Must Know Pharmacy Abbreviations for the PTCB Exam
The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) exam will test your competency as a technician and your ability to work in a live pharmacy setting, whether in a retail location or hospital.
While the exam is divided into nine sections pertaining to different domains, abbreviations will follow throughout.
As such, we’ve compiled your complete list of must-know pharmacy abbreviations for the PTCB exam.
We’ve broken them up into their appropriate categories to give you a better understanding of the abbreviation’s function alongside their meaning, such as prescription information abbreviations, medical terminology abbreviations, and medication abbreviations.
While there are many more possibilities for abbreviations both in the pharmacy and the medical field, these are the most common and most essential to know for the PTCB exam.
Keep reading for a comprehensive understanding.
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List of Must-Know Pharmacy Abbreviations for the PTCB Exam
It’s not enough to know exact words and definitions for the PTCB exam; you need to know all of the associated abbreviations for medical terms, prescription instructions, and frequently used medication abbreviations.
Knowing these abbreviations can make all the difference during data entry duties and filling prescriptions correctly, so it’s vital to learn them.
Below, you’ll find lists of the various abbreviations you need to know for the PTCB exam broken down into their associated categories.
Common Prescription Information Abbreviations
These abbreviations are frequently used during data entry. You’ll either notice them noted in a prescription’s Sigma (SIG), the prescription’s dosage, and usage information.
The abbreviations will help you decipher prescription instructions during data entry and save you time during input.
|as (sometimes al)||left ear|
|tid||three times daily|
|qid||four times daily|
|am/ q am||every morning|
|pm/ q pm||every afternoon|
|qhs||every day at bed time/evening|
|i, ii…etc.||one, two…etc.|
|os (sometimes ol)||left eye|
|Intrm (or im)||intramuscularly|
|ung or oint||ointment|
|prn||as needed (for)|
|per neb||by nebulizer|
|fl oz||fluid ounce|
|DAW||dispense as written|
|SC, subc, subq||subcutaneously|
|gm, g, G||gram|
|aq ad||add water to|
|qs ad (or just qs)||add sufficient quantity to make|
- 1 tab q6h prn pain = Take 1 tablet every 6 hours as needed for pain
- 1 supp pr qhs = Instill 1 suppository rectally every day at bedtime
Common Medical Abbreviations
While you will not need to prescribe anything as a pharmacy technician, you will still need to be able to decipher medical abbreviations.
Understanding commonly used medical terminology abbreviations will help you better understand a prescription and a patient’s needs.
Physicians or prescribers often use these abbreviations in the SIG as well to instruct the patient of the medication’s intended use.
|ADD||Attention deficit disorder|
|AIDS||Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome|
|AMS||Altered mental state|
|BMI||Body mass index|
|BSA||Body surface area|
|CABG||Coronary artery bypass graft|
|CAD||Coronary artery disease|
|CBC||Complete blood count|
|CHD||Coronary heart disease|
|CFH||Congestive heart failure|
|COPB||Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease|
|CVA||Cerebrovascular accident (stroke)|
|DOB||Date of birth|
|DUR||Drug utilization review|
|ENT||Ears, nose, throat|
|ESRD||End stage renal disease|
|GERD||Gastroenterology reflux disease|
|HBP||High blood pressure|
|HDL||High density lipoprotein|
|HIV||Human immunodeficiency virus|
|HRT||Hormone replacement therapy|
|IO, I/O||Fluid intake and output|
|KVO||Keep veins open|
|LBW||Low birth weight|
|LOC||Loss of consciousness|
|MDI||Metered dose inhaler|
|NKA||No known allergies|
|NPO||Nothing by mouth|
|NVD||Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea|
|PMH||Past medical history|
|PUD||Peptic ulcer disease|
|PVD||Peripheral vascular disease|
|RBC||Red blood count or red blood cell|
|SBP||Systolic blood pressure|
|SOB||Shortness of breath|
|STD||Sexually transmitted disease|
|T&C||Type and cross-match (blood)|
|TEDS||Thrombo-embolic disease stockings|
|TPN||Total parenteral nutrition|
|URD||Upper respiratory diseases|
|UTI||Urinary tract infection|
|WBC||White blood count or white blood cell|
Most medications come in different forms, such as release times or added components. For example, a physician may prescribe Dextromethamphetamine XR 20mg.
When entering the prescription information, you must consider the XR abbreviation because it presents a difference in treatment and pricing through a third party than the standard Dextromethamphetamine 20mg.
Below, you’ll find a list of the most commonly used and seen medication abbreviations. You will notice these either on a prescription during data entry or on the medication bottles themselves when filling a prescription.
Either way, knowing these abbreviations and subsequent meanings is a part of the quality assurance process and a vital component of the PTCB exam.
|MS||Morphine sulfate or magnesium sulfate|
|NSAID||Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug|
|OTC||Over the counter|
|pH||Hydrogen ion concentration|
The Pharmacy Technician. 6th ed. Perspective/Morton Pub., 2016. Print.