Prescribing And Dispensing Of Controlled Drugs

Medical practitioners have to follow specific rules for each schedule when prescribing or dispensing controlled drugs. Drugs in Schedule I can only be obtained, prescribed, and dispensed to an individual after special approval is obtained from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Drugs in Schedule II cannot be refilled or dispensed without a written prescription from a practitioner, except in an emergency. When they are dispensed in an emergency, a written prescription must be obtained within 72 hours. Drugs in Schedule III and in Schedule IV may not be dispensed without a written or an oral prescription. Prescriptions for these drugs may not be filled or refilled more than six months after their issue date or refilled more than five times unless authorized by a licensed practitioner. Drugs in Schedule V can be refilled, with a practitioner's authorization, without the limitation on number of refills or time. Certain Schedule V drugs may be purchased directly from a pharmacist, in limited quantities, without a prescription. The purchaser must be at least 18 years of age and furnish appropriate identification and the transactions must be recorded by the dispensing pharmacist.

When drugs in Schedule II, III, and IV are dispensed, a warning label stating ''Caution: Federal law prohibits the transfer of this drug to any person other than the patient for whom it was prescribed,'' must be affixed to the dispensing container. The warning label regarding transfer does not apply to Schedule V drugs.

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