Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Medical Prescription - Rx


The word "prescription", derived from "pre-" ("before") and "script" ("writing, written"), or in literal terms its means, "to write before" a drug can be prepared. thus a medical prescription is an order usually in written form by a qualified health care professional or other therapist for the treatment to be provided to their patient.

The prescription" is represent by a symbol "Rx".  Rx is a transliteration of a symbol. There are various theories as to the origin of this symbol but in literal terms, "Rx" indicates an instruction "to take" what is specified in the prescription. 

What is unique for each prescription is the name of the patient, date, the details of the medication and the directions for taking them. The prescription should be appropriately signed by the physician prescribing it.


 Prescriptions are typically handwritten on preprinted prescription forms, or may alternatively be using computer these days.  The prescription should contain the name and address of the prescribing doctor and any other legal requirement such as registration number of the physician. 

In the United States, physicians, veterinarians, dentists, and podiatrists can issue prescriptions. Some states may allow optometrists to issue eyeglass prescriptions for corrective eyeglasses though technically these cannot be termed as medical prescriptions. Even nurse practitioners, physician assistants, optometrists, homeopathic physicians, registered pharmacists, and doctors of some other branches of medicine do have the authority to prescribe. 


This is a list of all abbreviations used in prescriptions. 

    To avoid ambiguity, the following abbreviations are not recommended:
  • a.u., a.d., a.s. - Latin for both, left and right ears; the "a" can be misread to be an "o" and interpreted to mean both, right or left eyes.
  • d/c - can mean "discontinue" or "discharge"
  •  h.s. - can mean half strength or "hour of sleep"
  •  q.o.d. - meant "every other day" but the "o" can be interpreted as "." or "i" resulting in double or eight times the frequency
  •  SC/SQ - meant "subcutaneous" but mistaken for "SL" for "sublingual"
  • TIW - meant 3 times a week but mistaken for twice a week
  • U - meant "units" but mistaken for "0", "4" or "cc" when poorly written; conversely cc can be mistaken for "U"
  •  μg - meant "microgram" but mistaken for "mg"; this 1000-fold error can cause potentially fatal misunderstandings.