advice for prescribers

Last reviewed 01/2018

Doctors have a medical, legal and ethical responsibility to inform patients about the proper use and adverse sequelae of medicines. Recent legal cases have obliged prescribers to make patients aware of 'substantial or special risks when offering treatment.' The improvement of drug information sheets is not meant to replace the advice of professionals - both should act in tandem.

When initiating a new drug, the fact that advice has been conveyed to the patient should be indicated in writing in the notes.

Some spheres of special care when advising include:

  • the dangers of stopping certain medication abruptly, e.g. anticonvulsants
  • problems inherent in prescribing to the elderly, pregnant and mothers breast feeding
  • the dietary precautions of those taking MAO inhibitors
  • issuing a steroid card to those taking prednisolone
  • ensuring the young woman taking a retinoid for acne is taking adequate contraceptive measures
  • those taking carbimazole for thyrotoxicosis should report to the surgery in the event of a sore throat