Can a Nurse Practitioner Prescribe Medication?

This article will give you a full-depth answer to the question “Can a nurse practitioner prescribe medication?“. Full-depth means that you’ll get to know if a nurse practitioner can prescribe medications like Adderall, Xanax, Suboxone, etc.

Besides that, this article also covers the situation in different states of the USA, Australia, Canada, etc.

But without further ado, here is the general answer:

For the most part, a nurse practitioner can prescribe medication to their patients. What kind of medications or in under what kind of supervision a nurse practitioner can prescribe medication, depends on the state or country.

So the answer to the question “Can a Nurse Practitioner Prescribe Medication?” is a “Yes”.

But as I stated earlier, it depends on the state and country on what kind of medication or in under what kind of supervision can a nurse practitioner prescribe medication. By continuing reading you’re going to get the answers to these questions.

Before you dig deeper into this topic, you should know the basics of a nurse practitioner’s profession. If you already are a nurse practitioner or study nursing to become a nurse practitioner feel free to skip straight to the Can a nurse practitioner prescribe …

THE BASIC INFORMATION ABOUT A NURSE PRACTITIONER

A nurse practitioner is a nursing professional that has completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and passed required certifications. Nurse practitioners review patient histories and symptoms to diagnose health conditions.

A nurse practitioner decides how to treat the patient, prescribes appropriate medication, and evaluates the patient’s response to medicines and treatments.

If you are eager to learn some more about the nurse practitioners profession check out these articles of ours:

Now you have enough information to keep up with this article. So let’s move on.

Can a nurse practitioner write prescriptions?

Can a nurse practitioner write prescriptions?
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In general, nurse practitioners can write prescriptions to their patients in most states and countries.

There are 21 states in the USA (+ Washington) where nurse practitioners have the explicit legal authority to write prescriptions to their patients. Please note that nurse practitioners prescribing controlled substances must register with the Drug Enforcement Administration.

In alphabetical order, in these 21 states in the USA (+ Washington) nurse practitioners can write prescriptions with the explicit legal authority are:

The links in the list below go straight to those states’ nursing rules and regulations.

  1. Alaska
  2. Arizona
  3. Colorado
  4. Connecticut
  5. District of Columbia
  6. Hawaii
  7. Idaho
  8. Iowa
  9. Maine
  10. Maryland
  11. Minnesota
  12. Montana
  13. Nebraska
  14. Nevada
  15. New Hampshire
  16. New Mexico
  17. North Dakota
  18. Oregon
  19. Rhode Island
  20. Vermont
  21. Washington
  22. Wyoming

If you want to know the situation in Australia, Canada or in the United Kingdom follow these anchor links to get your answer.

But that didn’t cover the whole USA yet. These were just the first 21 states of the USA (+ Washington).

States of the USA
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There are 20 states in the USA where nurse practitioners can write prescriptions to the patients but they must have a protocol agreement or collaborative relationship. In these states of the USA, state practice and licensure law reduce the ability of nurse practitioners to prescribe medications.

The states in alphabetical order are:

The links in the list below go straight to those states’ nursing rules and regulations.

  1. Alabama
  2. Arkansas
  3. Delaware
  4. Illinois
  5. Indiana
  6. Kansas
  7. Kentucky
  8. Louisiana
  9. Massachusetts
  10. Michigan
  11. Mississippi
  12. New Jersey
  13. New York
  14. Ohio
  15. Pennsylvania
  16. South Dakota
  17. Utah
  18. Virginia
  19. West Virginia
  20. Wisconsin

There are still a couple of states left. Can a nurse practitioner prescribe medication in these states?

These are the strictest states in the USA that comes to nursing:

The links in the list below go straight to those states’ nursing rules and regulations.

  1. California
  2. Florida
  3. Georgia
  4. Missouri
  5. North Carolina
  6. Oklahoma
  7. South Carolina
  8. Tennessee
  9. Texas

With the appropriate supervision and credentials, nurse practitioners can prescribe controlled substances in all the 50 states of the USA and in Washington DC.

Can a nurse practitioner prescribe …

Can a nurse practitioner prescribe medicine?
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Now that you know whether can a nurse practitioner prescribe medication or not, it’s time to be more specific.

Medicine

A medicine (also referred to as medication or pharmaceutical drug) is simply a drug used to cure or treat the patient. There are several types of medicines for different types of needs; for example pain, contraception, nutrition, allergic disorders, etc.

For the most part, nurse practitioners can prescribe medicine to patients.

In most countries, archaic drugs where safer alternatives exist cannot be prescribed by nurse practitioners. These exclusions include medicines like opium and cocaine.

Adderall

Adderall is a medication developed for treating ADHD and narcolepsy. It includes four different types of salts of amphetamine whose purpose is to help the user to relax and focus.

Due to Adderall’s effects, it’s also widely used among the students to be more focused on studies. Personally, I don’t recommend you use Adderall if it’s not necessary because of its’ long list of side effects.

But can a nurse practitioner prescribe Adderall then?

According to the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration, Adderall is a Schedule IIN stimulant like Desoxyn, Ritalin, and Dexedrine. Schedule II or IIN means that the medication is classified with a high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.

According to the Additude, only a psychiatrist, neurologist, or family physician can prescribe medication for adults with ADHD.

In conclusion, the conditions under which nurse practitioners can prescribe Adderall do differ by the state and region. Even though nurse practitioners in all states are authorized to write a prescription for controlled substances.

To get the answer by states of the USA, scroll up a bit and open your state’s nursing rules and regulations.

Xanax

Can a nurse practitioner prescribe Xanax?
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Xanax (Alprazolam) is a medication used to treat depression, severe anxiety, and panic disorder. Xanax is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance among with other medications like Soma, Klonopin, Tranxene, Valium and Versed.

Schedule IV means that the medicine has a low potential for abuse relative to substances in Schedule III.

In the United States, all scheduled controlled substances require special registration to prescribe and may have additional state-based requirements as well.

The answer to the question “Can a nurse practitioner prescribe medication like Xanax?” is a “Yes, if the nurse practitioner fulfills a required registration and possible state-based requirements”.

Suboxone

Suboxone is a Schedule III medication used to treat drug addiction in opioid-dependent patients (such as heroin or morphine). Schedule III substances have a potential for abuse less than substances in Schedule I or II.

Still, abuse may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.

Situation prescribing Suboxone is the same as with the Xanax and Adderall.

Nurse practitioners can write a prescription with it if they fulfill the required registration and possible state-based requirements.

You can check our states’ requirements via links above.

Birth control

Can a nurse practitioner prescribe birth control?
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Birth control pills are considered as a non-controlled substance due to its low potential for abuse or addiction. That’s why a nurse practitioner is allowed to prescribe birth control without any special requirements or supervision.

Antidepressants

Like birth control pills, most antidepressants are considered as non-controlled substances. It means that the antidepressants don’t hold the same potential for abuse or addiction as Schedule II-IV controlled substances like Xanax, Suboxone or Adderall.

Because of that, nurse practitioners are able to prescribe antidepressants without any special requirements.

Anxiety medication

Yes! Nurse practitioners can prescribe anxiety medication like fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil) and citalopram (Celexa). Even without special requirements or supervision.

These anxiety medications described above are SSRIs. SSRIs work by stopping nerve cells in the brain from reabsorbing serotonin, which is a chemical that plays a crucial role in mood regulation.

Pain medication

Did you know that pain medication includes the following types of medicine:

  • Antidepressants
  • Opioids
  • Corticosteroids
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID)
  • Lidocaine patches

All the medications described above are considered as prescription pain relievers. So no matter what, these pain medications must be prescribed in all circumstances.

But can a nurse practitioner prescribe pain medication?

In most cases, yes. Check out the situation in your state via the links from above.

Drugs

Drugs are a wide concept. There are medication drugs like Adderall, Suboxone, etc. and then there are the drug drugs like cocaine and heroin. As you probably guessed, nurse practitioners are not allowed to prescribe these drug drugs.

For more detailed information about other drugs, check out these links: Adderall, Xanax, Suboxone.

Can a nurse practitioner prescribe medication? FAQ

Can a nurse practitioner prescribe medication FAQ
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At this point, you should have a pretty good view of whether can a nurse practitioner prescribe medication or not.

But how about the situation in Australia, Canada, or the United Kingdom? Or can nurse-midwives write prescriptions? Or where can nurse practitioners prescribe in general?

Next, you’ll get the answers to these questions.

Can nurse midwives write prescriptions?

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the certified nurse midwives (CNMs) are allowed to prescribe medications in all 50 states of the USA. While certified midwives (CMs) are allowed to write prescriptions only in the state of New York.

Are nurse practitioners allowed to prescribe to family members?

This is more of a moral question among nurse practitioners.

Of course, nurse practitioners are allowed to prescribe to family members if a family member is in need of a medication. But if that’s not the case, a nurse practitioner might lose the license for prescribing for family members.

What can nurse practitioners prescribe in Canada?

What can a nurse practitioners prescribe in Canada?
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In 2012 the Health Canada granted nurse practitioners with more prescribing authority. These new regulations also applies to nurse midwives and podiatrists.

Nurse practitioners in Canada can prescribe, for example, benzodiazepines and other targeted substances, antidepressants, and anxiety medications.

Nurse practitioners cannot, however, prescribe heroin, cannabis (marihuana), opium, coca and anabolic steroids (expect testosterone). For a full list of nurse practitioners’ regulations in Canada, check out this document.

What can nurse practitioners prescribe in Australia?

Nurse practitioners in Australia can prescribe medications as private prescriptions according to their state prescribing accredation. The medications which can be prescribed varies between the states and terrotories of Australia.

You can find the full list of medicines that nurse practitioners can prescribe in Australia in here for a mobile device, and in here for desktop devices.

What can nurse practitioners prescribe in United Kingdom (UK)?

Can a nurse practitioner prescribe medication in the UK? Yes! But what can they prescribe?

Nurse practitioners in the UK are allowed to write prescriptions to any Schedule 2, 3, 4, or 5 controlled medications and all the non-controlled medications. Exceptions are diamorphine, dipipanone or cocaine for the treatment of any kind of addiction.

Now you should have a clear answer on whether can a nurse practitioner prescribe medication in your state, region or country.

If you would like to learn some more about nurse practitioners and nursing in general, check out these articles of ours:

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<a href="https://normalnurselife.com/about-us/ida-koivisto/" target="_blank">Ida Koivisto</a>

Ida Koivisto

Ida is a both registered nurse and public health nurse. Her passion is to provide as much as possible valuable information about nursing to the world. In her spare time from work and blogging, Ida loves to workout at the gym and spend time with relatives.

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