Thursday, December 29, 2005

Self-Prescribing of Noncontrolled Substances Among Pharmacists

Pharmacists are among the health care practitioners with the greatest access to medications. Similarly, they possess impressive knowledge of prescription drugs and their use in the treatment of various ailments. Both general drug knowledge and access to prescription medications may increase the potential for self-prescribing. Other factors that may promote self-prescribing among pharmacists include long workdays and the privacy inherent in pharmacists' work environments.

Few studies have investigated self-prescribing by pharmacists. The most recent studies were conducted in the late 1980s and found that pharmacists are likely to self-prescribe or be involved in the unauthorized use of controlled substances. Little attention has been dedicated to pharmacists' self-prescribing of noncontrolled substances such as antibiotics and asthma and cardiovascular medications.

Self-prescribing of noncontrolled substances by pharmacists is worth examination. Although addiction is not a concern with these medications, the behavior may progress into self-prescribing of controlled substances, leading to addiction and impaired functioning. Furthermore, self-prescribing among pharmacists is unprofessional and may be associated with unlawful behaviors, which may ultimately undermine the profession and pose a threat to the overall health and well-being of those involved.


From American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy (
Self-Prescribing of Noncontrolled Substances Among Pharmacists
Posted 12/16/2005
Ebrahim A. Balbisi; Emily M. Ambizas
Ebrahim A. Balbisi, Pharm.D., and Emily M. Ambizas, Pharm.D., are Assistant Clinical Professors of Clinical Pharmacy Practice, School of Pharmacy, St. John's University, Jamaica, NY.