Table 1. Prescribing review definitions
Definition of prescribing error, suboptimal prescribing, and legal problem as outlined in the PRACtICe study.3List of prescribing problem areas that errors and suboptimal prescribing can be attributed toDrug classification by formulation typeDrug status — how was it prescribed within the consultation?
Prescribing error: ‘A clinically meaningful prescribing error occurs when, as a result of a prescribing decision or prescription writing process, there is an unintentional significant
  • reduction in the probability of treatment being timely and effective or

  • increase in the risk of harm when compared with generally accepted practice’.

Suboptimal prescribing: these are prescribing problems that do not fit the above error definition, but represent less than ideal practice.Legal problem: these are prescribing problems that do not fit the above error definitions, but fall outside the legal framework for prescribing (an example would be prescribing for a whole family on a prescription for a single patient).
  • Unnecessary drug

  • Incorrect drug

  • Duplication

  • Allergy error

  • Contraindication error

  • Interaction error

  • Dose or strength error

  • Formulation error

  • Frequency error

  • Timing error

  • Information incomplete

  • Generic or brand name error

  • Omission error relating to failure to prescribe concomitant treatment

  • Inadequate documentation in medical records

  • Quantity error

  • Inadequate review

  • Duration error

  • Monitoring not requested

  • Solid oral

  • Topical

  • Liquid oral

  • Inhalers

  • Eye or ear

  • Vaginal

  • Devices

  • Injections

  • Rectal

  • New acute (NA): a newly prescribed acute medication

  • Re-issued acute (RA): a prescription of an acute medication that had previously prescribed for this patient by any prescriber

  • New Repeat (NR): a prescription of a medication that was simultaneously added to the patient’s ‘repeat prescription’

  • Amended Repeat (AR): a prescription of one of the patient’s ‘repeat medications’ that had been amended during the consultation

  • Re-issued repeat (RR): a prescription of one of the patient’s ‘repeat medications’ that had not been amended during the consultation