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:

October 05, 2005

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

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