Drug Prescription Abbreviations and Meanings
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Pharmacist's Guide

Table of Contents

Drug Prescription Abbreviations

Considerable variation occurs in the use of capitalization, italicization, and punctuation in abbreviations. The following list shows the abbreviations that are most often encountered by pharmacists.

Abbreviations Meanings
A, aa., or aa of each
a.c. before meals
ad to, up to
a.d. right ear
ad lib. at pleasure, freely
a.m. morning
amp. ampule
ante before
aq. water
a.s. left ear
asa aspirin
a.u. each ear, both ears
b.i.d. twice a day
BP British Pharmacopoeia
BSA body surface area
c. or c with
cap. or caps. capsule
cp chest pain
D.A.W. dispense as written
cc or cc. cubic centimeter
comp. compound, compounded
dil. dilute
D.C., dc, or disc. discontinue
disp. dispense
div. divide, to be divided
dl or dL deciliter
d.t.d. give of such doses
DW distilled water
D5W dextrose 5% in water
elix. elixir
e.m.p. as directed
et and
ex aq. in water
fl or fld fluid
fl oz fluid ounce
ft. make
g or Gm gram
gal. gallon
GI gastrointestinal
gr or gr. grain
gtt or gtt. drop, drops
H hypodermic
h. or hr. hour
h.s. at bedtime
IM intramuscular
inj. injection
IV intravenous
IVP intravenous push
IVPB intravenous piggyback
K potassium
l or L liter
lb. pound
M mix
mcg, mcg. microgram
mEq milliequivalent
mg or mg. milligram
ml or mL milliliter
N&V nausea and vomiting
Na sodium
N.F. National Formulary
No. number
noct. night, in the night
non rep. do not repeat
NPO nothing by mouth
N.S., NS, or N/S normal saline
1/2 NS half-strength normal saline
O pint
o.d. right eye, every day
o.l. or o.s. left eye
OTC over the counter
o.u. each eye, both eyes
oz. ounce
p.c. after meals
PDR Physicians’ Desk Reference
p.m. afternoon, evening
p.o. by mouth
Ppt precipitated
pr for the rectum
prn or p.r.n. as needed
pt. pint
pulv. powder
pv for vaginal use
q. every
q.d. every day
q.h. every hour
q. 4 hr. every four hours
q.i.d. four times a day
q.o.d. every other day
q.s. a sufficient quantity
q.s. ad a sufficient quantity to make
R rectal
R.L. or R/L Ringer’s lactate
Rx prescription
s. or s without
Sig. write on label
sol. solution
S.O.B. shortness of breath
s.o.s. if there is need (once only)
ss. or ss one-half
stat. immediately
subc, subq, or s.c. subcutaneously
sup. or supp suppository
susp. suspension
syr. syrup
tab. tablet
tal. such, such a one
tal. dos. such doses
tbsp. or T tablespoonful
t.i.d. three times a day
tr. or tinct. tincture
tsp. or t. teaspoonful
TT tablet triturates
U or u. unit
u.d. or ut dict. as directed
ung. ointment
U.S.P. or USP United States Pharmacopoeia
w/v weight/volume

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