Common Abbreviations Used in Pharmacy


The following list shows the abbreviations that are most often encountered by pharmacists.

  • A, aa., or aa = of each
  • a.c. = before meals
  • ad = to, up to
  • a.d. = right ear
  • ad lib. = at pleasure, freely
  • a.m. = morning
  • amp. = ampule
  • ante = before
  • aq. = water
  • a.s. = left ear
  • asa = aspirin
  • a.u. = each ear, both ears
  • b.i.d. = twice a day
  • BP = British Pharmacopoeia
  • BSA = body surface area
  • c. or c = with
  • cap. or caps. = capsule
  • cp = chest pain
  • D.A.W. = dispense as written
  • cc or cc. = cubic centimeter
  • comp. = compound, compounded
  • dil. = dilute
  • D.C., dc, or disc. = discontinue
  • disp. = dispense
  • div. = divide, to be divided
  • dl or dL = deciliter
  • d.t.d. = give of such doses
  • DW = distilled water
  • D5W = dextrose 5% in water
  • elix. = elixir
  • e.m.p. = as directed
  • et = and
  • ex aq. = in water
  • fl or fld = fluid
  • fl oz = fluid ounce
  • ft. = make
  • g or Gm = gram
  • gal. = gallon
  • GI = gastrointestinal
  • gr or gr. = grain
  • gtt or gtt. = drop, drops
  • H = hypodermic
  • h. or hr. = hour
  • h.s. = at bedtime
  • IM = intramuscular
  • inj. = injection
  • IV = intravenous
  • IVP = intravenous push
  • IVPB = intravenous piggyback
  • K = potassium
  • l or L = liter
  • lb. = pound
  • ยต = Greek mu
  • M = mix
  • m2 or M2 = square meter
  • mcg  or mcg. = microgram
  • mEq = milliequivalent
  • mg or mg. = milligram
  • ml or mL = milliliter
  • ml or mL = microliter
  • N&V = nausea and vomiting
  • Na = sodium
  • N.F. = National Formulary
  • No. = number
  • noct. night, = in the night
  • non rep. = do not repeat
  • NPO = nothing by mouth
  • N.S., NS, or N/S = normal saline
  • 1/2 NS = half-strength normal saline
  • O = pint
  • o.d. = right eye, every day
  • o.l. or o.s. = left eye
  • OTC = over the counter
  • o.u. = each eye, both eyes
  • oz. = ounce
  • p.c. = after meals
  • PDR = Physicians’ Desk Reference
  • p.m. = afternoon, evening
  • p.o. = by mouth
  • Ppt = precipitated
  • pr = for the rectum
  • prn or p.r.n. = as needed
  • pt. = pint
  • pulv. = powder
  • pv = for vaginal use
  • q. = every
  • q.d. = every day
  • q.h. = every hour
  • q. 4 hr. = every four hours
  • q.i.d. = four times a day
  • q.o.d. = every other day
  • q.s. = a sufficient quantity
  • q.s. ad = a sufficient quantity to make
  • R = rectal
  • R.L. or R/L = Ringer’s lactate
  • Rx = prescription
  • s. or s without
  • Sig. write on label
  • sol. = solution
  • S.O.B. = shortness of breath
  • s.o.s. = if there is need (once only)
  • ss. or ss = one-half
  • stat. = immediately
  • subc, subq, or s.c. = subcutaneously
  • sup. or supp = suppository
  • susp. = suspension
  • syr. = syrup
  • tab. = tablet
  • tal. = such, such a one
  • tal. dos. = such doses
  • tbsp. or T = tablespoonful
  • t.i.d. = three times a day
  • tr. or tinct. = tincture
  • tsp. or t. = teaspoonful
  • TT = tablet triturates
  • U or u. = unit
  • u.d. or ut dict. = as directed
  • ung. = ointment
  • U.S.P. or USP = United States Pharmacopoeia
  • w/v = weight/volume


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