prescripction code

AbbreviationLatinMeaning
aaanaof each
adadup to
a.c.ante cibumbefore meals
a.d.auris dextraright ear
ad lib.ad libitumuse as much as one desires;
freely
admov.admoveapply
agitagitastir/shake
alt. h.alternis horisevery other hour
a.m.Ante Meridiemmorning, before noon
ampampule
amtamount
aqaquawater
auris laeva, auris
a.l., a.s.left ear
sinistra
A.T.C.around the clock
a.u.auris utraqueboth ears
bisbistwice
b.d./b.i.d.bis in dietwice daily
B.M.bowel movement
as a large single dose (usually
bol.bolus
intravenously)
B.S.blood sugar
B.S.Abody surface areas
BUCCinside cheek
cap., caps.capsulacapsule
with (usually written with a bar
ccum
on top of the “c”)
ccibosfood
with food, (but also cubic
cccum cibos
centimetre)
cfwith food
comp.compound
cr., crmcream
dextrose 5% solution
D5W
(sometimes written as D5W)
dextrose 5% in normal saline
D5NS
-0.9%
D.A.W.dispense as written
dc, D/C, discdiscontinue
dieb. alt.diebus alternisevery other day
dil.dilute
disp.dispense
div.divide
d.t.d.dentur tales dosesgive of such doses
D.W.distilled water
elix.elixir
e.m.p.ex modo prescriptoas directed
emuls.emulsumemulsion
etetand
ex aqex aquain water
fl., fld.fluid
ft.fiatmake; let it be made
ggram
grgrain
gtt(s)gutta(e)drop(s)
Hhypodermic
h, hrhorahour
h.s.hora somniat bedtime
IDintradermal
intramuscular (with respect to
IM
injections)
inj.injectioinjection
IPintraperitoneal
IVintravenous
IVPintravenous push
IVPBintravenous piggyback
L.A.S.label as such
LCDcoal tar solution
linlinimentumliniment
liqliquorsolution
lot.lotion
M.miscemix
m, minminimuma minimum
mcgmicrogram
m.d.u.more dicto utendusto be used as directed
mEqmilliequivalent
mgmilligram
mist.misturamix
mittemittesend
mLmillilitre
nebulnebulaa spray
N.M.T.not more than
noct.nocteat night
non rep.non repetaturno repeats
NSnormal saline (0.9%)
1/2NShalf normal saline (0.45%)
N.T.E.not to exceed
both eyes, sometimes written
o_2
as o2
o.d.oculus dexterright eye
o.s.oculus sinisterleft eye
o.u.oculus uterqueboth eyes
ozounce
perperby or through
p.c.post cibumafter meals
p.m.Post Meridiemevening or afternoon
prnpro re nataas needed
p.o.per osby mouth or orally
p.r.by rectum
pulv.pulvispowder
qquaqueevery
q.a.d.quoque alternis dieevery other day
quaque die ante
q.a.m.every day before noon
meridiem
quater die
q.d.s.four times a day
sumendus
quaque die post
q.p.m.every day after noon
meridiem
q.h.quaque horaevery hour
q.h.s.quaque hora somnievery night at bedtime
every 1 hour; (can replace “1”
q.1hquaque 1 hora
with other numbers)
q.d.quaque dieevery day
q.i.d.quater in diefour times a day
q.o.d.every other day
quater quaque
qqhevery four hours
hora
q.s.quantum sufficiata sufficient quantity
QWKevery week
Rrectal
rep., rept.repetaturrepeats
RL, R/LRinger’s lactate
without (usually written with a
ssine
bar on top of the “s”)
s.a.secundum artumuse your judgement
SC, subc, subcut,
subcutaneous
subq, SQ
sigwrite on label
SLsublingually, under the tongue
solsolutiosolution
s.o.s., si op. sitsi opus sitif there is a need
sssemisone half
statstatimimmediately
suppsuppositoriumsuppository
suspsuspension
syrsyrupussyrup
tabtabellatablet
tal., ttalussuch
tbsptablespoon
trochetrochiscuslozenge
tspteaspoon
t.i.d.ter in diethree times a day
t.d.s.ter die sumendumthree times a day
t.i.w.three times a week
top.topical
T.P.N.total parenteral nutrition
tr, tinc., tinct.tincture
u.d., ut. dict.ut dictumas directed
ung.unguentumointment
U.S.P.United States Pharmacopoeia
vagvaginally
wwith
w/owithout
Xtimes
Y.O.years old

To avoid ambiguity, the following abbreviations are not recommended [1] [2]:
 a.u., a.s., a.d. – Latin for both, left and right ears; the “a” can be misread to be an
“o” and interpreted to mean both, right or left eyes
 bt – intended to mean “bedtime”, but can be misread as “bid” or twice daily.
 d/c – can mean “discontinue” or “discharge”
 h.s. – can mean half strength or “hour of sleep”
 IJ – intended to mean “injection”, but can be misread as “IV”
 IN – intended to mean “intranasal”, but can be misread as “IM” or “IV”
 IU – intended to mean “international unit”, but can be misread as “IV” or “10”
 o.d., o.s., o.u. – the “o” can be misread as “a”.
 o.d. – can mean “once daily” or “right eye”.
 OJ – intended to mean “orange juice” but can be misread as “OD” or “OS”
 q4PM – intended to mean “at 4 PM”, but can be misread as every 4 hours
 q.d., q1d – intended to mean “every day” but can be misread as “q.i.d.” or 4 times a
day
 q.o.d. – meant “every other day” but the “o” can be interpreted as “.” or “i” resulting
in double or eight times the frequency
 SC – meant “subcutaneaous” but mistaken for “SL” for “sublingual”
 SQ – meant “subcutaneaous” but mistaken for “5Q” or 5 every dose
 ‘ss – intended to mean “sliding scale” or “1/2”, but can be mistaken as “55”
 ‘SSI, SSRI – intended to mean “sliding scale insulin” or “sliding scale regular insulin”,
but can be mistaken as “strong solution of iodine” or “selective serotonin reuptake
inhibitor
 T.I.W – meant 3 times a week but mistaken for twice a week
 U – meant “units” but mistaken for “0”, “4” (so “4U” can become “40” and the “U” is
assumed), or misread as “cc” when poorly written; conversely cc can be mistaken
for “U”
 μg – meant “microgram” but mistaken for “mg”; this 1000-fold error can cause
potentially fatal misunderstandings
Notice that SID or S.I.D. is not a recognized abbreviation and
should not be used.

AbbreviationMeaning Notes About Confusion
1/2NSone-half normal saline (0.45%)Normal saline (NS) is 0.9%, so one-half normal saline is 0.45%
5-ASA5-aminosalicylic acidCan be misinterpreted as five tablets of aspirin (per FDA).Spell out full drug name.
abefore 
A.M.morning 
aaof each 
AAAabdominal aortic aneurysm (called a “triple-A”)Can be misinterpreted as ‘apply to affected area’
AAAapply to affected areaCan be misinterpreted as ‘abdominal aortic aneurysm’
acbefore meals 
achsbefore meals and at bedtime 
ADright ear 
ad libfreely; as much as desired 
ad sat.to saturation 
ad.to; up toCaution not to confuse with AD (meaning right ear)
ALTalanine aminotransferase 
alt.alternate 
alt. h.every other hour 
am, A.M.in the morning; before noon 
ampampule 
amt.amount 
ant.anterior 
antebefore 
apbefore dinner 
APAPacetaminophenSpell out drug name “acetaminophen”
aPTTactivated partial thromboplastin 
AQ, aqwater 
a.s., ASleft ear 
ASAaspirinSpell out drug name “aspirin”
ASTaspartate aminotransferase 
ATCaround the clock 
AUeach ear; both ears 
AZTzidovudineCan be misinterpreted as azathioprine (per FDA).Spell out drug name.
Babarium 
BCPbirth control pills 
Bibismuth 
bid, BIDtwice a day 
BMbowel movement 
BMIbody mass index 
bolbolus 
BPblood pressure 
BPHbenign prostatic hypertrophy 
BSblood sugar 
BSAbody surface area 
BTbedtimeIn U.S., ‘hs’ or ‘HS’ is more commonly used for bedtime.
cwith 
C.C.chief complaint 
c/ocomplaints of 
C&Sculture and sensitivity 
CABGcoronary artery bypass graft 
CaCO3calcium carbonate 
CADcoronary artery disease 
CAPcancer of the prostateDo not confuse with “capsule”
cap.capsuleDo not confuse with “cancer of the prostate”
CBCcomplete blood count 
cccubic centimetersMay be mistaken as u (units) per ISMP.Use mL instead of cc.
CDcontrolled delivery 
CFcystic fibrosis 
cmcentimeter 
CNScentral nervous system 
concconcentrated 
CPZCompazineCan be misinterpreted as chlorpromazine (per FDA).Spell out drug name.
CRcontrolled-release 
cr, crmcream 
CVcardiovascular 
CXRchest x-ray 
D/C, dc, disc.discontinue OR dischargeMultiple possible meanings; spell out instead of using “D/C”
D5/0.9 NaCl5% dextrose and normal saline solution (0.9% NaCl) 
D5 1/2/NS5% dextrose and half normal saline solution (0.45% NaCl) 
D5NSdextrose 5% in normal saline (0.9%) 
D5W5% dextrose in water 
DAWdispense as written 
DBPdiastolic blood pressure 
dil.diluted 
dispdispense 
divdivide 
DKAdiabetic ketoacidosis 
dLdeciliter 
DMdiabetes mellitus 
DODoctor of Osteopathic Medicine 
DOBdate of birth 
DPTdiphtheria-pertussis-tetanusBetter to spell out vaccine name; can be misinterpreted as Demerol-Phenergan-Thorazine per FDA
DRdelayed-release 
DVTdeep vein thrombosis 
DWdextrose in water, diabetes mellitus or distilled waterMultiple possible meanings; spell out instead of using “DW”
ECenteric-coated 
EENTEye, Ear, Nose, and Throat 
elix.elixir 
emuls.emulsion 
ERextended-releaseCan also mean “emergency room”
ERemergency roomCan also mean “extended-release”
ETOHethyl alcohol 
FFahrenheit 
f or Ffemale 
FBSfasting blood sugar 
FDAFood and Drug Administration 
FeIron 
FFPfresh frozen plasma 
fl or fldfluid 
ftfoot 
G, or g, or gmgram“g” is preferred symbol
garggargle 
GERDgastroesophageal reflux disease 
GIgastrointestinal 
gr.grainApothecary measurement (obsolete and may be misinterpreted as gram; do not use)
GTTglucose tolerance testCan be confused with gtt for drops
gtt, gttsdrop, dropsCan be confused with GTT for glucose tolerance test
GUgenitourinary 
guttat.drop by drop 
h, or hr.hour 
h/ohistory of 
H&Hhematocrit and hemoglobin 
H2histamine 2 
H20water 
HAARThighly active antiretroviral therapy 
HCT, or Hcthematocrit 
HCThydrocortisoneBetter to spell out drug name; can be misinterpreted as hydrochlorothiazide per FDA
HCTZhydrochlorothiazideBetter to spell out drug name; can be misinterpreted as hydrocortisone per FDA
HRheart rate 
HShalf-strengthbetter to spell out; do not mistake for “bedtime”
hs or HSat bedtime, hours of sleepDo not misinterpret as ‘half-strength’
HTNhypertension 
hxhistory 
IBWideal body weight 
IDintradermal OR infectious diseaseMultiple possible meanings; spell out word instead of using “ID”
IJinjectionbetter to spell out ‘injection’
IMintramuscular 
INintranasal 
infinfusion 
inj.injection 
instill.instillation 
IPintraperitoneal 
IRimmediate-release 
IUinternational unit(s)Mistaken as IV (intravenous) or the number 10 (ten); Instead use “International Unit(s)” (per Joint Commission’s “Do Not Use” List of Abbreviations)
IUDintrauterine device 
IVintravenous 
IVPintravenous pushCould be confused with ‘intravenous pyelogram’
IVPBintravenous piggyback 
Jjoule 
Kpotassium 
KOHpotassium hydroxide 
L or lliterLowercase letter l may be mistaken as the number 1 (per ISMP). Instead use L (uppercase) for liter.
LAlong-acting 
lablaboratory 
lb.pound 
LDLlow-density lipoprotein 
LFTliver function tests 
Lilithium 
liq.liquid 
LMPlast menstrual period 
lotlotion 
LPNlicensed practical nurse 
LRlactated ringer (solution) 
manein the morning 
mcg or µgmicrogramCan be misinterpreted to mean “mg” or milligram, better to spell out ‘microgram’
MDmedical doctor 
MDImetered-dose inhaler 
mEqmilliequivalent 
mEq/Lmilliequivalent per liter 
Mgmagnesium 
mgmilligram 
MgSO4magnesium sulfateMay be confused with “MSO4” (morphine sulfate), spell out “magnesium sulfate” – Joint Commission’s “Do Not Use” List of Abbreviations
mLmilliliterDo not use ml as lowercase l may be mistaken for the number 1. Use mL (lowercase m, uppercase L) for milliliter (per ISMP).
mmmillimeter 
MM or MmillionMay be mistaken as thousand. Use million.
M or KthousandMay be mistaken as million. Use thousand.
mm of Hgmillimeters of mercury 
mMolmillimole 
MMRmeasle-mumps-rubella (vaccine) 
mol wtmolecular weight 
MRmodified-release 
MSmorphine sulfate or magnesium sulfateCan mean either morphine sulfate or magnesium sulfate, spell out full drug name – Joint Commission’s “Do Not Use” List of Abbreviations
MSO4morphine sulfateMay be confused with “MgSO4”; instead spell out “morphine sulfate” – Joint Commission’s “Do Not Use” List of Abbreviations
n or noct.in the night 
N/Anot applicable 
N/V, N&Vnausea and vomiting 
Nasodium 
NASintranasal 
NDCNational Drug Code 
Ng or ngnanogramMay be mistaken as mg or nasogastric. Use nanogram.
NGTnasogastric tube 
NH3ammonia 
NKAno known allergies 
NKDAno known drug allergies 
noct. maneq.night and morning 
NPnurse practitioner 
NPO, n.p.o.nothing by mouthPreferred by AMA to spell out “nothing by mouth”
NSnormal saline 
NSAIDnonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug 
NTEnot to exceed 
O2oxygen 
OCoral contraceptive 
o.d., ODright eyeCan also mean “overdose” or “once daily”; better to spell out “right eye”
o.d.once per dayPreferred in the UK; Can also mean “overdose” or “right eye”; better to spell out “once per day”
OJorange juice 
o.s., OSleft eye 
OTCover-the-counter 
PAPhysician Assistant 
pcafter meals 
PRNas needed 
PMevening 
POorally or by mouthMay be better to spell out “by mouth” or “orally” (per AMA)
qevery 
q4hevery 4 hours 
q6hevery 6 hours 
q8hevery 8 hours 
q12hevery 12 hours 
qamevery morning 
qd, QD, q.d., Q.D.every dayCan be mistaken as q.i.d. Instead write “daily” (per The Joint Commission “Do Not Use List”) or “use daily” per ISMP list
qhseach night at bedtimeCan be confused with “qh” (every hour); better to spell out “each night at bedtime”
q.i.d. , QIDfour times a day 
qod, QOD, q.o.d., or Q.O.D.every other dayMay be mistaken as qid or QID (four times daily).Write “every other day” (per ISMP and The Joint Commission).
RArheumatoid arthritis 
Rxprescription 
SAsustained action 
SL, s.l.sublingual (under the tongue) 
SC, SQ sq, or sub qsubcutaneous or subcutaneouslyUse SUBQ (all uppercase) or spell out subcutaneous or subcutaneously
SRsustained release 
STDsexually transmitted disease 
suppsuppository 
suspsuspension 
syrsyrup 
Ttemperature 
tbsp or TbsptablespoonMistaken as teaspoon(s). Use the metric system (e.g., mL).
TID, t.i.d.three times a day 
top.topical 
TRtimed-release 
tspteaspoonMistaken as tablespoon(s). Use the metric system (e.g., mL).
U or uunitMistaken as the number “0” (zero), the number “4” (four) or as “cc”. Write “unit” instead (per The Joint Commission “Do Not Use” List).
ud, ut, dict, UDas directed 
ungointment 
UTIurinary tract infection 
WBCwhite blood cell 
XRextended-release 
mcg, µgmicrogramµg mcg can be misinterpreted as “mg”. Better to spell out “microgram”
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