The Illinois Council of Health-System Pharmacists (ICHP) supports the practice of therapeutic interchange as a process that potentially increases access to, controls costs of, and improves patient outcomes of medications.
Therapeutic interchange occurs when an authorized therapeutically equivalent medication is dispensed in place of the specific medication prescribed. Therapeutic equivalents are medications that differ in chemical composition or are different medication entities considered to have similar pharmacologic and /or therapeutic actions. Often, one medication is switched with another medication within the same therapeutic class, or from another medication class but with the same pharmacologic effect.
Therapeutic equivalence and interchange amongst products is mutually agreed upon by pharmacists and prescribers, frequently through written guidelines, protocols, or a collaborative practice agreement approved by the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee (or equivalent).
The assessment of therapeutic interchanges is a key component of a health system’s ongoing formulary management process, which demands the active input of interdisciplinary health professionals, and is evidence-based.