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72 Abbreviations Every Pharmacy Tech Needs to Know

There’s a lot to learn if you want to have a career as a pharmacy technician. Pharmacy operations, laws and ethics are just the start. You’ll need to know about compounding and measuring medications and how to prevent infection and cross contaminations. You’ll also need to become familiar with hundreds of treatment and prescription abbreviations. Are you ready to get started? Check out our list of 72 of the most important abbreviations you’ll need to know:


1.       aa                           -of each; as in take 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, Tylenol being one of the most widely known

11.   aq.                          -water; as in take 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.                         -discountinue

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; as when drugs are given non-orally such as intravenously

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

33.   inj.                          -injection

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

35.   liq                           -liquid

36.   max.                      -maximum

37.   min.                       - minimum

38.   neb.                       - nebulizer; as in the device through which inhalant medications are administered

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 through injection or IV

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 or applied directly to the body

69.   troch.                    - lozenge

70.   u.d.                        -as directed

71.   w/f                         -with food

72.   X 10 d.                   -for 10 days


If you want a healthcare career, check out the pharmacy technician program at Charter College. And if you’re already on the path to this rewarding career, use our 72 abbreviations to increase your knowledge of what you’ll encounter on the job.