Intercepting Secret Messages

Prescriptions are written in secret code. It was pointed out that I used part of that code in yesterday’s post, without providing a key.   Seeing as I’m not a doctor, I don’t have the whole code, but this is a start:

Code Latin English
   sig  signetur  let it be labeled (write on the label)
   q  quaque  each, every
   D  die  day
   qd  quaque die  every day, daily
   bid  bis in die  twice a day
   tid  ter in die  thrice a day
   qid  quarter in die  four times a day
   prn  pro re nata  as needed
   stat  statim  immediately
   sos  si opus sit  may be repeated once
   ac  ante cibum  before meals
   pc  post cibum  after meals
   ung  unguentum  ointment
   hs  hora somni  at bedtime
   po  per os  by mouth

 

Additional information, which I found in YOU: The Smart Patient (pictured in my sidebar):

Doctors typically write the name of the medicine first, then the form (say, capsules or tablet), dosage, amount (say, thirty tablets) directions for taking it, and finally the number of refills.

So:

Prescription Sample

Translated, the prescription on the left is for piroxicam, 20 mg tablets, the pharmacist puts 30 tablets in a bottle, I’m to take one tablet every day, and there were three refills.  The prescription on the right is for sulfasalazine, 500 mg tablets, the pharmacist puts 120 tablets in a bottle, I’m to take two tablets twice a day, and there were three refills.

Note that the funny “T” with a dot/circle above it says how many tablets.  I have another doctor whose prescription form is much easier to read:

Sample2

 There you have it.  Now you, too, can decipher (at least part of) the secret code that you carry between your doctor and pharmacist.

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