Every Rx Pharmacy Prescription Abbreviations and their Meaning

There are many pharmacy prescription abbreviations used in the clinical settings by the physician or any qualified healthcare giver while writing a prescription to the pharmacist. A medical prescription is a written direction by the physician to the pharmacist to dispense medications. It specifies the medicine, the dose, delivery route, frequency, regimen, and purpose of medication.

It also shows the form of medication such as oral tablets, liquid, syrup, emulsion, infusion, inhalation, suspension, topical ointments, creams.

The term prescription is from the Latin word recipe, meaning “take”. It is abbreviated ℞ (or Rx).

Most of the pharmacy prescription abbreviations are abbreviated Latin words, and words from other languages like English, Roman, Greek. The abbreviations may use lower case or upper case alphabets.

It is important to note that due to ambiguity, some pharmacy prescription abbreviations are rarely used. They may mean two things or may be misinterpreted. Examples are:

  • h.s. — half strength or “hour of sleep”
  • d/c – can mean “discontinue” or “discharge”
  • bt – mean “bedtime” but can be misread as “bid” or twice daily
  • μg – meant “microgram” but mistaken for “mg”

Rx Pharmacy Prescription Abbreviations (A-Z)

A

Prescription AbbreviationsLatin wordMeaning
aaana of each
AAAapply to affected area
ABXantibiotic
adadup to
a.c.ante cibumbefore food
ACEIangiotensin converting enzyme
AChanticholinergic
AChEIacetylcholinesterase inhibitor
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
ampampoule
amtamount
applic.apply
aq., or aquaaquawater
a.l., a.s.auris laeva, auris
sinistra
left ear
APAPacetaminophen
ARTantiretroviral therapy
ARVantiretroviral
ASAacetylsalicylic acid
ASxasymptomatic
A.T.C.around the clock
a.u. auris utraque or aures unitasboth ears
aurist. ear drops

B

Prescription Abbreviations Latin words Meaning
BBbeta-blocker
bib.bibedrink
bisbistwice
b.d./b.i.d.bis in dietwice daily
b.d.s, bds, BDSbis die sumendum2 times a day
B.M.bowel movement
bol.bolusas a large single dose (usually
intravenously)
BMIbody mass index
BZ or BZDbenzodiazepine
BPblood pressure
B.P.British Pharmacopoeia
B.S.blood sugar
B.S.Abody surface areas
BUCCbuccainside cheek
BPHbenign prostatic hyperplasia
BUNblood urea nitrogen

C

Prescription Abbreviations Latin words Meaning
cap., capscapsulacapsule
calid.warm
ccumwith (usually written with a bar
on top of the “c”)
cciboswith food
cccum ciboswith food, (can also mean cubic
centimetre, (cm3))
CCBcalcium channel blocker
COCcombined oral contraceptive
cfwith food
ChewTchewable tablet
collut. mouthwash
collyr.eye lotion
cmcentimeter
CNScentral nervous system
COCcombined oral contraceptive
comp.compound
COPDchronic obstructive pulmonary disease
COXcyclooxygenase enzyme
CrClcreatinine clearance
cr., crmcream
conc. concentrated

D

Prescription Abbreviations Latin wordsMeaning
d.diesday
D5Wdextrose 5% solution, also written D5W
D5NSdextrose 5% in normal saline
(0.9%)
D.A.W.dispense as written
DERMdermatologic
dc, D/C, discdiscontinue
dest. distilled
dieb. alt.diebus alternisevery other day
dil.dilute
disp.dispense
div.divide
DHTdihydrotestosterone
DIdrug interaction
DOCdrug of choice
dLdeciliter
dxdisease/diagnosis
dur.duration
dysfxdysfunction
dol.urg when the pain is severe
dolent.part. to the afflicted part
dos. dose
DRdelayed-release
DSdouble strength
d.t.ddentur tales dosesgive of such doses
D.W.distilled water

E

Prescription AbbreviationsLatin wordsMeaning
elix.elixir
e.m.p.ex modo prescriptoas directed
emuls.emulsion
EODevery other day
ECenteric-coated
ER; XRextended-release
etetand
extemp.extemporaneously dispensed
ext. extract
ex aqin water

F

Prescription AbbreviationsLatin wordsMeaning
fl., fldfluid
fort. strong
ft.fiatmake; let it be made
f/ufollow-up
FXDfor 10 days (X is Roman numeral for 10)

G

Prescription Abbreviations Latin wordsMeaning
ggram
galgallon
garg. gargle
grgrain
gtt., gttsgutta(e)drop(s)

H

Prescription Abbreviations Latin wordsMeaning
Hhypodermic
HCT; HCTZhydrochlorothiazide
h, hrhorahour
ht.height
hx.history
h.s.hora somniat bedtime
5HTserotonin

I

Prescription abbreviationsLatin words Meaning
ii duos dosestwo tablets
iii trēs dosesthree tablets
i.cbetween meals
IDintradermal
IMintramuscular injection
INintranasal
IFNBinterferon beta
Igimmunoglobulin
inh.inhalation
inf.infusion
inj.injectioinjection
IPintraperitoneal
IRimmediate-release
IUinternational unit
IVintravenous
IVPintravenous push
IVPBintravenous piggyback

K

Prescription abbreviationsMeaning
kgkilogram
Kpotassium

L

Prescription abbreviationsLatin wordsMeaning
Lliter
L.A.S.label as such
lblibrapound (measurement)
LCDcoal tar solution
linlinimentumliniment
liqliquorsolution, liquid
lot.lotion

M

AbbreviationsLatin words Meaning
M.miscemix
mmeter
m, min minimuma minimum
max.maximum
mcg, μgmicrogram
MDImetered dose inhaler
MDPMedrol DosepakPre-dosed packaging of methylprednisolone
m.d.as directed
m.d.u. more dicto utendus to be used as directed
mEqmilliequivalent
mgmilligram
mmmillimeter
mist. mistura mix
mitte mitte send
mL millilitre

N

AbbreviationsLatin wordsMeaning
narist. nasal drops
neb.nebula nebulizer
NGnasogastric
N.M.T.not more than
nocte, or nnocte at night
non rep. non repetatur no repeats
NP or n.p.proper name
n.p.o., npo, NPOnil per osnothing by mouth / not by oral administration
NS normal saline (0.9%)
NSAIDNon-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, a drug class.
NNRTInon-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor
1/2NS half normal saline (0.45%)
N.T.E. not to exceed

O

AbbreviationsLatin wordsMeaning
o.alt.hor. every other hour
o_2 both eyes, sometimes written as o2
oculent.eye ointment
o.d., od, ODoculus dexter right eye
o.d.omne in dieonce daily
o.d.every night
o.m. every morning
o.n. every night
oint.ointment
o.s., os, OSoculus sinister left eye
ODToral disintegrating tablet
OTCover the counter
o.u. oculus uterque both eyes
oz ounce

P

AbbreviationsLatin wordsMeaning
PAprior authorization
p.aeq. equal parts
p.a. to the affected part
part. dolent. to the painful part
past. paste
per per by or through
p.c. post cibum after meals
p.m., pm, PMpost meridiem evening or afternoon
prn pro re nata as needed
p.o. per os by mouth or orally
PPIproton-pump inihibitor
p.r., pr, PRby rectum
ProDprodrug
ptpint
Pt(s)patient(s)
pulv. pulvis powder
p.v.per vaginamvaginally

Q

AbbreviationsLatin wordsMeaning
q quaque every
q.1.h., q1hquaque horaevery hour
q.2.h., q2h quaque secunda horaevery 2 hours
q.4.h., q4h quaque quarta horaevery 4 hours
q.6.h., q6hquaque sexta horaevery 6 hours
q.8.h., q8h quaque octava horaevery 8 hours
q.a.d. quoque alternis die every other day
q.a.m., qAM, qamquaque die ante meridiem every day before noon
q.d.s., qds, QDSquater die sumendus four times a day
q.p.m., qPM, qpmquaque die post meridiem every day after noon
q.h., qhquaque hora every hour
q.h.s., qhsquaque hora somni every night at bedtime
q.1h quaque 1 hora every 1 hour; (can replace “1”
with other numbers)
q.d., qdquaque die every day
q.i.d. , qidquater in die four times a day
q.o.d., qodevery other day
qqh quater quaque horaevery four hours
q.s., qsquantum sufficiat a sufficient quantity
qtquart
qty.quantity
QWK, qwquaque weekevery week

R

AbbreviationsLatin wordsMeaning
Rrectal
recrecommended
rep., rept. repetatur repeats
RL, R/L Ringer’s lactate
R/Orule out
Rx, Rx, ℞ recipereprescription
rxnreaction

S

AbbreviationsLatin wordsMeaning
s sine without (usually written with a
bar on top of the “s”)
s.a.secundum artum use your judgement
SC, subc, subcut, subq, SQ subcutaneous
sig., S.signalet it be labeled, direction
SLsublingually, under the tongue
SOBshortness of breath
sol solutio solution
s.o.s., si op. sit si opus sit if there is a need
ss semis one half
SSRIselective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, a class of drugs.
stat statim immediately
supp suppositorium suppository
susp suspension
SRsustained release
syr syrupus syrup
syrsyringe

T

AbbreviationsLatin wordsMeaning
tab.tabella tablet
TADtake as directed
tal., t talus such
tbsp tablespoon
trochetrochiscus lozenge
tsp teaspoon
t.i.d., tid, TIDter in die three times a day
t.d.s., tds, TDSter die sumendum three times a day
t.i.w. three times a week
Tdaptetanus, diphtheria, pertussis
top. topical
T.P.N. total parenteral nutrition
tr, tinc., tinct. tincture
trit. or triturateserial dilution or mixing ingredients
tx.treatment

U

AbbreviationsLatin wordsMeaning
Uunit
u.a.as before
u.d., ut. dict., or ut. directut dictum as directed
ung. unguentum ointment
U.S.P. United States Pharmacopoeia

V

AbbreviationsLatin wordsMeaning
vag vaginally

W

AbbreviationsLatin wordsMeaning
wwith
wt.weight
w/fwith food
w/owithout
WSPwhite soft paraffin

X

AbbreviationsLatin wordsMeaning
Xtimes

Y

AbbreviationsLatin wordsMeaning
Y.Oyears old
YSPyellow soft paraffin

References:

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