Prescription, Parts of Prescription & Prescription’s error

What is a Prescription

A prescription is a written order from a registered medical practitioner to a pharmacist to compound and dispense medication for a patient.

  • Prescription
    • Contain direction for the pharmacist to prepare and compound for specific type of medication preparations
    • Contains direction for the patient regarding mode of administration of drug
    • Written in English language
    • Latin words/abbreviations used sometime

Or you can say prescription is a media through which treatment is provided to the patient by combining skill & services of both registered pharmacist and registered physician.

There are two broad legal classifications of medications:

  1. The medications which can be obtained only by prescription which are referred as prescription drugs or legend drugs.
  2. The medications which may be purchased without a prescription, which are termed non prescription drugs or over-the-counter (OTC).

Part of prescription

1. Date

Date is important in the case of narcotics and habit-forming drugs to avoid the misuse of prescription.

2. Patient details (Name, age, sex, addess)

Help to identify the prescription and also help to check the prescribed dose of medication.

3. Superscription

  • Represented by symbol Rx/℞ mean “you take” or “take thou”
  • Written before prescription
  • Symbol of God of healing Jupiter

4. Inscription

  • Main part of the prescription
  • Contains name and quantities of prescribed medications
  • It has 3 part
    1. Base
    2. Adjuvant and
    3. Vehicle

5. Subscription

Direction for the pharmacist regarding medication and number of doses to be dispensed

6. Signatura/Signa/transcription

  • Direction/instruction for the patient regarding the administration of the drug.
  • Instruction/directions are required to transfer to the Label of the container (how, when, how much etc)

7. Renewal/refilling instruction

Information about renewal if required

8. Signature, address, registration number of prescriber

A prescription must bear the signature of a prescriber along with the registered number and address.

Handling of the prescription by Pharmacist

For compounding and dispensing the prescription, the pharmacist should be followed the following procedure:-

  1. Receiving prescription
  2. Reading and checking prescription
  3. Collecting and weighting the material
  4. Compounding, labelling and packaging

1. Receiving a prescription

  • The pharmacist should be received the prescription himself
  • During receiving the prescription pharmacists should not change his/her facial expression to avoid a bad impression to the present that the pharmacist is confused after seeing the prescription.

2. Reading and checking the prescription

  • To check/screen a prescription for proper format behind the counter.
  • If any doubt regarding medication/direction pharmacist should consult to another Senior pharmacist or prescriber without knowing the patient.

3. Collecting and weighting the materials

  • All the materials required for compounding the prescription should be collected on the left side of the balance. After weighting, the material should be kept right-hand side of the balance.
  • Label of every ingredient and container should be read at least three times before weighting and after weighting to avoid an error.

4. Compounding, labelling and packaging

  • All tasks to be carried out in a neat place.
  • Only one prescription should be compound at one time.
  • A compound according to the direction of the prescription prescriber.
  • After compounding filled container must be labelled properly

Modern method of prescribing or new trend in prescribing

Nowadays, most of the drugs are available in the market as ready-made formulations, manufactured by various pharmaceutical companies so there is no need to compound and dispense the drug by the pharmacist.

So now in the present days, the role of the pharmacist is focused to provide advice regarding

  • Mode of Administration
  • Dosing schedule
  • Drug interaction
  • Adverse drug reaction
  • Drug/ANTIBIOTIC resistance/rational use of antibiotic
  • Patient counselling

In prescription, the drug should be prescribed by its official generic name and not by its proprietary or trade name.

Type of prescriptions

1. Prescription in general practice

2. Private prescription

3. Hospital prescription mean for outpatient

4. Hospital prescription mean for inpatient

In addition, Prescriptions are also classified as following manners

1- Simple prescription:

Those written for a single component or prefabricated product and not requiring compounding or admixture by the pharmacist.


2- Compound or complex prescription:

Those written for more than a single component and requiring compounding.


3- e-prescriptions (electronic prescription):

The use of electronic means for the generation and transmission of prescriptions is used and accepted in some countries.


4- In-patient prescription:

A medication order form used in the hospital setting.

In addition, other forms may be used within a hospital by specialized units such as infectious disease, cardiac care, pediatrics, and others.

Source of error in prescription

Prescription errors are unintentional mistakes in the prescription, transcription, dispensing, and administration of medications. Some prescription errors include wrong patient, incorrect medication, inappropriate dose, wrong time, wrong route of administration, and wrong rate of administration

To prevent this, it is a good practice to follow the ‘‘five rights principle’’ as a check:

1. the right medication
2. in the right dose
3. to the right patients
4. at the right time
5. by the right route of administration

Major errors associated with prescription are listed below:-

I- Abbreviation

II- Name of drug

III- Strength of the preparation

IV- Dosage form of the drugs prescribed

V- Dose

VI- Instruction for the patient

VII- Incompatibility

Latin term and Abbreviation commonly used in prescription writing

Latin term Abbreviation Meaning
 adadto, up to
  ad lib.at pleasure
 addeaddadd (thou)
 agitaagitshake, stir
 alternis horisalt. h.every other hour
 anaa.a. or aaof each
 antea.before
 ante cibuma.c.before food, before meals
 ante meridiena.m.morning
  amp.ampule
 aquaaq.water
 aqua adaq. ad.water up to
  ag. dest; aqua dist.distilled water
 aurisaur.; aear
 auris dextera.d.right ear
 aurix laevusa.l.left ear
 auris sinistera.s.left ear
 auris utroa.u.each ear
 auristillaeauristear-drops
  a.t.c.around the clock
 bisb.twice
 bis in dieb.i.d.twice a day
 brachiumbrach.the arm
  BSAbody surface area
 capsulacapsa capsule
  c.c.cubic centimeter
 chartulaechartspowder papers; divided powders
 cibuscib.; c.food
 collunariumcolluna nose wash
 collutoriumcollut.a mouthwash
 collyriumcollyr.an eyewash
 composituscomp.compound
 congiuscong.; C.gallon
 cumc or c.with
 cum cibusc.c.with food; with meals
 denturd.give (thou); let be given
 dentur tales dosesd.t.d.give of such doses
 dexterd.right
 diebus alternisdieb. alt.every other day
 dilutusdil.dilute, diluted
  disp.dispense
  div.divide
  DWdistilled water
  elix.elixir
 emulsumemuls.emulsion
 etetand
 ex modo prescriptoe.m.p.in the manner prescribed; as directed
 fac, fiat, fiantf.; ft.let it be made; make
  f.; fl.fluid
  g.; G.; gm.gram
 granumgr.grain
 guttaegtt.a drop
 horahat the hour of
 hora somnih.s.at bedtime
  i.m.intramuscular
 injectioinj.injection
  i.v.; IVintravenous
  i.v.p.; IVPintravenous push
  IVPBintravenous piggyback
 laevusl.left
 linimentumlin.liniment
 liquorliq.a solution
  lot.lotion
 minimummin; Mxminim
 miscem.; Mmix
  mcg.microgram
  mEq.milliequivalent
  mg.milligram
  ml.milliliter
 nocten.at night
 naristillaenarist.nasal drops
 nebuleneb.a spray
  N.F.National Formulary
 non repetaturnon.rep.do not repeat
  NSnormal saline
 octariusO.pint
 oculentumocculent.eye ointment
 oculuso.eye
 oculus dextero.d.right eye
 oculus laevuso.l.left eye
 oculus sinistero.s.left eye
 oculus utroo.u.both eyes, each eye
 omni maneo.m.every morning
 parti affectae applicandusp.a.a.to be applied to affected part
 per osp.o.by mouth
 post cibump.c.after meals
  p.r.per rectum
 pro re natap.r.n.as needed
 pulvispulv.powder
 quater in dieq.i.d.four times a day
 quaqueq.each, every
 quaque dieq.d.every day
 quaque horaq.h.every hour
 quantum sufficiatq.s.a sufficient quantity
 quantum sufficiat adq.s. ada sufficient quantity to make
 secundum artems.a.according to the art
  S.C.; subc; subqsubcutaneously
 semisssone-half
 signaSig.write, label
 sineswithout
 si opus sits.o.s.if necessary
  sol.solution
 statimstat.immediately
 suppositorumsupp.suppository
 syrupussyr.syrup
 tabellatab.tablet
  tbsp.tablespoonful
 ter in diet.i.d.three times a day
  tinc.; tr.tincture
 trochiscustrochelozenge
 tussistuss.a cough
 ungentumung.an ointment
 ut dictumut dict.; u.d.as directed
Latin term & Abbreviation used in prescription

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