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How to Read Doctor Prescription

Reading a doctor's prescription for most people is like trying to read hieroglyphics. But this shorthand from doctors to pharmacists is essential to saving doctors time.

How to Read Doctor Prescription

All prescriptions contain the same information. The script begins with a letterhead at the top identifying the name, address and contact number of the prescribing doctor. This is important in case your pharmacist needs to contact them to clarify what's written.

In the middle of the prescription is where the actual order for medications is located in an abbreviated shorthand. It starts with the name of the drug, the dose of the drug, a unit of measurement, the route to give it, how often to give it, and for how long. Using our example above, this order is for a pain-killer called Voltaren, at a dose of 75 milligrams, given by mouth, once a day, for one week - see how much easier it is to write in shorthand. (This example is a prescription for arthritis joint pain).

How to Read Doctor Prescription Abbreviations

od
once a day
hs
once nightly
bid
twice a day
tid
three times a day
qid
four times a day
po
taken by mouth
IM/IV
by injection
ac
before meals
nocte
at night
prn
as needed
stat
right away
prescription bottle prescription from freud prescription antibiotic

A prescription is a legal document which entitles the bearer access to controlled substances. This is designed to protect us from medicines that could be hazardous to use without direction. Remember to always carry identification when filling a prescription and read label instructions carefully before consuming. If you have a question about your medication ask your pharmacist. They will be happy to help.

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    Last Updated:
    December 21 2013
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