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Understanding Your Prescription

When your physician hands you a prescription, does the wording on the Rx note sometimes leave you a wreck trying to understand it? We all know the old stereotype about Doctors' handwriting, however even if your doctor has perfect penmanship, unless you understand Latin you may still not understand your prescriptions.

Your physicians or your pharmacists will always be the best people to ask if you have any questions, but just to satisfy your curiosity, here are a few of the most commonly used Latin abbreviations that show up on prescriptions:

Latin Abbreviation
English Meaning
ac
before meals
pc
after meals
q
every
   
   
bid
twice a day
tid
three times a day
qid
four times a day
qh
every hour
q2h
every two hours
q4-6h
every four to six hours
prn
as needed
ad lib
as needed
gtt
drop(s)
stat
at once
tab
tablet(s)
cap
capsule(s)
ung
ointment
 

Remember to follow all instructions given to you with your medication. If you see a discrepancy between what you see here and what is printed on your prescription, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

For more information on how to safely take medication, click here.

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