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Don’t forget to check for allergies

I write regarding the “Injecting professionalism into prescribing” piece from Royal Pharmaceutical Society Scottish Pharmacy Board chairman John Cromarty (PJ, 17 November 2012, p569) in the Professional matters section.

Although Professor Cromarty’s article raised some highly detailed considerations around prescribing, I was surprised to see that there was no mention in it on checking for patients’ allergies.

A good professional relationship, rapport and trust, and confidence are all important but if the patient has an anaphylactic reaction, or worse, to a medicine that has been prescribed without first checking for allergy status, these niceties count for nothing.

Certainly the patient’s trust and confidence in the prescriber would be shaken by overlooking this basic tenet of prescribing were an adverse reaction to occur.

Come to think of it, how is allergy checking not top of the list of 12 questions to ask before writing a prescription? Surely it comes before health beliefs. I suspect that if a serious allergic reaction occurred as a result of prescribing without adequate checking for allergies (and documentation) a court of law would find the prescriber to be negligent.

Joseph Woolley


Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 11113025

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