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Rx Abbreviations

TermMeaningCaution
ac & hs before meals and at bedtime no warning
ad right ear "a" can be mistaken as an "o" which could read "o.d.", meaning right eye
am morning, before noon no warning
amp ampule (ampul, ampoule) no warning
amt amount no warning
as left ear "a" can be mistaken as an "o" which could read "o.s." or "o.l", meaning left eye
au both ears "a" can be mistaken as an "o" which could read "o.u.", meaning both eyes
bid twice daily AMA style avoids use of this abbreviation (spell out "twice a day")
BM bowel movement no warning
BS blood sugar no warning
BSA body surface area no warning
bucc buccal (inside cheek) no warning
cap capsule no warning
c with (usually written with a bar on top of the "c") no warning
cc cubic centimeter use mL instead-less confusing
d days [or] doses ambiguous meaning, write out "days" or "doses"
D5LR dextrose 5% in lactated Ringer's solution (intravenous sugar solution) no warning
D5NS dextrose 5% in normal saline (0.9%) (intravenous sugar solution) no warning
D5W dextrose 5% in water (intravenous sugar solution) no warning
D10W dextrose 10% in water (intravenous sugar solution) no warning
DAW dispense as written (i.e., no generic substitution) no warning
DC discontinue [or] discharge ambiguous meaning
disp dispense no warning
g gram (modern SI symbol is g, not gm) no warning
garg gargle no warning
gr grain no warning
gtt(s) drop(s) no warning
h hour no warning
hs at bedtime [or] half-strength ambiguous (2 meanings, easily conflated); spell out
IBW ideal body weight (for dosing based on clearance estimation) no warning
inj injection mistaken for "IV", meaning intravenously
IM intramuscular no warning
IN intranasal mistaken for "IM", meaning intramuscular, or "IV", meaning intravenously
i Roman Numeral for 1 no warning
ii Roman Numeral for 2 no warning
iii Roman Numeral for 3 no warning
IT intrathecal mistaken for other abbreviations; spell out
IU international unit RED ALERT: mistaken for "IV" or "10", spell out "international unit"
IV intravenous no warning
IVP intravenous push no warning
IVPB intravenous piggyback no warning
kg kilogram no warning
lb pound no warning
max maximum no warning
mcg microgram Recommended replacement for "µg" which may be confused with "mg"
mEq milliequivalent no warning
mg milligram no warning
MgSO4 magnesium sulfate RED ALERT: may be confused with "MSO4", spell out "magnesium sulfate"
mL milliliter no warning
MS morphine sulfate or magnesium sulfate RED ALERT: can mean either morphine sulfate or magnesium sulfate, spell out either
MSO4 morphine sulfate RED ALERT: may be confused with "MgSO4", spell out "morphine sulfate"
nebul a spray (such as for insufflation) no warning
NMT not more than no warning
noct at night no warning
non rep or NR no repeats (no refills) no warning
NPO nothing by mouth AMA style avoids use of this abbreviation (spell out "nothing by mouth")
NS normal saline (0.9%) no warning
1/2NS half-normal saline (0.45%) no warning
NTE not to exceed no warning
od right eye "o" can be mistaken as an "a" which could read "a.d.", meaning right ear, confusion with "omni die"
os left eye "o" can be mistaken as an "a" which could read "a.s.", meaning left ear
ou both eyes "o" can be mistaken as an "a" which could read "a.u.", meaning both ears
oz ounce no warning
pm evening or afternoon no warning
po by mouth or orally AMA style avoids use of this abbreviation (spell out "orally")
pr rectally no warning
prn as needed no warning
pv vaginally no warning
q every, per no warning
q 1 h every 1 hour (can replace "1" with other numbers) no warning
q4PM at 4 pm (can replace "4" with other numbers) mistaken to mean every 4 hours
q am every morning (every day before noon) no warning
q d every day mistaken for "QOD" or "qds," spell out "every day" or "daily". AMA style avoids use of this abbreviation (spell out "every day")
q hs every night at bedtime can be mistaken as "q.h.r." (every hour)
qid 4 times a day can be mistaken for "qd" or "qod," write out "4 times a day". AMA style avoids use of this abbreviation (spell out "4 times a day")
qod every other day RED ALERT: mistaken for "QD," spell out "every other day". AMA style avoids use of this abbreviation (spell out "every other day")
qs a sufficient quantity no warning
QWK every week no warning
rep repeats no warning
RL Ringer's lactate no warning
take (often effectively a noun meaning "prescription"—medical prescription or prescription drug) no warning
rep let it be repeated no warning
SC subcutaneous "SC" can be mistaken for "SL," meaning sublingual. See also SQ
sig write (write on the label) no warning
s without (usually written with a bar on top of the "s") no warning
sl sublingually, under the tongue no warning
SOB shortness of breath no warning
sol solution no warning
ss one-half [or] sliding scale mistaken for "55" or "1/2"
SSI sliding scale insulin or sliding scale regular insulin mistaken to mean "strong solution of iodine" or "selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor". See also SSRI
SQ subcutaneously "SQ" can be mistaken for "5Q" meaning "5 every dose". See also SC
SSRI selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor [or] sliding scale regular insulin ambiguous. Do not abbreviate
stat immediately no warning
SubQ subcutaneously no warning
supp suppository no warning
susp suspension no warning
syr syrup no warning
tab tablet no warning
tbsp tablespoon no warning
tid 3 times a day AMA style avoids use of this abbreviation (spell out "3 times a day")
tinct tincture no warning
tiw 3 times a week mistaken for "twice a week"
TPN total parenteral nutrition no warning
tinc tincture no warning
trit grind to a powder no warning
troch lozenge no warning
tsp teaspoon no warning
U unit RED ALERT: mistaken for a "4", "0" or "cc", spell out "unit"
ud or ut dict as directed no warning
ung ointment no warning
USP United States Pharmacopeia no warning
vag vaginally no warning
w with no warning
w/a while awake no warning
wf with food (with meals) no warning
w/o without no warning
x times no warning
yo years old no warning
μg microgram mistaken for "mg", meaning milligram
> greater than mistaken for a "7"
< less than mistaken for an "L"
pound no warning
ounce RED ALERT: apothecary symbol confusing
ʒ dram (drachm) RED ALERT: apothecary symbol confusing
scruple RED ALERT: apothecary symbol confusing
ug until gone no warning
Created by: mchugh100