How many times have you walked out of your doctor’s office completely clueless even after he explained the whole prescription to you in detail? Having a basic knowledge of what goes into your doctor’s prescription can be invaluable in situations like these. For starters, you will be less likely to overdose yourself or have an adverse drug reaction because of wrong drug combination, or maybe miss out a vital dose completely. Once you equip yourself with basic know-how of the format and the meaning of the abbreviations used by the doctors, you can easily decode the prescription on your own.

Components of a prescription

A standard prescription consists of a few key pieces of information followed by a set format common to all prescriptions.

  • The upper section of your prescription letter will include the patient’s name, age, and address along with the date of the prescription.
  • Below that, the doctor will mention the name of the drug, the dosage (quantity and frequency of dosage) followed by the route of administration of the drug.
  • The doctor will also mention about refills, if any, after the name and dosage of the drug. This information is for the pharmacist to give an authorized number of refills only.
  • The lowest section of the prescription will be signed/stamped by the doctor with his registration number to indicate the prescription is given by a registered medical practitioner.

Let’s discuss about the most crucial part of the prescription in detail.

  1. The name of the drug will have a prefix like Tab, Cap, Syp, Inj, etc. which denotes the form of the drug like a tablet, capsule, syrup, injection respectively.
  2. The name of the drug will be followed by a number which denotes the amount you should take per dosage. It’s generally written in milligrams (mg), grams (gm), micrograms (mcg), or millilitres (ml).
  3. The line underneath the drug and dosage information will mention the number of times you should take the medicine, the specific time of the day should take a particular medicine and the method of taking it. This is a trickier part of the prescription because the doctors use Latin phrases and medical shorthand to save time and space on the prescription letter. These abbreviations can be confusing for a common man to understand.

Below is a quick guide to learn the meaning of the Latin phrases used in a prescription.

  • Abbreviations that indicate the time to take the medicine:
  1. AC – ante cibum – Before a meal.
  2. HS – hora somni – At bedtime.
  3. PC – post cibum – After a meal.
  • Abbreviations that indicate how often you should take the medicine:
  1. OD – omne in die – once a day.
  2. BID – Bis in die – twice a day.
  3. TID – ter in die – Thrice a day.
  4. QID – quarter in die – Four times a day.
  • Abbreviations that indicate the route of administration of the drug:
  1. PO – per orem – Orally.
  2. PR – per rectum – Rectally.
  3. SL – Sub Lingually – To be placed under the tongue.
  4. IV – Intra Venous – Injected into the vein.
  5. IM – Intra Muscular – Injected into the muscle.
  6. SQ – Sub Cutaneous – Injected under the skin.

With the above given information, reading your prescription will now be an easy task. However, if you are ever in doubt regarding the dosage and the frequency of taking a particular drug, you should never hesitate to call your doctor’s office and get precise information regarding the prescription. As a slight error in interpreting the prescription can have an adverse reaction in your body and may also be life-threatening.

Also, do you know that most doctors prescribe you branded medicines that have partnered with them? And you end up paying high prices unnecessarily? So the next time you get a prescription just bring your prescription to our store. We will help you find the generic alternative to your medicines, which will be of the same quality but lower priced. Or if you can figure out the chemical name by yourself, you can also buy any generic medicine online at StayHappi Pharmacy