Key: Not recommended for use in the United States by the Joint Commission
Key: Not recommended for use by other organizations, such as the ISMP (Institute for Safe Medication Practices)
Abbreviation or symbol Latin, Greek, or New Latin English Possible confusion
aa, āā, ĀĀ ana of each
AAA apply to affected area abdominal aortic aneurysm
a.c. ante cibum before meals
a.c.h.s., ac&hs ante cibum et hora somni before meals and at bedtime
a.d. auris dextra right ear A single-storey "a" can be mistaken as an "o" which could read "o.d.", meaning right eye
ad., add. adde add
addatur let there be added
ad lib. ad libitum Latin, "at one's pleasure"; as much as one desires; freely Compare pro re nata, "as needed", which by convention includes an aspect of "up to some maximum". Similarly, compare s.o.s., q.l., and q.s.
admov. admove apply [or] add
admoveatur add; let there be added
ad us. ad usum according to custom
æq. æquales equal
agit. agita agitate (stir or shake)
alt. d., alt. dieb. alternis diebus every other day; on alternate days
alt. h., alt. hor. alternis horis every other hour; at alternate hours
a.m. ante meridiem morning, before noon
amp. ampulla ampule (ampul, ampoule)
amt amount
aq. aqua water
aq. bull. aqua bulliens boiling water
aq. com. aqua communis common water
aq. dest. aqua destillata distilled water
aq. ferv. aqua fervens hot water
a.l., a.s. auris laeva, auris sinistra left ear "a" can be mistaken as an "o" which could read "o.s." or "o.l", meaning left eye
ATC around the clock
a.u. auris utraque both ears "a" can be mistaken as an "o" which could read "o.u.", meaning both eyes
BDS, b.d.s. bis die sumendum twice daily
bib. bibe drink
bis bis twice
b.i.d., b.d. bis in die twice daily AMA style avoids use of this abbreviation (spell out "twice a day")
bis ind. bis indies twice a day
bis in 7 d. bis in septem diebus twice a week
BM bowel movement
BNF British National Formulary
bol. bolus as a large single dose (usually intravenously)
BP, Ph.Br. Pharmacopoeia Britannica British Pharmacopoeia
BS blood sugar
BSA body surface area
b.t.   bedtime mistaken for "b.i.d", meaning twice daily
bucc. bucca buccal (inside cheek)
cap., caps. capsula capsule
cap. capiat let him take (let the patient take)
c.m. cras mane tomorrow morning
c.m.s. cras mane sumendus to be taken tomorrow morning
c̄, c. cum with (usually written with a bar on top of the "c")
cib. cibus food
c.c. cum cibo with food [or] mistaken for "U", meaning units; also has an ambiguous meaning; use "mL" or "milliliters" (1 cm³ = 1 mL)
    cubic centimetre  
cf. confer compare
c.n. cras nocte tomorrow night
cochl. cochleare spoonful
cochl. ampl. cochleare amplum an ample spoonful (a tablespoonful)
cochl. infant. cochleare infantis a small spoonful (a teaspoonful)
cochl. mag. cochleare magnum a large spoonful (a tablespoonful)
cochl. mod. cochleare modicum a modest spoonful (a dessert-spoonful)
cochl. parv. cochleare parvum a scant spoonful (a teaspoonful)
colet. coletur let it be strained
comp. compositus compound
contin. continuetur let it be continued
cpt. capiat let him take (let the patient take)
cr., crm cream
CST continue same treatment
cuj. cujus of which
c.v. cras vespere tomorrow evening
cyath. cyathus a glassful
cyath. vinos. cyathus vinosus a wine-glassful
D, d. die [or] days [or] ambiguous meaning, write out "days" or "doses"
D, d. dosis doses  
D5LR dextrose 5% in lactated Ringer's solution (intravenous sugar solution)
D5NS dextrose 5% in normal saline (0.9%) (intravenous sugar solution)
D5W, D5W dextrose 5% in water (intravenous sugar solution)
D10W, D10W dextrose 10% in water (intravenous sugar solution)
da da give
DAW dispense as written (i.e., no generic substitution)
DC, dc, D/C, disc   discontinue [or] ambiguous meaning
    discharge  
decoct. decoctum decoction
det. detur let it be given
dieb. alt. diebus alternis every other day; on alternate days
dil. dilute
dim. dimidius one-half
d. in p. æ. divide in partes æquales divide into equal parts
disp. dispersible [or]
dispense
div. divide divide
dL deciliter
DS double strength
d.t.d. dentur tales doses give of such doses
DTO   deodorized tincture of opium can easily be confused with "diluted tincture of opium," which is 1/25th the strength of deodorized tincture of opium; deaths have resulted due to massive morphine overdose.[7] Compare laudanum and paregoric.
DW distilled water [or]
dextrose in water (intravenous sugar solution)
elix. elixir elixir
e.m.p. ex modo prescripto as directed (in the manner prescribed)
emuls. emulsum emulsion
et et and
EOD every often day
ex aq. ex aqua in water
exhib. exhibiatur let it be given
f. fiat make; let it be made
f.h. fiat haustus make a draught
fl., fld. fluidus fluid (usually meaning specifically liquid in health care)
f.m. fiat mistura make a mixture
f. pil. fiat pilula make a pill
f.s.a. fiat secundum artem make according to art
ft. fiat make; let it be made
g, gm gram (modern SI symbol is g, not gm)
garg. gargarisma gargle
gr. granum grain
gtt(s) gutta(e) drop(s)
gutt. gutta(e) drop(s)
H hypodermic
h, hr, hor. hora hour
habt. habeat let him have
hor. alt. hora alternis every other hour (every second hour; at alternate hours)
hor. decub. hora decubitus at bedtime
hor. intermed. horis intermediis at intermediate hours
hor. tert. horis tertiis every third hour
h.s. hora somni (at the hour of sleep) at bedtime [or] ambiguous (2 meanings, easily conflated); spell out
    half-strength  
IBW ideal body weight (for dosing based on clearance estimation)
ID intradermal
IJ, inj. injectio injection mistaken for "IV", meaning intravenously
i.m., IM intramuscular
IN   intranasal mistaken for "IM", meaning intramuscular, or "IV", meaning intravenously
ind. indies daily
inf. infusum infusion (extraction) / intravenous infusion
i unus tabuletta one tablet
ii duo tabuletta two tablets
iii tres tabuletta three tablets
IO intraossseous
IP intraperitoneal
IT   intrathecal mistaken for other abbreviations; spell out
IU   international unit mistaken for "IV" or "10", spell out "international unit"
i.v., IV intravenous
i.v.p., IVP intravenous push
IVPB intravenous piggyback
kg kilogram
LAS label as such
lat. dol. lateri dolenti to the painful side
lb. libra pound
l.c.d. liquor carbonis detergens coal tar solution
lin linimentum liniment
liq. liquor solution
lot. lotio lotion
M., m. misce mix
mane mane in the morning
max. maximum maximum
mcg microgram Recommended replacement for "µg" which may be confused with "mg"
mdi metered dose inhaler
m.d.u. more dicto utendus to be used as directed
mEq milliequivalent
mg milligram
mg/dL milligrams per deciliter
MgSO4   magnesium sulfate may be confused with "MSO4", spell out "magnesium sulfate"
min. minimum [or] minimum [or]
minim [or] minim [or]
minutum minute
mist. mistura mixture
mit., mitt. mitte number of tablets provided send
mL millilitre
mod. præscript. modo præscripto in the manner directed
MS   morphine sulfate or magnesium sulfate can mean either morphine sulfate or magnesium sulfate, spell out either
MSO4   morphine sulfate may be confused with "MgSO4", spell out "morphine sulfate"
nebul, neb. nebula a spray (such as for insufflation)- nebulizer
NMT not more than
noct. nocte at night
non rep. non repetatur no repeats (no refills)
NPO, n.p.o. nil per os nothing by mouth AMA style avoids use of this abbreviation (spell out "nothing by mouth")
NS normal saline (0.9%)
1/2NS half-normal saline (0.45%)
NTE not to exceed
o 2, o2 both eyes "O2" usually means oxygen or oxygen therapy
o.d. omni die every day (once daily) (preferred to "qd" in the UK[8])
o.d. oculus dexter right eye "o" can be mistaken as an "a" which could read "a.d.", meaning right ear, confusion with "omni die"
o.m. omni mane every morning
omn. bih. omni bihora every 2 hours
omn. hor. omni hora every hour
o.n. omni nocte every night
OPD once per day
o.s. oculus sinister left eye "o" can be mistaken as an "a" which could read "a.s.", meaning left ear
o.u. oculus uterque both eyes "o" can be mistaken as an "a" which could read "a.u.", meaning both ears
oz ounce
p. perstetur continue
part. æq. partes æquales equal parts
per per by or through
p.c. post cibum after meals
p.c.h.s., pc&hs post cibum et hora somni after meals and at bedtime
Ph.Br., BP Pharmacopoeia Britannica British Pharmacopoeia
Ph.Eur. Pharmacopoeia Europaea European Pharmacopoeia
Ph.Int. Pharmacopoeia Internationalis International Pharmacopoeia
pig./pigm. pigmentum paint
p.m. post meridiem evening or afternoon
p.o. per os by mouth or orally AMA style avoids use of this abbreviation (spell out "orally")
ppt. præparata prepared
p.r., PR per rectum rectally
p.r.n., PRN pro re nata as needed
pt. perstetur continue
pulv. pulvis powder
p.v., PV per vaginam vaginally
q quaque every, per
q.1 h, q.1° quaque 1 hora every 1 hour (can replace "1" with other numbers)
q4PM   at 4 pm (can replace "4" with other numbers) mistaken to mean every 4 hours
q.a.d. quaque alternis die every other day
q.a.m. quaque die ante meridiem every morning (every day before noon)
q.d./q.1.d. quaque die every day mistaken for "QOD" or "qds," spell out "every day" or "daily". AMA style avoids use of this abbreviation (spell out "every day")
q.d.a.m. quaque die ante meridiem once daily in the morning
q.d.p.m. quaque die post meridiem once daily in the evening
q.d.s. quater die sumendus 4 times a day can be mistaken for "qd" (every day)
q.p.m. quaque die post meridiem every evening (every day after noon)
q.h. quaque hora every hour
q.h.s. quaque hora somni every night at bedtime can be mistaken as "q.h.r." (every hour)
q.i.d. quater in die 4 times a day can be mistaken for "qd" or "qod," write out "4 times a day". AMA style avoids use of this abbreviation (spell out "4 times a day")
q.l. quantum libet as much as is requisite
q.n. quaque nocte every night can be mistaken as "q.h." (every hour)
q.o.d. quaque altera die every other day mistaken for "QD," spell out "every other day". AMA style avoids use of this abbreviation (spell out "every other day")
q.q. quaque every;[9] each
q.q.h. quater quaque hora every 4 hours
q.s. quantum sufficiat (subjunctive), quantum sufficit (indicative), quantum satis as much as suffices; a sufficient quantity
q.s. a.d add up to
q.v. quantum volueris [or] at will [or]
quod vide which see
QWK every week
rep., rept. repetatur repeats
Medical Recipe Symbol mod.JPG
RL, R/L
Ringer's lactate
Rx, Rx, RX, , ℞, Rp recipe take (often effectively a noun meaning "prescription"—medical prescription or prescription drug)
rep. repetatur let it be repeated
s. signa write (write on the label)
s.a. secundum artem according to the art (accepted practice or best practice)
SC   subcutaneous "SC" can be mistaken for "SL," meaning sublingual. See also SQ
sem. semen seed
s.i.d. semel in die once a day used exclusively in veterinary medicine
sig. signa, signetur write (write on the label)
sine without (usually written with a bar on top of the "s")
sing. singulorum of each
SL, s.l. sub lingua sublingually, under the tongue
SOB shortness of breath
sol. solutio solution
s.o.s., si op. sit si opus sit if there is a need
s.s., SS semisse one-half [or] mistaken for "55" or "1/2"
s.s., SS   sliding scale  
SSI   sliding scale insulin or sliding scale regular insulin mistaken to mean "strong solution of iodine" or "selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor". See also SSRI
SQ   subcutaneously "SQ" can be mistaken for "5Q" meaning "5 every dose". See also SC
SSRI selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor [or] ambiguous. Do not abbreviate
SSRI sliding scale regular insulin
st. stet let it stand (for example, for settling)
stat statim immediately
SubQ subcutaneously
sum. sumat [or] let him take [or]
sumendum let it be taken
supp. suppositorium suppository
susp. suspensio suspension
syr. syrupus syrup
tab. tabella tablet
tal., t. talus such
tbsp tablespoon
t.d.s., TDS ter die sumendum 3 times a day
t.i.d., t.d. ter in die 3 times a day AMA style avoids use of this abbreviation (spell out "3 times a day")
tinct. tinctura tincture
t.i.w.   3 times a week mistaken for "twice a week"
top. topical
TPN total parenteral nutrition
tr, tinc., tinct. tinctura tincture
trit. triturate grind to a powder
troch. trochiscus lozenge
tsp teaspoon
U   unit mistaken for a "4", "0" or "cc", spell out "unit"
u.d., ut. dict. ut dictum as directed
ung. unguentum ointment
USP United States Pharmacopeia
vag. vagine vaginally
w with
w/a while awake
w/f with food (with meals)
w/o without
X, x times
YO, y.o. years old
μg   microgram mistaken for "mg", meaning milligram
@   at mistaken for "2"; spell out "at"
>   greater than mistaken for a "7"
<   less than mistaken for an "L"
libra pound
uncia ounce
ʒ drachma dram (drachm)
scrupulus scruple