Pharmacy Abbreviations Cheat Sheet: Essential Acronyms for Pharmacists

6 min

The field of pharmacy is constantly evolving to keep pace with ongoing innovations and devel...

The field of pharmacy is constantly evolving to keep pace with ongoing innovations and developments in healthcare.  The job role of a pharmacist involves dealing with the dynamic process of medication management which could include storage, ethical mixing, and compliance with relevant regulatory standards. 

Working in a busy and demanding position, pharmacists need a quick and efficient way to record prescriptions. This allows them to stay on top of patient’s treatment regimens while also maintaining clear communication with healthcare teams. If you are a budding pharmacology professional who wants to learn some essential pharmacy terms, here is a pharmacy abbreviations list that you can use!

A Comprehensive List of Abbreviations for Pharmacists

1.   aa  - of each; as intake one of each of these pills before bed

2.   AA  -  apply to affected area

3.   a.c. - before meals

4.   p.c. - after meals

5.    a.d. - right ear

6.    a.s. - left ear

7.    A.u. - both ears

8.    ad lib. - as much as desired

9.    amt. - amount

10.   APAP -  acetaminophen; a pain reliever

11.   aq. - water; as intake with water

12.   ATC - around the clock; as in providing medications for 24 hours in intervals

13.   bib.- drink

14.   b.i.d.- twice a day

15.   BP - blood pressure

16.   c. - with

17.   d.c. - discontinue

18.   dil. - dilute

19.   disp. - dispense

20.   div. - divide

21.   et - and

22.   fl. - fluid

23.   g - gram

24.   gal - gallon

25.   gtt. - drop

26.   h., hr., hor. - hour

27.   h.s. - at bedtime

28.   ID – intradermal; as in administered intradermally or through the skin

29.   IM – intramuscular; as in administered intramuscularly or through the muscle

30.   IN – intranasal; as in administered intranasally or through the nose

31.   inf. – infusion; when drugs are given non-orally such as intravenously

32.   inh. - inhalation; when drugs are delivered through inhalers

33.   inj. - injection

34.   IV - intravenous; when drugs are delivered through veins

35.   liq - liquid

36.   max. - maximum

37.   min. – minimum

38.   neb. – nebulizer; as in the device for taking inhalant medications 

39.   o.d. - right eye

40.   o.s. - left eye

41.   o.u. - both eyes

42.   oint. - ointment

43.   OTC - over the counter; as in medications you can purchase without a prescription

44.   p.o. - by mouth

45.   p.r.n. - as needed

46.   q - every

47.   q12 - every 12 hours

48.   q1-2  - every 1 to 2 hours

49.   q.o.d. - every other day

50.   q.a.m. - every morning

51.   q. d. - every day

52.   q.h.s. - every bedtime

53.   q.i.d. - four times a day

54.   q.p.m. - every evening

55.   q.w. - every week

56.   Rx - prescription

57.   s. - without

58.   w. - with

59.   SC -  subcutaneous; as in medications administered beneath the skin

60.   sig. - write/label

61.   SL -  sublingually; as in medications administered under the tongue

62.   SOB - shortness of breath

63.   soln. - solution

64.   stat. - now

65.   Syr. - syrup

66.   tab. - tablet

67.   t.i.d. - three times a day

68.   top. - topical; as in medications delivered topically

69.   troch. – lozenge

70.   u.d. - as directed

71.   w/f - with food

72.   X 10 d. - for 10 days

The Benefits of Using Common Abbreviations in Pharmacy

Trained pharmacists need to be proficient in pharmacy terminologies to accurately decipher and describe medication dosages, and usage instructions. Standardized terminology prevents medication errors, and enhances patient safety by ensuring proper dispensation. As pharmacists become experts at decoding essential pharmacy symbols and abbreviations, they can optimize the delivery of pharmaceutical care in their jobs. 

Learning important pharmacy abbreviations can significantly enhance your productivity during documentation, research, and collaboration with other medical professionals. By abiding by standardized symbols, pharmacists can easily convey important information about drug interactions and treatment histories to other healthcare staff, ultimately improving patient outcomes. 

Explore Your Dream Pharmacist Opportunities with Quad Recruitment USA

Now that you’re equipped with a list of pharmacist abbreviations and terms and are on your way to becoming a pharmacist, partnering up with a pharmacy staffing agency like Quad Recruitment US pays off. With our proven track record, we've guided countless individuals toward fulfilling careers in pharmacy. Get in touch with us today and let's kickstart your pharmacist journey!