List of abbreviations used in medical prescriptions

List of abbreviations used in medical prescriptions

This is a list of abbreviations used in medical prescriptions. Its listing here does not mean such abbreviations should be used. See main article for discussion on the use of abbreviations. This listing does not include abbreviations for actual pharmaceuticals (which is a separate article in itself). Capitalization and the use of a period is a matter of style. In the attached list, Latin is not capitalized whereas English acronyms are. The period is used wherever there are letters omitted in the abbreviation.

To avoid ambiguity, the following abbreviations are not recommended [] [] :
*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

ee also

*List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes

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