, pharmacy technicians have a minimal formal education with respect to animals, even though the medical responsibility is technically the same for them as with human patients. More pet prescriptions are seen in day-to-day life than ever before in the past, and that is why pharmacists need to step up their understanding of the animal drug compounding market. The challenge could not be clearer as even the pharmacy industry has begun making certain recommendations for educating pharmacy staff.

Animal drug compounding is quite challenging as flavor and smell are much more important to animals than other criteria. If the medicine has an unappealing flavor or simply smells bad, the animal is likely to refuse the medication. A noteworthy point is that animals do not consider color to be as important as humans because dogs are color-blind and cats have limited color vision. When animal drugs are compounded, the final product should be labeled. The prescription must clearly mention the reason for animal drug compounding. Notes such as ‘alcohol-free’ or ‘xylitol-free’ and ‘dosing not commercially available’ have to be included. 

Few pharmacy technicians and pharmacists are aware that using human drugs on animals is an extra-label use as defined in 21 CFR Part 510. According to these regulations, drugs meant for human use given to an animal can only be done so under the express approval of a licensed vet. There have been a number of unfortunate incidents where pharmacists were given prescriptions that the pet could have easily tolerated, only to end up with alternative medicines given over-the-counter that poisoned the poor creature. It cannot be emphasized enough that pharmacists need to consult veterinarians before they make any sort of animal drug substitutions as they can be held legally responsible for any untoward accident. 

Few pharmacy technicians and pharmacists are aware that using human drugs on animals is an extra-label use as defined in 21 CFR Part 510. According to these regulations, drugs meant for human use given to an animal can only be done so under the express approval of a licensed vet. There have been a number of unfortunate incidents where pharmacists were given prescriptions that the pet could have easily tolerated, only to end up with alternative medicines given over-the-counter that poisoned the poor creature. It cannot be emphasized enough that pharmacists need to consult veterinarians before they make any sort of animal drug substitutions as they can be held legally responsible for any untoward accident.

Regular practice applies to veterinary patients in the same form as that of humans. This essentially means that a family doctor is not allowed to prescribe medication to a pet. However, the reverse situation where a vet prescribes medication to a human being is permissible especially in cases of zoonotic diseases seen in pets. It is highly recommended that the household humans also undergo prophylaxis or treatment at such times. The protocol is appropriately documented for vets to prescribe such medication, typically with follow-up instructions for family physicians at some date in the future.

While animal drug compounding is quite challenging with current education levels, the business case for processing such prescriptions is vital. The prescriptions are cash-paying patients in a situation where the entire profession is facing reducing reimbursement from insurance agencies. Being able to successfully process these prescriptions will go a long way in making the business sustainable and profitable. 


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