In our last blog article we learned about the Isotretinoin Safety and Risk Management Act of 2004 as we review Pharmacy Law. There are 3 more common drugs that you are likely to see in your work that are part of the restricted drug program.
- Thalomid (thalidomide) is a drug prescribed to treat erythema dosoum leprosum, which is an inflammation of the fat cells under the skin. Like isotretinoin, it is also associated with deformities of the unborn child.
- Clozaril (clozapine) is indicated for the treatment of severe schizophrenia in patients for which standard therapy has not been effective and can affect a patient’s white blood cell count and neutrophil count.
- Lotronex (alosetron) is a drug prescribed for women with severe diarrhea-predominant IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) who, again, have failed to respond to conventional therapy. Two serious side effects of Lotronex are serious complications of constipation and ischemic colitis (reduced blood flow to the bowel).
For all of these restricted drugs, the doctors, pharmacists, and patients must register/enroll in the program and become educated to the side effects.
- For Thalomid, the patient must get a new prescription each month because no refills are given, and the drug must be dispensed in the manufacturer packaging.
- Isotretinoin also requires dispensing in the manufacturer packaging, and the pharmacist or pharmacy technician must obtain authorization from the iPLEDGE system before dispensing the prescription.
- Lotronex does allow for refills, but only written prescriptions are valid. The doctor must use a special sticker on the prescription to indicate enrollment in the program.
As you gain experience as a pharmacy technician, you will learn more about these restricted drug programs and the dispensing requirements.