Do not write controlled substance prescriptions (e.g. Opioids, Benzodiazepines) for family or friends
Some state laws in U.S. prohibit prescribing to self or family
Home treatment of minor symptoms is reasonable
Notify primary provider of medications prescribed outside of their care
However, major symptoms are best treated with formal evaluations
Avoid prescribing chronic medications for self, friends or family
Risk if adverse events occur
Rendered care may be sub-standard of the care you would deliver to others
Clinician may not ask their family member sensitive questions
Clinician may stretch their care beyond their level of expertise
Family members may have misconceptions or unrealistic expectations and perceive a poor outcome
Trying to please a family member may result in altering care from best practice with a worse outcome
Weinstock, Sharkis, Marks and Herbert in Herbert (2016) EM:Rap 16(6): 15-6
(2019) Presc Lett 26(5)
Images: Related links to external sites (from Bing)
These images are a random sampling from a Bing search on the term "Treating Family Members." Click on the image (or right click) to open the source website in a new browser window. Search Bing for all related images
FPnotebook.com is a rapid access, point-of-care medical reference for primary care and emergency clinicians. Started in 1995, this collection now contains 6936 interlinked topic pages divided into a tree of 31 specialty books and 736 chapters. Content is updated monthly with systematic literature reviews and conferences.
Although access to this website is not restricted, the information found here is intended for use by medical providers. Patients should address specific medical concerns with their physicians.
This page was written by Scott Moses, MD, last revised on 5/8/2019 and last published on 5/4/2021.