Can Nutritionists Prescribe Medication?

Amy Beney MS RD CDCES

 January 15, 2023

Can Nutritionist Prescribe Medication?

 

In short, No.

If a nutritionist cannot prescribe medication, can a Registered Dietitian prescribe medication?

Let’s get the facts straight.

Nutritionist Vs. Dietitian:

 

All registered dietitians are nutritionists; not all nutritionists are registered dietitians (1).

Registered Dietitian

  • A Registered Dietitian has met the minimum degree requirements from an accredited university and must take a registration exam. This education includes nutrition and dietetic coursework, supervised practice, and a credentialing exam. The minimum requirement was a bachelor’s degree, but new graduates must have a Master’s degree.

Nutritionist-

  • A Nutritionist is a person who studies nutrition and/or provides education or counseling on nutrition principles. This may not include a degree from an accredited program.
  • There are no minimum coursework or practice requirements to become a nutritionist.

Dietitian vs Dietician is it the spelling?

 

The official spelling of Dietitian with a “t” was accepted by the American Dietetic Association’s executive committee at its 13th annual meeting in 1930.

These 2 names are often used synonymously. They do mean the same thing, but if you want to see a dietitian cringe, use the dietician version. If you want to start on the right foot, stick with the dietitian’s spelling.

A person with socks standing on a scale.

Are Registered Dietitians Doctors?

 

Dietitians can obtain a Ph.D. and doctorate but are not medical doctors. Therefore, since registered dietitians are not doctors, they cannot write prescriptions.

Can a Dietitian Diagnose?

 

According to the nutrition care process (NCP) a nutrition diagnosis is data collected during the nutrition assessment that guides the diagnosis of an appropriate nutrition diagnosis. This entails naming the specific problem. This can include identifying if someone needs to meet their estimated needs, such as protein, carbohydrates, or fluid. This does not mean a dietitian can diagnose diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, obesity, etc.

Can a Registered Dietitian prescribe medications?

 

I have been asked if dietitians can write prescriptions. The answer is no. Neither nutritionists nor dietitians can write prescriptions. It is outside our scope of practice for dietitians to write prescriptions.

Can a Dietitian Prescribe Semaglutide?

 

Semaglutide is also known as Ozempic or Wegovy. Semaglutide belongs to a class of medication known as glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists or GLP-1. It can be used to manage blood sugars in diabetics and also has a weight loss component. Semaglutide is considered a prescription as well. Only a person with credentials can write prescriptions. These professions include MD, PA, NP, and Dentist. Even though dietitians frequently work with weight loss goals, they cannot write prescriptions for weight loss pills, either.

What can Dietitians Prescribe?

A dietitian can prescribe healthy lifestyle choices, really awesome meal ideas, and simple ways to meal prep. A registered dietitian educates on endless facts and information, helping you unpack your lifelong or recent food issues.

They can help clear up all the crazy information from your mother, the internet, your cousin, or BFF has told you and help set your way to wellness.

I could go on and on.

Make an appointment to see all the great things a dietitian prescribes. There is a good chance your insurance covers a dietitian, (could be free for you with unlimited visits); insurance wants you to visit with one, but they won’t tell you that. Find out what your dietitian prescription is!

Final Thoughts

A registered dietitian can prescribe and guide you to a healthy lifestyle, they cannot prescribe medications.

  1. Definitions of Terms List.  Commission of Dietetic Registration.  Accessed April 13, 2023.  Https//www.cdrnet.org/defintions