Can a Pharmacist Change My Dosage? Here’s What They Can Do

Posted September 4, 2020 by Michael Chamberlain - See Editorial Guidelines

Ever had your dose changed by a pharmacist? Can they do that? What are the rules and legalities around changing a patient’s dosage? And what if you don’t agree with the new dose?

If you’re wondering, can a pharmacist change my dosage, then this article should provide the answers you’re looking for. First, here’s the quick summary, then we’ll get into more of the details around it.

Can A Pharmacist Change My Dose? A pharmacist can change the dose in your prescription with the prescriber’s permission. This is so they can give effective and safe treatment while considering your other medical records. Legally, the pharmacist should inform you of such dosage changes.

It’s not quite as straightforward as you might think, so let’s explore the answer in more detail, then look at why and how this happens.

Can a Pharmacist Change My Dosage?

Can a Pharmacist Change My Dosage

As we mentioned, a pharmacist can change your dose. There are plenty of reasons why a pharmacist can do this. Before we begin, it’s important to mention that a pharmacist can change your dose because, generally speaking, pharmacists have knowledge of medications and how they work for patients.

A pharmacist is qualified in this profession only after undergoing specific qualifications. So, a pharmacist changing your dose is something that should rarely be a cause for concern.

If you feel the pharmacist has changed your dose or anything about your prescription, you can ask the pharmacist for clarification. The pharmacist should be happy to explain their reasoning to you if they have altered something on your prescription, as it is an ethical standard. Pharmacists also have a legal obligation to explain any changes to your dose.

So, yes, a pharmacist can change your dose and has permission, knowledge, and experience to do so. They, of course, have to follow the legal conditions of changing a patient’s dose. 

Why Does a Pharmacist Change Your Dose? 

There are many reasons why a pharmacist can change your dose. However, remember all these reasons are aimed at your benefit and well-being.

Below are some common reasons why a pharmacist might change your dose. 

Changing the Form of the Medication

If you mentioned to the pharmacist you find it difficult to swallow tablets, the pharmacist may suggest a liquid form of the same medication that has a different dose.

So, if a pharmacist changes the form of medication, from a tablet to a liquid, they might have to change the dose as well. Of course, they would need to consult with the doctor if they’re making any of these types of changes and will ask you if you’re okay with the switch too. 

In this type of situation, the pharmacists can change your dose but will need to obtain the doctor’s consent beforehand. 

For Better Medication Management

The pharmacist can also change the dose for better management of medications and their interactions.

For example, if you’re taking medications for other medical conditions. The pharmacist may feel you should be taking less of one medication prescribed because of the possible adverse interactions that can be caused by other medicines you’re prescribed.

Changing the dose in these kinds of situations is also aimed at providing you with better overall effectiveness across all your meds.

The pharmacy may well have access to your medical records, so they can analyze and change your dose to better suit your health and all other medical conditions.

To Reach a Specific Therapeutic Target

Your pharmacists can also change your dose to reach a specific therapeutic target. This includes reaching a specific blood pressure number or blood sugar level, which can prevent adverse side effects. 

As a further example, assume you’ve been prescribed an antibiotic for a urinary tract infection. Your pharmacist analyzes your records and finds out that the dose prescribed is too high for you to properly eliminate it from your kidneys.

So, in that case, the pharmacist may reduce your dose that will then allow your body to recover from the infection safely. 

Sometimes a pharmacist can change your dose to improve your tolerance of the medication (avoid side effects), make sure the dose is right for your clinical parameters (such as age, height, weight), and manage interactions with the drugs you’ve been prescribed.

How a Pharmacist Should Change Your Dose

Understanding that a pharmacist is allowed to change your dose is one thing, but it’s essential also to understand what procedures a pharmacist should follow when changing your dose.

Firstly, the pharmacist should check with the prescriber whenever they’re changing your dose. If the pharmacist is not the person prescribing the dose, and they tell you they’ve changed your dose, ask if they’ve confirmed this with your doctor. 

Keep in mind that just about anything about your prescription can be changed, but only with the consent of your doctor. This is with the exception that the pharmacist changes the strength of the medicine prescribed but keeps the overall dose the same. For example, if the prescriber prescribes “drug A, for 300mg four times a day”, then the pharmacist can change it to “2x 150mg capsules, 4 times a day.”

In this example, the pharmacist has doubled the quantity taken of each dose, but the total dose received remains unchanged.

The pharmacist cannot change the dose in the event the patient is taking more or less than the doctor prescribed for a daily dose, without permission or approval in advance.

What the Pharmacist Should Tell You When Changing the Dose

The pharmacist must educate you on the details of any dose change if it’s been approved by the doctor.

Some pharmacies have forms for patients to verify that they’ve been informed and educated on the dose change or whether the patient declined counseling on the dose change.

This is because there are plenty of cases where patients were not educated about their dose change and have subsequently overdosed. These situations have even been subject to felony charges and other actions. Such charges could force a pharmacy to be blacklisted or even closed down.

So, when a pharmacist offers you counseling on a dose change, it’s a good idea to take it to avoid any chance of endangering your health.

To Close

We hope this has been useful in answering the question, can a pharmacist change my dose? As always, if you’re in any doubt, we recommend contacting your doctor or physician to clarify any points. And we also recommend good communication with your pharmacist to make sure you’re both aware of exactly what you’re taking.

Being able to afford those prescriptions is another matter. If you’re struggling to afford your prescription medicines, then you could use our help. At Prescription Hope, we can process a simple application towards providing your meds for just $50 per month per medication.

We work with over 180 pharmaceutical manufacturers and utilize their patient assistance programs to provide you with a flat-rate cost for your medication. Enroll with us to find out if you are eligible to pay only $50 a month for each of your medications.