Prescriptions: The Basics

Prescription medications save lives and help us deal with illnesses every day, but they can still be confusing and even dangerous. If you believe a prescription drug has caused you an injury, contact an attorney with experience in product liability or medical malpractice as soon as possible. You should understand the basics of prescription medication usage.

A prescription contains four sections.

  • The superscription is the heading containing the prescription Rx symbol.
  • The inscription contains the names and quantities of drugs and other ingredients.
  • The subscription gives instructions for mixing the drug.
  • The signature gives any directions which should be marked on the drug container.

Contact a Iowa medical malpractice lawyer representing clients in Waterloo, Iowa today to schedule your initial consultation.

Prescriptions are often difficult to read, but these sections are fairly common. You should also understand some common abbreviations, which your physician and pharmacist will note on the prescription. The italics show the Latin phrase these abbreviations stand for.

  • ac: before meals (ante cibum)
  • ad lib: use as much as needed (ad libitum)
  • bid: twice daily (bid in die)
  • da or daw: dispense as written
  • gtt.: drops (guttae)
  • pc: after meals (post cibum)po: by mouth, orally (per os)
  • prn: when needed (pro re nata)
  • qd: once daily (quaque die)
  • qid: four times daily (quater in die)
  • qh: every so many hours (quaque h)- for example, q2h means every two hours
  • tid: three times daily (ter in die)
  • ut dict: as directed (ut dictum)

Always remember that while prescription medications can be beneficial, they can also be dangerous. Abuse or misuse of prescription medications can cause a serious and even dangerous reaction. Remember that while your doctor is responsible for prescribing the right medication and your pharmacist is responsible to correctly fill it, you are responsible for taking the medication and assisting your physician and pharmacist in completing your medical care. These tips can help you safely use your prescription medications:

  • Make a list of all your medications and any instructions. Keep this list somewhere convenient.
  • Whenever possible, use one clinic for all medical needs so your physician can have easy access to all of your medical information. If you see a new physician, make sure that they speak with your primary physician or get access to your medical charts.
  • Make sure your physician knows what medications you are taking. This includes any alternative or over-the-counter medication. This will help your physician avoid prescribing anything that will cause a dangerous reaction.
  • Do not take dosages above or below what your physician has prescribed and approved. If your medication is not having its intended effect, talk to your physician before altering your dosage.
  • If your reaction to the medication is abnormal or adverse, call your physician immediately. 
  • If there are children in your household, get childproof caps for your medications. Keep your prescription medications away from any person that may not understand how to safely use them.
  • Never take anyone else’s prescription medication. You may have an adverse reaction, even if you have the same condition and symptoms.

Prescription drugs can be dangerous as well as helpful. Treat them respectfully and carefully. If you believe that you have been injured or suffered damages as a result of prescription drug usage, an experienced attorney can help you pursue a malpractice claim.


If you would like to schedule a initial consultation contact an Iowa medical negligence attorney, representing clients in Waterloo, Iowa at the Kutmus, Pennington & Hook, P.C. Office Give us a call at (515) 288-3339 or complete our inquiry form.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

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