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abbreviations used in prescription writing

adapted from australian pharmaceutical formulary and handbook (apf) 15th edition

ABBREVIATION LATIN TRANSLATION


WORD/PHRASE
a.c. ante cibum before food
b.i.d. bis in die twice a day
b.d. bis die twice a day
c. (or with a dash over it) cum with
gutt/gtt guttae drops
h.s. hora somni at bedtime
m. mane in the morning
m. mitte send/give
m.d.u. more dicto utendus to be used as directed
n. nocte at night
ocul/oc oculentum eye ointment
p.a.a parti affectae applicandus to be applied to the affected
part
p.c. post cibum after food
p.r.n. pre re nata when necessary
q.d.s. quarter die four times daily
q.q.h. quarta quaque hora every four hours
q6h quaque 6 horis every 6 hours
q8h quaque 8 horis every 8 hours
sig. signatur let it be labelled
s.o.s. si opus sit if necessary
stat statim immediately
t.d.s. ter die sumendus to be taken three times daily
t.i.d. ter in die three times daily
ung. unguentum an ointment

Roman numerals are used to determine the dose, that is, the number of tablets to be taken
each dose. These have also been adapted: 1 = i 2 = ii 3 = iii 4 = iv 5=v
6 = vi and so on. These are often also written with a line across the top of the strokes
with the dots sitting on top.

Period of supply:
This is often written as fractions – however these are not fractions with a base ten, they
depend on the number of weeks, or months in a year.

There are 7 days in a week so:


1/7 = one day
2/7 = two days
10/7 = ten days … and so on

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There are 52 weeks in a year so:
1/52 = one week
2/52 = two weeks …. And so on

There are 12 months in a year so:


1/12 = one month
2/12 = two months
3/12 = three months (which is the maximum period for which you can prescribe)

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