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Prescription Medicine (cont.)

Making Sense of Abbreviations of Prescription Medications

Once your health care practitioner hands a patient a written prescription, it is likely that the patient will not be able to read it. Doctors and pharmacists speak to each other in shorthand using Latin abbreviations. Here are some of the abbreviations a person may see on their prescription bottle:

  • ac = before meals
  • ad lib = at will
  • ad = right ear
  • as = left ear
  • bid = twice a day
  • cc = cubic centimeters
  • gtt = drop
  • hs = at bedtime
  • mEq = milliequivalents
  • mg = milligrams
  • mL = milliliters
  • od = right eye
  • os = left eye
  • pc = after meals
  • PO = by mouth
  • prn = as needed
  • qd = every day
  • qh = every hour
  • q4h = every 4 hours
  • qid = 4 times a day
  • tid = 3 times a day
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/25/2014




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