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How to read doctor's prescription

Discussion in 'Pharmacy' started by Hala, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. Hala

    Hala Golden Member Verified Doctor

    Oct 17, 2013
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    Doctors use prescription abbreviations (based on Latin words) that tell your pharmacist which medication to give you and directions on how to use that medication.

    If you learn to understand the medical shorthand used by your doctor, you can read your own prescription immediately after it is written. This will help make sure that you know what medication you are getting and it will give you a chance to ask questions about your doctor's instructions.

    Understanding Prescription May Help Prevent a Medical Error

    The more you understand about your prescription, the less likely it is that you will have a medical error. For example, your pharmacist may make a mistake reading your doctor's handwriting. If your doctor's writing is not clear and easily read, your prescription may take longer to fill or you may be given the wrong dose or the wrong directions.

    As a smart medical consumer, it is a good idea to check your prescription and make sure that it is filled correctly at the pharmacy. If you think there is an error or a discrepancy, you can alert the pharmacist or call your doctor.

    Some doctor's offices now use electronic prescribing. You may receive a printed prescription to take to the pharmacy, or your prescription may be faxed or e-mailed to the pharmacy. Ask to see a printout of these prescriptions before leaving your doctor's office.

    If you do not understand what your prescription says, do not be shy. Ask your doctor or another healthcare provider in the office for assistance. Your questions may help detect and prevent an error.

    Generic vs. Brand Name

    When writing a prescription, your doctor may use either the "generic" name of the medication or the "brand name". For example, sertraline is the "generic" name and Zoloft is the "brand name" used to identify a medication frequently prescribed for the treatment of depression.

    In many states, pharmacists are allowed to dispense a generic medication, even if your doctor writes a prescription for the brand name version of the drug. However, if your doctor writes "DAW" (which means "dispense as written") or initials a box labeled "DAW" on your prescription, the pharmacist cannot legally substitute a generic medication for the brand name one.

    Reading Your Prescription

    Your prescription is usually written on a pre-printed pad with your doctor's name, address, and phone number. You may also see, either on the top or bottom of the prescription, special identification numbers, such as your doctor's Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) number for narcotics or controlled substances.

    Of course, there is space for your name and address, your age, the date, a place for your doctor's signature, and a blank area in which your doctor writes the following directions:

    Name of the medication

    Dose of the medication

    How often to take the medication

    When to take the medication

    How to take the medication

    Additionally, your doctor will indicate how much medicine the pharmacist should give you and the number of times that your prescription can be refilled.

    Commonly Used Medical Abbreviations

    How Often to Take Your Medication

    ad lib - freely, as needed
    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 Your Medication

    ac - before meals
    hs - at bedtime
    int - between meals
    pc - after meals

    How Much Medication to Take

    caps - capsule
    gtt - drops
    i, ii, iii, or iiii - the number of doses (1, 2, 3, or 4)
    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 or o - with
    od - right eye
    os - left eye
    ou - both eyes
    po - by mouth
    s or ø - without
    sl - sublingual
    top - apply topically



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  2. andryaa

    andryaa Active member

    Aug 11, 2014
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    Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
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    i dnt think any doctor is writing in simple letter.all are using runnnnnnnnnnnnnning letter's which writing medicals for some one.some time medical shops staffs itself take time to read the name of that drugs

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