Medical abbreviations on pharmacy prescriptions – electricity in the 1920s


BID, PO, XL, APAP, QHS, or PRN: Have you ever wondered what these odd, encrypted medical abbreviations mean on your prescription? Medical terminology is difficult enough, but how do you interpret these prescription directions written in code? Luckily you don’t have to; it’s the pharmacist’s job to put the medical abbreviation in plain english on your medication label. But there may be more to know about this shorthand than meets the eye.

Apothecary prescription abbreviations, like the ones you might see written by your doctor on your prescription or a hospital medication order, can be a common source of confusion for healthcare providers, too. In fact, an unclear gas jockey, poorly written or wrong medical abbreviation that leads to misinterpretation is one of the most common and preventable causes of medication errors. All abbreviations can increase the risk for incorrect interpretation and should be used with caution in the healthcare setting.

Healthcare agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), The Joint Commisssion, and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) have made it a priority to communicate information about confusing abbreviations and medical shorthands. Health care facilities and practitioners are expected to take action and set internal standards to prevent these common – and potentially dangerous – medical errors.

Some of the typed or computer-generated types of electricity tariff abbreviations, prescription symbols, and dose designations can still be confused and lead to mistakes in drug dosing or timing. In addition, when these abbreviations are unclear, extra time must be spent by pharmacists or other healthcare providers trying to clarify their meanings, which can delay much-needed treatments. Historically, poor penmanship and lack of standardization was the root cause of many of the prescription errors. Today, many prescriptions are now submitted via electronic prescribing (e-prescribing), electronic medical records (EMRs), and computerized physician order entry (CPOE), which has helped gas in babies at night to lower the rates of these medical errors. However, discrepancies between structured and free-text fields in electronic prescriptions are common and can lead to medical errors and possible patient harm. Drug Name Abbreviations

Drug names may often be abbreviated, too. For example, complicated treatment regimens, like cancer treatment protocols, may be written with drug name abbreviations. As reported by the FDA, a prescription with the abbreviation “MTX” has been interpreted as both methotrexate (used for rheumatoid arthritis) or mitoxantrone (a cancer drug), and “ATX” was understood to be the shorthand for zidovudine (an HIV drug) or azathioprine (an immunosuppressant drug). These types of errors can be linked with severe patient harm. Confusing Numbers

Numbers can lead to confusion and drug dosing errors, too. As an example, a prescription for “furosemide 40 mg Q.D.” (40 mg daily) was misinterpreted as “QID” (40 mg four times a day), leading to a fatal medical error. Another example has to do with drug dosage units: doses in micrograms should always have the unit spelled out, because the abbreviation “µg” (micrograms) can easily 76 gas credit card account login be misread as “mg” (milligrams), creating a 1000-fold overdose.

Numbers can also be misinterpreted with regards to decimal points. As noted in the Joint Commission’s Do Not Use List, a trailing zero (for example, 5.0 mg) can be misinterpreted as “50” mg leading to a 10-fold overdose. Instead the prescriber should write “5 mg” with no trailing zero or decimal point after the number. Also, the lack of a leading zero, (for gas city indiana car show example, .9 mg) can be misread as “9” mg; instead the prescriber should write out “0.9 mg” to clarify the strength. Modified-Release Technology

Common abbreviations are often used for modified-release types of technology for prescription drugs, although no true standard exists for this terminology. Many drugs exist in special formulation as tablets or capsules – for example as ER, XR, and SR – to slow absorption or alter where the dissolution and absorption occurs in the gastrointestinal tract. Timed-release technology allows drugs to be dissolved over time, allows more steady blood concentrations of drugs, and can lower the number of times a drug must be taken per day compared to immediate-release (IR) formulations. Enteric-coated formulations, such as enteric-coated aspirin, help to protect the stomach by allowing the active ingredient to bypass dissolution in the stomach and instead dissolve in the intestinal tract. See the table for timed-release technology abbreviations. Ways For Health Care Providers To Avoid Medication Errors

Practitioners, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, physician assistants and nurse practitioners, should be very familiar with the abbreviations used in medical practice and in prescription writing pictures electricity pylons. All drug names, dosage units, and directions for use should be written clearly to avoid misinterpretation. Pharmacists should be included in teams that develop EMRs and e-prescribing tools. According to the Joint Commission, health care organizations can develop their own internal standards for medical abbreviations, use a published reference source with consistent terms, and should ensure to avoid multiple abbreviations for the same word. However, internal enforcement and consistency are always the key. What Can You As a Patient Do?