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    High-quantity Rxs for controlled substances: Suggested guidelines for prescribers, pharmacies, and patients

    Most pharmacists are well aware of the newly enacted laws regarding the reclassification of hydrocodone products to Schedule II. The reality is that two players are the major providers of controlled substances to reach the street. They are the prescribers and the pharmacist.

    Teachable moment

    I had a phenomenal mentor when I became a pharmacist. One day he asked me to fill a prescription for the drug Seconal, a very addictive medication for sleep. I pulled the drug off the shelf and compared it to the prescription. It looked fine.

    He asked me, “What's wrong with this prescription?”

    I double- and triple-checked. “ I don’t see anything wrong,” I said.

    He asked me who the doctor was. I read off the name, and again my mentor asked, “What is wrong with this prescription?”

    I was baffled.

    My mentor said, “You just made the classic error of most pharmacists. What is the doctor’s specialty?”

     “He’s a podiatrist,” I replied.

    “Why would a podiatrist write for 30 Seconal, unless he wants the person's feet to fall asleep? This prescription is not legitimate. Remember, only fill prescriptions written within the expertise of the prescriber.”

    Robert Katz, RPh
    Robert Katz has been a working pharmacist for 40 years and is still passionate about the profession. You can e-mail him at ...

    1 Comment

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    • HaroldSmith
      If you have been a pharmacist for 43 years then your mentor dates back to the 1960's or 1970s. Seconal at that time was the Ambien or Restoril of it's day. What would you have a podiatrist do if someone had a painful foot that kept the awake all night? Your article seemed to suggest that there was absolutely no disease treatment, only drug abuse. And you arrived at that conclusion in about 1/2 a second. I don't think you can make such a judgment on a podiatrist prescription without a little more information.