I have studied the apothecary system, and notice they use roman numerals on prescriptions to indicated the number of tablets or capsules in the signa, such as

iii po BID

Alos, some doctors do:


(for three tablets twice a day by mouth)

But I notice most doctors, when they write a script and use "T" for tablet, but they also add a special symbol on top of the "T". Some doctors put a quotation mark on top of it:


While others use something like a grave accent:


Does anyone know what these mean? I've seen other strange symbols too.


1 2 3
Better late than never. They shorthand, and usually from the latin:

po = per os (by mouth)
pr = per rectun
pv = per vaginum

for injections:
im = intramuscular
iv = intravenous

i, ii, ii = roman numerals for the number of tablets 1, 2 ot 3. Also you see T,TT,TTT.

bd / bid = bis in die (twice a day)
tds / tid = ter die sumendum (three times a day)
qds / qid = quater die sumendum (four times a day)
prn = pro re nata (as required)
stat = statim (immediately - heard very often in episodes of E.R.)
Mane / nocte (morning/night)

I am unsure of the T with a mark on, I have a friend who will know, it is probably just:

T = 1 tablet

T = 2 tablets
And in the BNF (British National Formulary), there is a list of approved Latin abbreviations. It says:

Latin abbreviations
Although directions should preferably be in English without abbreviation, it is recognised that some Latin abbreviations are used when prescribing. The following is a list of appropriate abbreviations. It should be noted that the English version is not always an exact translation.

a.c. = ante cibum (before food)
b.d. = ... see last post
o.d. = omni die (daily)
o.m. = omni mane (in the morning)
o.n. = omni nocte (at night)
p.c. = post cibum (after food)
p.r.n. = ...
q.d.s. = ...
q.q.h. = quarta quaque hora (every four hours)
t.d.s = ...

For tablets:

Would be 1 tablet, 2 tablets, 3 tablets.

and he also uses:
mitte = give

And he did an example:

"erythromycin 250mg tablets, take two
tablets 4 times a day, and dispense 56

So that is a 7 day course.
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I'll try the images again...
Wow! Thanks all for your help! I had forgotten that I had posted this thread here, but I learned a lot, especially from those pics.

I have since learned that the dots/apostophes/whatever on top of the "T"'s simply are meant to reinforce the number of "T"'s:
Take one: T

' '
Take two: TT

' ' '
Take three: TTT

12, as in 12 refills, would be:
' '
Is there a code for three times weekly?
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qw- every week

biw-twice a week

tiw-three times a week

qiw-four times a week
Hi, Milena and everyone:

I am a nurisng instructor and would like to explain that what you think is the letter T with a dot over it is NOT the letter T. As you will see in the post where someone has actually shown a hand-written prescription, the so-called T is actually a Roman number with a bar on top of it and then the dots are above each bar. You can read this tablets but it could also mean capsules, caplets or even teaspoonfuls. Let me show you....

Acetaminophen XS 500 mg i - ii q 6 h for headache pain. This reads as Acetaminophen Extra Strength 500 milligram caplets. Take one or two every 6 hours for headache pain. If I was able to do it on this message board, I could insert a little bar between the i and the . above it . Can you see that this means you are not seeing a T nor are you to read it each and every time as 'tablets'?

Hope this helps...

Melodie Hull

Nurse-Educator & Consultant

Mileena. This came in goods hands for me thanks
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