Must Know Pharmacy Abbreviations for the PTCB Exam

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.

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.

AbbreviationMeaning
aaaffected area
acbefore food/meals
adright ear
as (sometimes al)left ear
aueach ear
bidtwice daily
tidthree times daily
qidfour times daily
qdevery day
poby mouth
am/ q amevery morning
pm/ q pmevery afternoon
qhsevery day at bed time/evening
i, ii…etc.one, two…etc.
odright eye
os (sometimes ol)left eye
ouboth eyes
slsublingually
toptopically
Intrm (or im)intramuscularly
tabtablet
capcapsule
syrsyrup
liqliquid
suppsuppository
crmcream
ung or ointointment
prnas needed (for)
suspsuspension
solsolution
inhinhalation
per nebby nebulizer
q__hevery__hour(s)
ssone-half
gttdrop
mLmilliliter
tspteaspoon
tbsptablespoon
fl ozfluid ounce
Lliter
UDas directed
NRno refills
DAWdispense as written
wwith
w/without
SC, subc, subqsubcutaneously
pvvaginally
mcgmicrogram
mgmiligram
gm, g, Ggram
mEqmilliequivalent
aq adadd water to
qs ad (or just qs)add sufficient quantity to make
statimmediately, now
prrectally
ivintravenous
ivpintravenous push
ivpbintravenous piggyback

Real-Life Examples

  • 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.

AbbreviationMedical Term
ADDAttention deficit disorder
AFibAtrial fibrillation
AIDSAcquired immunodeficiency syndrome
AMSAltered mental state
AVAtrial-ventricular
BMBowel movement
BMIBody mass index
BPBlood pressure
BSBlood sugar
BSABody surface area
CACancer
CABGCoronary artery bypass graft
CADCoronary artery disease
CBCComplete blood count
CHDCoronary heart disease
CFHCongestive heart failure
COPBChronic obstructive pulmonary disease
CVACerebrovascular accident (stroke)
D/CDiscontinue
DMDiabetes mellitus
DOBDate of birth
DURDrug utilization review
DxDiagnosis
ECEnteric coated
ECG/EKGelectro diagram
ENTEars, nose, throat
EREmergency room
ESRDEnd stage renal disease
FHFamily history
GERDGastroenterology reflux disease
GIgastrointestinal
GttDrop
HAHeadache
HBPHigh blood pressure
HDhemodialysis
HDLHigh density lipoprotein
HIVHuman immunodeficiency virus
HRHeart rate
HRTHormone replacement therapy
HTNHypertension
IO, I/OFluid intake and output
IOPIntraocular pressure
KVOKeep veins open
LBWLow birth weight
LOCLoss of consciousness
MIMyocardial infraction
MDIMetered dose inhaler
NKANo known allergies
NPONothing by mouth
NVDNausea, vomiting, diarrhea
OMOtitis media
OROperating room
PMHPast medical history
PUDPeptic ulcer disease
PVDPeripheral vascular disease
RARheumatoid arthritis
RBCRed blood count or red blood cell
SBPSystolic blood pressure
SOBShortness of breath
STDSexually transmitted disease
TTemperature
T&CType and cross-match (blood)
TBTuberculosis
TEDSThrombo-embolic disease stockings
TPNTotal parenteral nutrition
TxTreatment
UUnits
U/AUrinalysis
URDUpper respiratory diseases
UTIUrinary tract infection
VSVital signs
WBCWhite blood count or white blood cell
WTWeight

Medication Abbreviations

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.

AbbreviationMeaning
DRDelayed release
ERExtended Release
HCTZHydrochlorothiazide
HCTHydrocortisone
KPotassium
LALong-acting
MRModified release
MSMorphine sulfate or magnesium sulfate
NSAIDNonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug
OCOral contraceptive
OTCOver the counter
pHHydrogen ion concentration
RxPrescription
SASustained action
SRSustained release
Tinct.Tincture
TRTimed-release
XRExtended-release
XLExtended-release
XTExtended-release
IRImmediate-release
HCLHydrochloric acid

References:

The Pharmacy Technician. 6th ed. Perspective/Morton Pub., 2016. Print.

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Brett Gordon
 

Founder of ExamCave.com