Types of prescription: what does each color mean?

A medical prescription is a document delivered by doctors to patients when there is a need to use some medication.

In addition to being a document for the pharmacy, the prescription serves as guidance for patients regarding the dosage, schedule and ways of using the medicine.

In it, it is necessary to contain detailed information, both of the professional who performed the medical care and prescription and of the prescribed medication.


What are the types of prescription?

There are different types of medical prescription, which may vary according to the prescribed medication, that is, its stripe and classification.

For red-stripe medications, in general, there is the common prescription. As for black-stripe drugs, that is, those with special control, there are other types of prescription.

In the case of these controlled drugs – which cannot be purchased without specific prescriptions, as they present risks to the patient -, they can be divided into categories: A, B, C and D. The letters are accompanied by numbers (ex: A1), which identify different types of substances.

Specifically, the categories are:

  • A1 – Narcotic Substances;
  • A2 – Narcotic Substances;
  • A3 – Psychotropic Substances;
  • B1 – Psychotropic Substances;
  • B2 – Psychotropic and Anorexigenic Substances;
  • C1 – Substances Subject to Special Control;
  • C2 – Retinoic substances for systemic use;
  • C3 – Immunosuppressive Substances;
  • C4 – Anti-Retroviral Substances;
  • C5 – Anabolic Substances;
  • D1 – Narcotic and Psychotropic Precursor Substances.

For these types of drugs, at the time of purchase, it is often necessary to submit a prescription notification along with the prescription.

The recipe notifications are documents generally characterized by their color (blue, yellow or white) which varies according to the classification of the drug, which allow the dispensing of drugs lists A1, A2, A3, B1, B2, C2 and C3 .

They are like common recipes, however, with additional and specific information about the medication. At the time of purchase, they are retained with the pharmacy.

Regardless of the type of recipe, there are some data that must be included in filling it out.

The main information of the doctor who must be present are: full name, address of the place of care and professional record.

In relation to the patient and medication, the data that must be included are: name of the person, name of the medication, presentation, detailed dosage and duration of treatment.

It is also necessary that the information of the date of prescription and signature of the professional is also present.

In addition, it is worth mentioning that as of the year 2019, the prescriptions are valid throughout the national territory, that is, the patient does not need to purchase the medication in the same state in which he performed his medical consultation.

What is the difference between common revenue and revenue notification?

Any medication that has a stripe on its packaging, be it red or black, needs a prescription to make the purchase.

In the case of common prescriptions, they are generally used for the prescription of drugs with a red stripe and there is not necessarily a standard for filling them out, there are only a few rules to be followed, such as the doctor’s stamp, for example.

In the case of prescription notifications, they are documents used specifically for controlled medications. They have a filling pattern and specific rules that must be completed by the professional. In addition, they will always be retained with the pharmacy .

For this reason, when the doctor prescribes special control medications, the patient receives a common prescription route and a prescription notification in the color corresponding to the drug’s classification.

Thus, the notification of revenue remains with the establishment, while the common route, with the person.

What is retained revenue?

Prescription retention is a mechanism used in cases where the doctor needs to prescribe special Control drugs or Antibiotics for the patient.

In this case, the professional issues 2 copies of a prescription, in the case of antibiotics, or 1 prescription copy and a prescription notification, in the case of special control, so that one of them stays with the pharmacy at the time of purchase. .

This occurs for 2 reasons: to avoid the purchase and irregular consumption of medicines, that is, without medical supervision, and for the pharmacy to prove that the medication was sold.

Understand better about each reason:

Avoid irregular consumption

In the case of consumption, prescription drugs with prescription retention are those that present a higher risk associated with use.

Antibiotics, if administered indiscriminately, can lead to bacterial resistance, which is when the bacteria mutate and become resistant to the drug.

Controlled remedies, if used incorrectly, can cause problems such as physical and psychological dependence on the medication, in addition to other serious health conditions, such as the malformation of babies in cases of pregnancy.

Check the sale

In relation to the pharmacy, the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA), in its Ordinance 344/98, defines that the establishments must prove the sale of controlled drugs to the local health authority.

For this, they must present the retained revenue or notification of revenue, proving that there was a dispensation.

What is white recipe?

There are 2 main types of white prescription, used for prescribing different classes of drugs.

Specifically they are:

Simple or common

The best-known white recipe is called the simple recipe , the most basic type of prescription.

It is, in general, used to indicate palliative medications, that is, that fight symptoms, and it is also used for red stripe medicines that contain the words “sale under medical prescription”.

In addition, the white prescription is used as one of the ways in cases of retention (when the professional provides 2 ways of prescription and the pharmacy remains with one).

Thus, a prescription for a blue special control medication, for example, must be accompanied by a white prescription.

White two-way for antibiotic

Two-way white is the one used to prescribe antibiotics. It consists of the (a) professional filling out 2 simple white recipes, so that one of them is retained with the pharmacy at the time of purchase.

Antibiotics are not part of the classification of special control drugs and, therefore, do not require that one of the prescription routes be differentiated, such as blue, yellow or white prescription notifications.

However, they have their own control system and, therefore, it is necessary to present 2 copies, as the establishments also need to prove the sale to the health authorities.

What does yellow recipe mean?

The yellow prescription notification, also known as yellow prescription, is used for drugs that are classified in list A, that is, narcotic drugs ( A1 and A2 ) and psychotropic drugs ( A3 ).

It is characterized by being a yellow colored paper and has some restrictions, such as being valid for 30 days after medical prescription.

In addition, the amount of medication indicated for purchase in the prescription cannot exceed that corresponding to 30 days of treatment. For cases of ampoules for injectable use, it is prohibited to prescribe quantities greater than 5.

What is the blue recipe?

The one known as the blue recipe is actually the blue recipe notification. It is used in the prescription of medicines classified as B (B1 and B2), that is, containing psychotropic substances.

It consists of a bluish colored paper, which may have different characteristics according to the classification.

For drugs on the B1 list , the prescription is valid for 30 days after medical prescription. In addition, the amounts indicated in the dosage should be for a maximum of 60 days of treatment.

For drugs on the B2 list , the prescription is also valid for 30 days after prescription, however, the dosage recommended by the professional should be for a maximum of 30 days of use.

What is Special Retinoid recipe?

The Special Retinoid Recipe is one of the types of white recipe notification. It is used for the prescription of drugs classified as C2, that is, retinoic substances for systemic use (that is, those administered orally or injectable).

The amount indicated in the prescription may correspond to up to 30 days of treatment and, for cases of injectable administration, up to 5 ampoules. It is valid for up to 30 days after prescription

As it is a class of drugs that presents great risks to patients in cases of pregnancy (such as malformation of the fetus), this type of prescription must be accompanied by a document, called the Risk Consent Term and Post-Information Consent.

This term must be signed by both the professional and the patient, indicating that both are aware of the possible risks of medication administration.

What is Special Thalidomide recipe?

The Special Recipe for Thalidomide is, as the name implies, a prescription specifically used for medicines based on the substance Thalidomide – used to treat diseases such as Lupus erythematosus (when the immune system attacks some tissues in the body) – which does part of the C3 list.

As it is a medication that has a high potential for damage in cases of pregnancy, such as malformation of fetal limbs, it needs a special prescription, accompanied by a Term of Responsibility / Clarification.

In this term, the professional and the patient must sign the confirmation that they are aware of the risks of using the medication in case of pregnancy, in addition to the confirmation that the patient performed a pregnancy test before starting the pregnancy. drug administration.

The prescription is valid for 20 days after issuance and the prescription cannot exceed that corresponding to 30 days of treatment.

What is Special Control revenue?

The Special Control Recipe is a type of prescription used in the prescription of substances that are in the list of drugs C1 (subject to special control) and C5 (anabolic), in addition to some narcotics and psychotropic drugs of the classification A1 , A2 and B1 .

It is valid throughout the national territory for up to 30 days after the prescription and the maximum amount of medicine allowed in the prescription may vary according to the list to which the drug belongs:

  • A1 and A2: corresponding to 30 days of treatment;
  • C1 and C5: corresponding to 60 days of treatment;
  • B1: that corresponds to 60 days of treatment.

In the specific case of antiparkinsonian drugs – for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease – and anticonvulsants (which are part of class C), the maximum amount prescribed can correspond to up to 6 months of treatment.

In addition, one of the characteristics of the Special Control Recipe is to be issued in 2 copies so that, at the time of purchase, one of them remains retained with the pharmacy.

Where do controlled revenues go?

Prescriptions for controlled medications, which are retained in pharmacies, are forwarded to local health authorities, whether Municipal or State.

They are used to prove that the establishment made the sale of the drug and for the authorities to control the distribution of this type of drug in the country.

What is renewable revenue?

Renewable is a type of prescription that aims to facilitate the logistics of people who need to make long-term use of medications.

With this model, the patient can use the same prescription more than once to purchase a medication, without having to visit a doctor every 30 days to renew a prescription.

Do I need a prescription to buy all medications?

No . There are some medications that are exempt from medical prescription, that is, they do not need a prescription to be purchased.

This type of medicine does not have a red (need a prescription) or black (special control) label on its packaging, and can be purchased by anyone.

In general, they are used for the treatment of non-serious diseases and slow or non-existent progression, in addition to presenting low risk potential for the patient.

Specifically, the main characteristics of non-prescription drugs, according to the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA), are:

  • They have adverse reactions with known casualties;
  • Low toxicity potential;
  • Low potential for drug interaction;
  • Used for a short period of time;
  • They are easy to handle by the patient;
  • They have low risk potential;
  • They do not have the potential to cause chemical or psychological dependence.

It is worth mentioning that, even if you do not need a prescription for purchase, medical guidance is essential.

What are over-the-counter medications?

According to ANVISA, medications exempt from medical prescription include muscle relaxants, analgesics, antipyretics, nasal decongestants, among others.

On the agency’s website, there is a list where it is possible to identify all drugs that do not need a prescription.

Despite this, it is worth remembering that it is not mandatory to present the document at the time of purchase does not dispense with medical or pharmaceutical guidance, which is important for the correct and safe use of the medication.

The administration of medications is a serious matter and, therefore, there are different types of classifications and controls for their indication and purchase.

Thus, knowing the variety of prescriptions is important to understand the context of using a medication.

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