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Avoiding unnecessary prescribing

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Does the patient actually want a prescription? Frequently patients come for reassurance and so prescribing actually undermines the hope that little is wrong. Patients may have come for information and not be keen on pills; prescribing is then a blow to the individual's autonomy. A prescription may also be requested as the only option the patient is aware of: advice, counselling or other strategy may be much more effective as long term management.

Practice partners can avoid wasteful and ineffective prescribing by being consistent in educating their patients. Teaching patients that viral infections don't need antibiotics can be an uphill task: most GP's know that rational prescribing is not always possible but if the partners can agree over such issues, patients are infinitely easier to manage - doctors' own behaviour is a major influence on workload and cost.

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