Latin Medical Abbreviations

How Often To Take A Drug:

Abbreviation Latin Meaning
ad lib ad libitum  freely, as often as it is needed
alt. h. alternis horis every other hour
A.T.C. around the clock
bid/b.d./b.i.d.  bis in die twice a day
non rep. non repetatur once/do not repeat
cc* cum cibum with food
o.p.d. once per day
prn pro re nata¹ as needed
q quaque every
q.a.d. quoque alternis die  every other day
q.d.s. quarter die sumendus four times a day
qh/q.h./q1h/q_1°h quaque hora/quaque1hora every hour
q2h/q_2°h  quaque 2 hora every 2 hours
q3h/q_3°h quaque 3 hora every 3 hours
q4h/q_4°h quaque 4 hora every 4 hours
qd/q.d. quaque die every day
qid/q.i.d. quarter in die four times a day
qod/q.o.d. every other day
qqh quarter quaque hora every four hours
 rep./rept. Repetatur repeat/repeats
tds/t.d.s. ter die  sumendum three times a day/daily
tid/t.i.d. ter in die  three times a day
t.i.w. three times a week


1. There is another school that insists it means “per necesitas” or“per necessity”, either way the meaning is the same.

When To Take A Drug:

Abbreviation Latin Meaning
a.c. ante cibum before meals
ad* ad up to
a.m. ante meridiem morning, before noon
bt bedtime
dieb. alt. diebus alternis every other day
hs/h.s. hora somni at bedtime
int.c. inter cibum between meals
mane mane in the morning
noct. nocte at night
opd/o.p.d. once per day
p.c. post cibum after meals
p.m. post meridiem afternoon or evening
q.a.m. quaque die ante meridiem every morning/day before noon
q.h.s. quaque hora somni every night at bedtime
q.p.m. quaque die post meridiem every day after noon
stat statim immediately
wf with food (meals)


What Form/How Much:

Abbreviation Latin Meaning
bol. bolus single large dose/usually injected
cap./caps. capsula capsule
elix. elixir
emuls. emulsum emulsion
ex aq ex aqua in water
i, ii, iii, or iiii ² the # of doses (1, 2, 3, 4)
mg milligrams
ml milliliters
gtt(s)  gutta(e) drops
lin. linimentum liniment
liq. liquor
lot. lotion
qs/q.s. quantum sifficiat a sufficient quantity
ss semis one half
supp suppositorium suppository
susp suspension
syr syrupus syrup
tabs tabla  tablets
tbsp tablespoon (15ml)
troche trochiscus lozenge
tsp teaspoon (5ml)
tr/tinc./tinct. tincture
ung. unguentum ointment

2. This takes into account an older form of writing out Roman numerals. The form we are used to became a shortened form sometime in the 1700s when the number became to mean “take this number from the one that follows it” (e.g. IV for 4, XC for 90, etc., so that there would never be more than 4 of a given character in a row). The convention in common usage can lead to problems because “iv” also stands for “intravenous.”

Where or How To Use It:

Abbreviation Latin Meaning
ad/a.d.* auris dextra right ear
admov. admove apply
al/a.l.* auris laeva left ear
as/a.s. auris sinistra left ear
au/a.u. auris utraque both ears
BUCC bucca (mouth) inside cheek
B.S.A. body surface areas
e.m.p. ex modo prescripto as directed or written
o_2 both eyes
O₂₀ both eyes
od/o.d. oculus dexter right eye
os/o.s. oculus sinister left eye
ou/o.u. oculus uterque both eyes
pig./pigm. pigmentum paint
po/p.o. per os by mouth or orally
pr/p.r. per rectum anally or through the rectum
R rectal
SC/subc./subcut./subq./SC sub cutaneous under the skin
SL sub lingual under the tongue
top. topically
vag. vaginally

Miscellaneous:

Abbreviation Latin Meaning
agit agita agitate/shake/stir
amp ampule
amt amount
aq aqua water
b/bis bis twice
BM/B.M. bowel movement
B.S. blood sugar
Ç  cum with
cc* cubic centimeter
cib. cibum food (meals)
DAW/D.A.W.³ dispense as written
dc/D/C/disc. Discontinue/discharge
dil. dilute
disp. dispense
div. divide
d.t.d. dentue tales doses give of such doses
D.W. distilled water
fl./fld. fluid
ft.* fiat let it be made thus
g gram
gr grain
H hypodermic
h/hr hora hour
ID intra dermal in the skin
IM intramuscular into the muscle (injected)
inj. injection injection
IV/iv* intravenous into the vein
IVPB intravenous piggyback
L.A.S. label as such
LCS coal tar solution
M. misce mix
m.,min. minimum a minimum
mcg microgram
m.d.u. more dicto utendus
mEq milliequivalent
mg  milligram
mist. mistura mix
mitte mitte send
mL milliliter
nebul nebula spray
NS normal saline (0.9%)
1/2NS half normal saline (0.45%)
NTE not to exceed
o with
ø without
O₂₀ oxygen
) sine without
s.a. secundum artum according to your judgment
sig. signetur label it as/write directions
tal.,t talus such
u.d./ut.dict. ut dictum as directed
w/ with
w/o without
X times
3. When a physician writes this on a prescription or checks the DAW box, this means the pharmacy cannot legally substitute a generic drug but must dispense the name brand version.


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