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My Doctor's Prescription: How Do I Read It?

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Updated November 14, 2008

Question: My Doctor's Prescription: How Do I Read It?

A question from a reader: Dr. Mike, my son recently had a skin infection and his pediatrician gave him a prescription. Can you tell me what the abbreviations mean?

Here is the context:

  • Rx Pen VK 250/ml 1 bottle
  • iiss ml qid X 7d
  • FU14D
Answer:

This is an interesting question that I think many people share. This is my interpretation:

  • The medication is Penicillin VK and your doctor ordered one 250 milliliter (ml) bottle, which is about 8 ounces.
  • "ii" means 2 and "ss" means 1/2. So I assume that your doctor means 2 1/2 ml, or 1/2 teaspoon.
  • The qidX7d means 4 times each day for 7 days.
  • FU14D means follow-up 14 days, although I'm not sure why that is on the prescription pad, unless the doctor meant it as a notation to you for a return visit.
Your pharmacist then will give you a bottle of Penicillin VK with label directions indicating that your son should take 1/2 teaspoon of the medication four times each day for seven days.

It is important to learn how to decipher your doctor’s prescription. Doing so will help you avoid a medication error. You can always ask your pharmacist to interpret for you. Physicians may use various abbreviations combining Latin and English and your pharmacist may be familiar with your doctor's style.

More Information About Prescriptions:

  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Drugs
  4. Medication ABCs
  5. FAQs About Your Drugs
  6. Reading My Prescriptions - How Do I Read My Doctor's Prescription

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