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Class Progress
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Chapter Listing

Basic Pharmacology 1 - DEMO

Preview

The yellow highlighted abbreviation listings in the chart are the abbreviations that The Joint Commission is stating to spell out the medications (instead of abbreviating them) so that patient errors will not be made. These are high-level abbreviations for medication errors.

Common Medical and Prescription Abbreviations5

Abbreviation

Meaning / Intended Meaning

Notes About Confusion

Category

1/2NS

one-half normal saline (0.45%)


drug or class name

5-ASA

5-aminosalicylic acid

Better to spell out drug name; can be misinterpreted as five tablets of aspirin per FDA

drug or class name

a

before


time

A.M.

morning


time

aa

of each


measurement

AAA

abdominal aortic aneurysm (called a "triple-A")

Can be misinterpreted as 'apply to affected area'

medical condition

AAA

apply to affected area

Can be misinterpreted as 'abdominal aortic aneurysm'

route of administration

ac

before meals


time

achs

before meals and at bedtime


time

AD

right ear


route of administration

ad lib

freely; as much as desired


time

ad sat.

to saturation


other

ad.

to; up to

Caution not to confuse with AD (meaning right ear)

measurement

ALT

alanine aminotransferase


lab

alt.

alternate


time

alt. h.

every other hour


time

am, A.M.

in the morning; before noon


time

amp

ampule


dosage form

amt.

amount


measurement

ant.

anterior


other

ante

before


time

ap

before dinner


time

APAP

acetaminophen

Better to spell out drug name "acetaminophen"

drug or class name

aPTT

activated partial thromboplastin


lab

AQ, aq

water


other

a.s., AS

left ear


route of administration

ASA

aspirin

Better to spell out drug name "aspirin"

drug or class name

AST

aspartate aminotransferase


lab

ATC

around the clock


time

AU

each ear; both ears


route of administration

AZT

zidovudine

Better to spell drug name out; can be misinterpreted as azathioprine per FDA

drug or class name

Ba

barium


drug or class name

BCP

birth control pills


drug or class name

Bi

bismuth


drug or class name

bid, BID

twice a day


time

BM

bowel movement


other

BMI

body mass index


vitals

bol

bolus


measurement

BP

blood pressure


vitals

BPH

benign prostatic hypertrophy


medical condition

BS

blood sugar


lab

BSA

body surface area


vitals

BT

bedtime

In U.S., 'hs' or 'HS' is more commonly used for bedtime

time

c

with


other

C.C.

chief complaint


other

c/o

complaints of


other

C&S

culture and sensitivity


lab

CABG

coronary artery bypass graft


other

CaCO3

calcium carbonate


drug or class name

CAD

coronary artery disease


medical condition

CAP

cancer of the prostate

Do not confuse with "capsule"

medical condition

cap.

capsule

Do not confuse with "cancer of the prostate"

dosage form

CBC

complete blood count


lab

cc

cubic centimeter

Can also mean "with food"

measurement

CD

controlled delivery


drug release technology

CF

cystic fibrosis


medical condition

cm

centimeter


measurement

CNS

central nervous system


other

conc

concentrated


other

CPZ

Compazine

Better to spell drug name out; can be misinterpreted as chlorpromazine per FDA

drug or class name

CR

controlled-release


drug release technology

cr, crm

cream


dosage form

CV

cardiovascular


other

CXR

chest x-ray


lab

D/C, dc, disc.

discontinue OR discharge

Multiple possible meanings; spell out instead of using "D/C"

other

D5/0.9 NaCl

5% dextrose and normal saline solution (0.9% NaCl)


drug or class name

D5 1/2/NS

5% dextrose and half normal saline solution (0.45% NaCl)


drug or class name

D5NS

dextrose 5% in normal saline (0.9%)


drug or class name

D5W

5% dextrose in water


drug or class name

DAW

dispense as written


other

DBP

diastolic blood pressure


lab

dil.

diluted


other

disp

dispense


other

div

divide


other

DKA

diabetic ketoacidosis


medical condition

dL

deciliter


measurement

DM

diabetes mellitus


medical condition

DO

Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine


medical specialty

DOB

date of birth


other

DPT

diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus

Better to spell out vaccine name; can be misinterpreted as Demerol-Phenergan-Thorazine per FDA

drug or class name

DR

delayed-release


drug release technology

DVT

deep vein thrombosis


medical condition

DW

dextrose in water, diabetes mellitus or distilled water

Multiple possible meanings; spell out instead of using "DW"

other

EC

enteric-coated


drug release technology

EENT

Eye, Ear, Nose, and Throat


Medical Specialty

elix.

elixir


dosage form

emuls.

emulsion


dosage form

ER

extended-release

Can also mean "emergency room"

drug release technology

ER

emergency room

Can also mean "extended-release"

other

ETOH

ethyl alcohol


drug or class name

F

Fahrenheit


lab

f or F

female


other

FBS

fasting blood sugar


lab

FDA

Food and Drug Administration


other

Fe

Iron


drug or class name or lab

FFP

fresh frozen plasma


drug or class name

fl or fld

fluid


measurement

ft

foot


measurement

G, or g, or gm

gram

"g" is preferred symbol

measurement

garg

gargle


route of administration

GERD

gastroesophageal reflux disease


medical condition

GI

gastrointestinal


other

gr.

grain

Apothecary measurement (obsolete and may be misinterpreted as gram; do not use)

measurement

GTT

glucose tolerance test

Can be confused with gtt for drops

lab

gtt, gtts

drop, drops

Can be confused with GTT for glucose tolerance test

measurement

GU

genitourinary


other

guttat.

drop by drop


measurement

h, or hr.

hour


time

h/o

history of


other

H&H

hematocrit and hemoglobin


lab

H2

histamine 2


other

H20

water


other

HAART

highly active antiretroviral therapy


drug or class name

HCT, or Hct

hematocrit


lab

HCT

hydrocortisone

Better to spell out drug name; can be misinterpreted as hydrochlorothiazide per FDA

drug or class name

HCTZ

hydrochlorothiazide

Better to spell out drug name; can be misinterpreted as hydrocortisone per FDA

drug or class name

HR

heart rate


vitals

HS

half-strength

better to spell out; do not mistake for "bedtime"

measurement

hs or HS

at bedtime, hours of sleep

Do not misinterpret as 'half-strength'

time

HTN

hypertension


medical condition

hx

history


other

IBW

ideal body weight


lab

ID

intradermal OR infectious disease

Multiple possible meanings; spell out word instead of using "ID"

route of administration; other

IJ

injection

better to spell out 'injection'

route of administration

IM

intramuscular


route of administration

IN

intranasal


route of administration

inf

infusion


route of administration

inj.

injection


route of administration

instill.

instillation


route of administration

IP

intraperitoneal


route of administration

IR

immediate-release


drug release technology

IU

international unit

Mistaken as IV (intravenous) or 10 (ten); Instead spell out "units" per Joint Commission's "Do Not Use" List of Abbreviations

measurement

IUD

intrauterine device


dosage form

IV

intravenous


route of administration

IVP

intravenous push

Could be confused with 'intravenous pyelogram'

route of administration

IVPB

intravenous piggyback


route of administration

J

joule


lab

K

potassium


drug or class name

KOH

potassium hydroxide


drug or class name

L

liter


measurement

LA

long-acting


drug release technology

lab

laboratory


other

lb.

pound


measurement

LDL

low-density lipoprotein


lab

LFT

liver function tests


lab

Li

lithium


drug or class name

liq.

liquid


dosage form

LMP

last menstrual period


other

lot

lotion


dosage form

LPN

licensed practical nurse


medical specialty

LR

lactated ringer (solution)


drug or class name

mane

in the morning


time

mcg

microgram

Can be misinterpreted to mean "mg" or milligram, better to spell out 'microgram'

measurement

MD

medical doctor


medical specialty

MDI

metered-dose inhaler


dosage form

mEq

milliequivalent


measurement

mEq/L

milliequivalent per liter


measurement

Mg

magnesium


drug or class name

mg

milligram


measurement

MgSO4

magnesium sulfate

May be confused with "MSO4" (morphine sulfate), spell out "magnesium sulfate" - Joint Commission's "Do Not Use" List of Abbreviations

drug or class name

mL

milliliter


measurement

mm

millimeter


measurement

mm of Hg

millimeters of mercury


measurement

mMol

millimole


measurement

MMR

measle-mumps-rubella (vaccine)


drug or class name

mol wt

molecular weight


measurement

MR

modified-release


drug release technology

MS

morphine sulfate or magnesium sulfate

Can mean either morphine sulfate or magnesium sulfate, spell out drug name - Joint Commission's "Do Not Use" List of Abbreviations

drug or class name

MSO4

morphine sulfate

May be confused with "MgSO4"; instead spell out "morphine sulfate" - Joint Commission's "Do Not Use" List of Abbreviations

drug or class name

n or noct.

in the night


time

N/A

not applicable


other

N/V, N&V

nausea and vomiting


other

Na

sodium


lab or drug or class name

NAS

intranasal


route of administration

NDC

National Drug Code


other

NGT

nasogastric tube


route of administration

NH3

ammonia


other

NKA

no known allergies


other

NKDA

no known drug allergies


other

noct. maneq.

night and morning


time

NP

nurse practitioner


medical specialty

NPO, n.p.o.

nothing by mouth

Preferred by AMA to spell out "nothing by mouth"

route of administration

NS

normal saline


drug or class name

NSAID

nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug


drug or class name

NTE

not to exceed


other

O2

oxygen


other

OC

oral contraceptive


drug or class name

o.d., OD

right eye

Can also mean "overdose" or "once daily"; better to spell out

route of administration, ophthalmic abbreviations

o.d.

once per day

Preferred in the UK; Can also mean "overdose" or "right eye"; better to spell out

time

OJ

orange juice


other

OM

otitis media


medical condition

o.s., OS

left eye


route of administration, ophthalmic abbreviations

OTC

over-the-counter


other

o.u., OU

both eyes


route of administration, ophthalmic abbreviations

oz

ounce


measurement

p

after


time

p.r.n., prn

as needed


time

PA

physician assistant


medical specialty

pc

after meals


time

PCA

patient-controlled analgesia


other

PE

physical exam, pulmonary embolism


other

per

by or through


route of administration

per neb

by nebulizer


route of administration

per os

by mouth, orally

AMA prefers to spell out "by mouth" or "orally"; can be mistaken as "os" meaning left eye per FDA

route of administration

PFT

pulmonary function tests


lab

pH

hydrogen ion concentration


other

PharmD

Doctor of Pharmacy


medical specialty

PM

evening


time

PMH

past medical history


other

PO, p.o.

orally or by mouth

AMA prefers to spell out "by mouth" or "orally"

route of administration

PR, p.r.

per the rectum


route of administration

PT

prothrombin time


lab

PTT

partial thromboplastin time


lab

pulv

powder


dosage form

PV

per the vagina


route of administration

q

every


time

q.s., qs

as much as needed; a sufficient quantity


measurement

q12h

every 12 hours


time

qd, q1d

daily


time

q2h

every 2 hours


time

q3h

every 3 hours


time

q4h

every 4 hours


time

q6h

every 6 hours


time

q6PM, etc

every evening at 6 PM


time

q8h

every 8 hours


time

qam

every morning


time

qd, QD

every day

Mistaken as q.i.d; Instead write "daily" or "every day" per Joint Commission's "Do Not Use" List of Abbreviations

time

qh

every hour


time

qhs

each night at bedtime

Can be confused with "qh" meaning every hour; better to spell out

time

qid

four times a day


time

qn

Nightly or at bedtime

Not commonly used in U.S.; 'hs' more common for bedtime

time

qod, QOD, q.o.d

every other day

Can be mistaken as qd (daily) or qid (four times daily); Instead spell out "every other day" per Joint Commission's "Do Not Use" List of Abbreviations

time

q.s. ad

add sufficient quantity to make


measurement

RA

rheumatoid arthritis


medical condition

RDA

recommended daily allowances


other

RE

right eye


route of administration, ophthalmic abbreviations

rep

repeats


time

RN

registered nurse


medical specialty

RPh

pharmacist


medical specialty

Rx

prescription


other

s

without


other

s.o.s.

if necessary


other

sa

according to the art; best practice


other

SA

sustained action


drug release technology

SBP

systolic blood pressure


vital sign

SID

Used ONLY in Veterinary medicine to mean "once daily"

Can be confused to mean BID (twice daily) and QID (four times daily); pharmacists should clarify abbreviations with DVM, if needed.

time; used in Veterinary medicine ONLY

sig codes

medical or prescription abbreviations


other

Sig.

write on label


other

SL, s.l.

sublingual, under the tongue


route of administration

SNRI

serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor


drug or class name

SOB

shortness of breath


other

sol

solution; in solution


dosage form

sp gr

specific gravity


lab

SQ, SC, sub q

subcutaneously

Use caution as "SC" can be mistaken for "SL," meaning sublingual per FDA

route of administration

SR

sustained release


drug release technology

ss

sliding scale (insulin) OR 1/2 (apothecary; obsolete)

Use caution; can be misinterpreted; better to spell out "sliding scale" or "one-half"

other

SSI

Sliding scale insulin


other

SSRI

sliding scale regular insulin OR selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor

Spell out words to avoid confusion

other

stat

immediately


time

STD/STI

sexually transmitted diseases/ Sexually transmitted infections


medical condition

sup.

superior


other

supf.

superficial


other

supp

suppository


dosage form

susp

suspension


dosage form

syr.

syrup


dosage form

T

temperature


vital sign

tab

tablet


dosage form

tbsp

tablespoon


measurement

TIA

transient ischemic attack


medical condition

TID, t.i.d.

three times a day


time

tid ac

three times a day before meals


time

TIN, t.i.n.

three times a night


time

tinct., tr

tincture


dosage form

TIW, tiw

3 times a week

Spell out; can be confused with TID (three times a day)

time

top.

topical


route of administration

TO

telephone order



TPN

total parenteral nutrition


drug or class name

TR

timed-release


drug release technology

troche

lozenge


dosage form

TSH

thyroid stimulating hormone


lab

tsp

teaspoon


measurement

Tx

treatment


other

U or u

unit

Mistaken as the number "0" (zero), the number "4" (four), or "cc". Prescriber should instead spell out "unit" per Joint Commission's "Do Not Use" List of Abbreviations

measurement

UA

urinalysis


lab

ud, ut dict, UD

as directed


other

ung

ointment


dosage form

UTI

urinary tract infection


medical condition

vag, pv

via the vagina


route of administration

VLDL

very low density lipoprotein


lab

vol %

volume percent


measurement

vol.

volume


measurement

w/o

without


other

w/v

weight in volume


measurement

WBC

white blood cell


lab

WNL

within normal limits


lab

wt.

weight


vital sign

x

multiplied by


other

XL

extended-release


drug release technology

XR

extended-release


drug release technology

XT

extended-release


drug release technology

yo

years old


other

yr

year


time

Zn

zinc


drug or class drug or class name

μEq

microequivalent


measurement

μg, mcg

microgram

μg or mcg can be misinterpreted as "mg", better to spell out 'microgram'

measurement

μL

microliter


measurement

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