Friday, September 19, 2014


“Say WHAT?!"
  Ever wonder why doctors are so notorious for their atrocious handwriting? The reason is two-fold. Firstly, when it comes to anything written out long hand, they’re in a hurry. Secondly, prescriptions are written out partly in English and partly in Latin.
  Among probably too many other things, I was a P.A. (physician’s assistant) in the Army and have written out lots of scripts myself. Let’s take a typical doctor’s prescription for pain medicine in pill form and break it down; it reads:

Drug Name 5mg
Sig: T-TT tabs po q 4-6° prn pain
Disp. #15

  On the first line below the “Rx” (Latin for “Recipe”) symbol, “Drug Name” is the brand or generic name of the drug, “5mg” is the amount of the active ingredient in milligrams.
  On the second line, “Sig:” is the abbreviation for “signature”, meaning, “Take as follows”, “T-TT” is the dosage, meaning “one-two”, usually written “tabs” meaning tablets (“caps” for capsules), “po” is Latin for “per os” meaning “by mouth”, “q” is Latin for “every”, “4-6°” means “four to six hours” using the degree symbol for “hours”, “prn” is the Latin “pro re nata”, meaning “as needed” and “pain” of course means “for pain”.
  On the third line, “Disp.” means “dispense” and “#15” means fifteen tablets.
  The pharmacist filling the prescription is familiar with which terms and symbols should appear where and in what sequence and doesn’t really need them to be perfectly legible. if we could only improve the doc’s bedside manner…

2012 -Dale Bryant

1 comment:

  1. Kind of cute; informative too.