crsbar.GIF (2120 bytes)



Official "Do Not Use" List1


Do Not Use                                      Potential Problem                          Use Instead


U (unit)                                                  Mistaken for "0" (zero), the                      Write "unit"

number "4" (four) or "cc"

IU (International Unit)                              Mistaken for IV (intravenous)                   Write "International Unit"

or the number 10 (ten)

Q.D., QD, q.d., qd (daily)                        Mistaken for each other                          Write "daily"    


Q.O.D., QOD, q.o.d, qod                        Period after the Q mistaken for                Write "every other day"

(every other day)                                    "I" and the "O" mistaken for "I"


Trailing zero (X.0 mg)*                            Decimal point is missed                          Write X mg       

Lack of leading zero (.X mg)                                                                                Write 0.X mg


MS,   MSO4 and MgSO4                        Can mean morphine sulfate or                 Write "morphine sulfate"

magnesium sulfate                                Write "magnesium sulfate"

                                                            Confused for one another



1 Applies to all orders and all medication-related documentation that is handwritten (including free-text

computer entry) or on pre-printed forms.


*Exception: A "trailing zero" may be used only where required to demonstrate the level of precision of the value being reported, such as for laboratory results, imaging studies that report size of lesions, or

catheter/tube sizes. It may not be used in medication orders or other medication-related documentation.


Additional Abbreviations, Acronyms and Symbols

(For possible future inclusion in the Official "Do Not Use" List)



Do Not Use                                      Potential Problem                          Use Instead


> (greater than)                                      Misinterpreted as the number                  Write "greater than"

< (less than)                                          "7" (seven) or the letter "L"                      Write "less than"

 Confused for one another


Abbreviations for drug names                  Misinterpreted due to similar                   Write drug names in full

abbreviations for multiple drugs


Apothecary units                                    Unfamiliar to many                                 Use metric units


Confused with metric units


@                                                         Mistaken for the number                         Write "at"

"2" (two)


cc                                                         Mistaken for U (units) when                     Write "ml" or "milliliters"

poorly written


 ug                                                   Mistaken for mg (milligrams)                  Write "mcg" or "micrograms"

           resulting in one thousand-fold overdose



  2001 Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. All rights reserved.
Please send questions or comments to: Renata Barylowicz
Updated: 04/13/10 ... Created: 09/23/06