A Doctor’s Prescription

 A physician writes a prescription to inform the pharmacist of the drug that is to given to the patient, how the drug is to be taken, and how often it can be filled.  Prescription notations are generally in Latin as follows:

     Rmeans “take” and refers to the medication to be dispensed

     S. or Sig. refers to the directions for taking the medication  Roman numerals are used to indicate number of pills:    (i, ii, iii, or iv – 1, 2, 3, or 4)  

Mortar & Pestle

In the past, the when pharmacists prepared medications using a mortal and pestle, prescriptions could be very long.  Today, most medications are available pre-packaged.  The pharmacist is responsible for preparing and labeling the medication. Check the prescription using the abbreviations below: 

How Often to Take Medications
ad lib – as desired
bid – twice a day
prn – as needed
q – every
q3h – every 3 hours
q4h – every 4 hours
qd – every day
qid – four times a day
qod – every other day
tid – three times a day

When to Take Medications
ac – before meals
hs – at bedtime
pc – after meals

How Much Medication to Take
caps – capsule
gtt – drops
mg – milligrams
ml – milliliters
ss – one half
tabs – tablets
tbsp – tablespoon (15ml)
tsp – teaspoon (5ml)

How to Use Your Medication
ad – right ear
al – left ear
c – with
od – right eye
os – left eye
ou – both eyes
po – by mouth
s or ø – without
sl – sublingual
top – apply topically


Tomorrow:  The Ride of Paul Revere      Rita Bay

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