What is a Prescription Number and Why Is it So Important?

When you visit a pharmacy to get medication prescribed by a doctor or a healthcare professional, you will be asked to provide a prescription number before the prescription can be filled.

What is a Prescription Number?

A prescription number is a unique code or identifier made up of numbers and/or letters that is assigned to a prescription by a healthcare professional. It is used to identify a specific prescription, the medication being prescribed, dosage information and other important details.

Where Can You Find Your Prescription Number?

Your prescription number is usually located on your prescription itself, as well as on the prescription packaging. You can also find it on any receipts or statements you receive after filling the prescription.

Why is Knowing Your Prescription Number Important?

The prescription number is important for a number of reasons:

  • Accuracy: It helps to ensure that the correct medication is dispensed to the right person, and in the correct amount.
  • Tracking: It allows pharmacists to track prescription information for record-keeping purposes.
  • Refills: It helps to ensure that the right medication and dosage is refilled each time and can reduce errors and miscommunications.
  • Controlled Substances: Prescription numbers are especially important for prescription medications which are classified as controlled substances.

Why Are Prescription Numbers Important for Controlled Substances?

Controlled substances are medications that have a higher potential for abuse or dependence. Examples include narcotics, stimulants, and sedatives. These medications have a more rigorous prescription process, and the prescription number plays a key role in keeping them secure and preventing abuse. With controlled substances, each prescription must have its unique number that is tracked by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The prescription number is also used to help pharmacists confirm a valid prescription and that it is being used for legitimate purposes for the patient to whom it is prescribed.

Can You View Your Prescription Online?

Many pharmacies offer online prescription management systems that allow patients to view and manage their prescriptions. Patients can log in to view their prescription history, including the prescription number for each medication. This makes it easy to track and manage medication refills, and keep a record of medications that have been prescribed in the past.

What Should You Do if You Lose Your Prescription Number?

If you lose your prescription number, you should contact the pharmacy where the prescription was filled. They will be able to provide you with the number. You can also ask your doctor or healthcare provider to provide you with the prescription number.


Prescription numbers are vital in ensuring accurate medication dispensing, tracking record for refill and other purposes. The number should be carefully safeguarded by patients, doctors and pharmacies for proper purposes.


What happens if I don’t have my prescription number?

If you do not have your prescription number, you will need to contact the pharmacy where the prescription was filled or your healthcare provider to obtain it.

Does the prescription number change if I get a refill?

Yes, the prescription number will usually change with each refill. This helps the pharmacy keep a record of which prescriptions have been filled and which are still outstanding.

Why do some pharmacies ask for the prescription number when I am picking up a prescription?

The prescription number is used to verify that the correct medication is being given to the correct person, and in the correct amount. It also allows the pharmacy to track the prescription for record-keeping purposes.

Is it safe to give out my prescription number?

It is generally safe to give out your prescription number to healthcare professionals and pharmacists. However, you should be cautious when sharing personal information like this online or with individuals or organizations that you do not trust.

What should I do if I suspect that my prescription number has been compromised?

If you suspect that your prescription number has been compromised, you should contact your healthcare provider and the pharmacy where the prescription was filled immediately. They can help you take appropriate action to protect your personal information.

Are there any other ways to track my prescriptions besides using prescription numbers?

Yes, some pharmacies offer prescription management systems that allow you to view your prescription history online. This can be a helpful way to keep track of your medications and refills.

Can I get my prescription number from my insurance company?

Most insurance companies do not provide prescription numbers. You will need to contact the pharmacy where the prescription was filled, or your healthcare provider, to obtain the number.

What happens if someone else uses my prescription number?

If someone else uses your prescription number, this could result in medication errors or misuse of prescription medication. You should contact your healthcare provider and the pharmacy where the prescription was filled immediately if you suspect that someone else has used your prescription number.

– American Pharmacists Association. The Pharmacy Technician, 6th edition. American Pharmacists Association, 2020.
– US Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration. “Pharmacist’s Manual: An Informational Outline of the Controlled Substances Act.” Accessed 5 October 2021. https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/pubs/manuals/pharm2/index.html.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *