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California Physical Therapy Topical Medications


“Topical medications” means medications applied locally to the skin or underlying tissue where there is a break in or absence of the skin where such medications require a prescription or order under federal or state law.

Administration of Medications

Topical medications may be administered by a physical therapist by:

  • Direct application;
  • Iontophoresis; or
  • Phonophoresis.

Authorization and Protocols Required

Topical medications shall be applied or administered by a physical therapist in accordance with this section.

  • Any topical medication applied or administered shall be ordered on a specific or standing basis by a practitioner legally authorized to order or prescribe such medication.
  • Written protocols shall be prepared for the administration or application of each of the groups of medications for which a prescription is required under Federal or State law, which shall include a description of the medication, its actions, its indications and contraindications, and the proper procedure and technique for the application or administration of medication.

Authorized Topical Medications

A physical therapist may apply or administer those topical medications listed in this section in accordance with the provisions of this article:

  • Bacteriocidal agents;
  • Debriding agents;
  • Topical anesthetic agents;
  • Anti-inflammatory agents;
  • Antispasmodic agents; and
  • Adrenocortico-steroids.


16 CCR § 1399.77

16 CCR § 1399.76

16 CCR § 1399.78

16 CCR § 1399.79

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