An Example of Prescription Abbreviations
Here is an example of what a healthcare provider might write on a prescription:
Sig: 1 tab po qid pc & hs
These abbreviations are instructions for taking the medication. The pharmacist will translate them for the medication label. In this case, the instructions will read: “Take one tablet by mouth four times a day, after meals, and at bedtime.”
The abbreviations may be written in capital letters or small letters, and may or may not include periods.
1. ac (ante cibum) means “before meals”
2. bid (bis in die) means “twice a day”
3. gt (gutta) means “drop”
4. hs (hora somni) means “at bedtime”
5. od (oculus dexter) means “right eye” / (OD = Once Daily)
6. os (oculus sinister) means “left eye”
7. po (per os) means “by mouth”
8. pc (post cibum) means “after meals”
9. prn (pro re nata) means “as needed”
10. q3h (quaque 3 hora) means “every three hours”
11. qd (quaque die) means “every day”
12. qid (quater in die) means “four times a day”
13. Sig (signa) means “write”
14. tid (ter in die) means “three times a day”
15. rx (prescription) means “prescription from the doctor
- Merriam-Webster. Rx.
- Voice of America. Take this medicine: the story of the sign ‘Rx’.
- Pharmacy Times. A technician’s guide to pharmacy abbreviations.
- Tariq RA, Sharma S. Inappropriate medical abbreviations. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island, FL: StatPearls Publishing;
- Porterfield A, Engelbert K, Coustasse A. Electronic prescribing: improving the efficiency and accuracy of prescribing in the ambulatory care setting. Perspect Health Inf Manag. 2014;11(Spring):1g.
- Kannry J. Effect of e-prescribing systems on patient safety. Mt Sinai J Med. 2011;78(6):827-33. doi: 10.1002/msj.20298.
- Cleveland Clinic. Prescription medication labels: how to read.