Reading a Prescription

Parents should always know exactly what their child's prescription says, since pharmacists and even doctors can make mistakes. "Take notes during the exam," suggests pediatrician and Parents advisory-board member Mark Widome, M.D. To decode a prescription, follow these tips:

Your Child's Info

Listing her age helps a pharmacist be sure that your doctor ordered the right dose for your child.

Drug Name

Be sure this matches the medicine and strength your pediatrician prescribed during the visit.


    Instructs the pharmacist how much to dispense.

      Dosing Instructions

      These Latin abbreviations translate into what will appear on the label. (For example, "One teaspoon, three times a day, for ten days.")

        Other Must-Know Codes:

        QD: daily

        BID: twice a day

        TID: three times a day

        QID: four times a day

        Q4H: every 4 hours

        AC: before meals

        PRN: as needed

        PO: orally

        AS: in left ear

        AD: in right ear

        AU: in each ear

        OS: in left eye

        OD: in right eye

        OU: in each eye