abbreviations used in healthcare and pharmaceutical sector

This article contains some common and useful abbreviations used in healthcare and pharmaceutical sector.

we use these during day to day practice and in profession

some of these abbreviations we find on our prescription and body test reports. others used in pharma and healthacre industry.

Doctors and other health care professionals commonly use a list of abbreviations, acronyms, and other medical terminology as a reference to rapidly search and accurately record information about, and give instructions to their patients.

These abbreviations, acronyms, and medical terminology are used for many conditions and for instructions on medication prescribed by your doctor. we try to give a short list of common abbreviations you may have seen on a doctor’s prescription, a drug strip and bottle, lab or other test results, or in your doctor’s notes.



  1. A.C.: Before meals. As in taking a medicine before meals.
  2. a/g Ratio: Albumin to globulin ratio.
  3. AADA: Abbreviated antibiotic drug application
  4. ACA: Affordable Care Act
  5. ACL: Anterior cruciate ligament. ACL injuries are one of the most common ligament injuries to the knee. The ACL can be sprained or completely torn from trauma and/or degeneration.
  6. ACO: Accountable Care Organization
  7. ADE: Adverse drug event
  8. ADME: Absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion
  9. Ad lib: At liberty. For example, a patient may be permitted to move out of bed freely and orders would, therefore, be for activities to be ad lib.
  10. ADH: Antidiuretic hormone
  11. ADHD: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  12. ADR: Adverse drug reaction. If a patient is taking a prescription drug to treat high blood pressure disease
  13. AFR: Acute renal failure
  14. AHU: Air Handling Unit
  15. AIDS: Acquired immune deficiency syndrome
  16. AKA: Above the knee amputation.
  17. ANDA: Abbreviated new drug application
  18. Anuric: Not producing urine. A person who is anuric is often critical and may require dialysis.
  19. ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease.
  20. AP: Applicants Part (of EDMF)
  21. API: Active pharmaceutical ingredient
  22. APR: Annual product review (APQR – Annual product quality review)
  23. APTC: Advanced Premium Tax Credit
  24. AQL: Acceptable quality level
  25. AR: Analytical Reagent
  26. ARDS: Acute respiratory distress syndrome.
  27. ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure
  28. ASCVD: Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. A form of heart disease.
  29. ASHRAE: American Society of heating, Refrgeration and Air Conditioning Engineers
  30. ASM: Active Substance Manufacturer
  31. ASMF: Active Substance Master File
  32. AST: Accelerated stability testing
  33. ASTM: American Society for Testing and Materials
  34. AV: Actuarial Value
  35. BA/BE: Bioavailability/bioequivalence
  36. BCS: Biopharmaceutical classification system
  37. BET: Bacterial Endotoxin Test
  38. BFS: Blow Fill Seal
  39. BI: Biological Indicator
  40. b.i.d.: Twice daily. As in taking a medicine twice daily.
  41. BMR: Batch Manufacturing/Processing Record
  42. BOD: Biological Oxygen Demand
  43. bld: Blood. Blood was visible on the patient’s scalp.
  44. Bandemia: Slang for elevated level of band forms of white blood cells.
  45. Bibasilar: At the bases of both lungs. For example, someone with a pneumonia in both lungs might have abnormal bibasilar breath sounds.
  46. BKA: Below the knee amputation.
  47. BMP: Basic metabolic panel. Electrolytes (potassium, sodium, carbon dioxide, and chloride) and creatinine and glucose.
  48. BOM: Bill of Materials
  49. BOPP: Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene
  50. BP: Blood pressure. Blood pressure is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the “vital signs.”
  51. BP: British Pharmacopoeia
  52. BPD: Borderline personality disorder. A personality disorder.
  53. BPR: Batch Packaging Record
  54. BRMS: Biologics Regulatory Management System
  55. BSO: Bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. A BSO is the removal of both of the ovaries and adjacent Fallopian tubes and often is performed as part of a total abdominal hysterectomy.
  56. BSE: Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease)
  57. CAPA: Corrective and preventive action
  58. C&S: Culture and sensitivity, performed to detect infection.
  59. C/O: Complaint of. The patient’s expressed concern.
  60. cap: Capsule.
  61. Ca: Cancer; carcinoma. For example, a patient who undergoing treatment for cancer should assure that they are eating and drinking enough fluids daily, both during and after treatment.
  62. CABG. Coronary artery bypass graft. A surgery involving the heart.
  63. CAC: Certified Application Counselor
  64. CAP: Consumer Assistance Program
  65. CBC: Complete blood count.
  66. CBE: Changes being effected
  67. CBER: Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (FDA)
  68. CC: Chief complaint. The patient’s main concern.
  69. CCIIO: Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight
  70. CCIT: Container closure integrity test
  71. CDC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  72. CDE: Complete dental (oral) evaluation.
  73. CDER: Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (FDA)
  74. CDSCO: Central drug standard control organization (India)
  75. cc: Cubic centimeters.
  76. CEP: Certification of suitability of European Pharmacopoeia monographs
  77. CFR: Code of Federal Regulations
  78. CFU: Colony Forming Unit
  79. cGMP: Current Good Manufacturing Practices
  80. CHC: Community Health Center
  81. CHIP: Children’s Health Insurance Program
  82. Chem panel: Chemistry panel. A comprehensive screening blood test that indicates the status of the liver, kidneys, and electrolytes.
  83. CIP: Clean in place
  84. CMC: Chemistry, manufacturing and controls
  85. CMS: Continuous monitoring system
  86. CMS: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
  87. COA: Certificate of analysis
  88. COB: Coordination of Benefits
  89. COBRA: Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act
  90. CO-OP: Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan
  91. COPP: Certificate of Pharmaceutical Products
  92. COS: Certificate of suitability
  93. CPP: Critical Process Parameter
  94. CQA: Critical Quality Attribute
  95. CSR: Cost-Sharing Reduction
  96. CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea.
  97. COPD: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  98. CT: Chemotherapy. A type of treatment therapy for cancer.
  99. CTD: Common technical document
  100. CVA: Cerebrovascular accident (Stroke).
  101. D/C or DC: Discontinue or discharge. For example, a doctor will D/C a drug. Alternatively, the doctor might DC a patient from the hospital.
  102. DCIS: Ductal Carcinoma In Situ. A type of breast cancer. The patient is receiving treatment for Ductal Carcinoma In Situ.
  103. DDX: Differential diagnosis. A variety diagnostic possibilities are being considered to diagnose the type of cancer present in the patient.
  104. DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis.
  105. DM: Diabetes mellitus.
  106. DME: Durable Medical Equipment
  107. DMF: Drug master file
  108. DNC, D&C, or D and C: Dilation and curettage. Widening the cervix and scrapping with a curette for the purpose of removing tissue lining the inner surface of the womb (uterus).
  109. DNR: Do not resuscitate. This is a specific order not to revive a patient artificially if they succumb to illness. If a patient is given a DNR order, they are not resuscitated if they are near death and no code blue is called.
  110. DOE: Dyspnea on exertion. Shortness of breath with activity.
  111. DOP: Dioctyl Phthalate
  112. DQ: Design Qualification
  113. DTR: Deep tendon reflexes. These are reflexes that the doctor tests by banging on the tendons with a rubber hammer.
  114. DVT: Deep venous thrombosis (blood clot in large vein).
  115. ETOH: Alcohol. ETOH intake history is often recorded as part of a patient history.
  116. ECT:  Electro conclusive therapy. A procedure used to control seizures (convulsions).
  117. ECP: Essential Community Provider
  118. EDMF: European drug master file
  119. EDQM: European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines
  120. EH&S: Environmental health and safety
  121. EHB: Essential Health Benefit
  122. EIR: establishment inspection report (FDA)
  123. EMEA: European Medicines Agency (formerly European Medicines Evaluation Agency)
  124. EMR: Electronic Medical Record
  125. EOB: Explanation of Benefits
  126. EP: European Pharmacopoeia
  127. EPO: Exclusive Provider Organization
  128. EPS: Expanded polystyrene
  129. EPSDT: Early Periodic Screening, Diagnostic & Treatment Services
  130. ERISA: Employee Retirement Income Security Act
  131. ESI: Employer-sponsored Insurance
  132. ETP: Effluent Treatment Plant
  133. EU: Endotoxin unit
  134. EU: European Union
  135. FAT: Factory Acceptance Testing
  136. FBD: Fluid-bed dryer
  137. FDA: Food and Drug Administration, United States
  138. FDC: Fixed Dose Combination
  139. FEFO: First expiry first out
  140. FFM/FFE: Federally Facilitated Market place/ Federally Facilitated Exchange
  141. FFS: Fee-for-service
  142. FG: Finished Goods
  143. FIFO: First in first out
  144. FOI: Freedom of information
  145. FMEA: Failure modes and effect analysis
  146. FPL: Federal Poverty Level
  147. FQHC: Federally Qualified Health Center
  148. FSA: Flexible Spending Account
  149. FX: Fracture.
  150. gm: gram, a unit of weight. cream is available in both 30 and 60 gram tubes.
  151. GAMP: Good automated manufacturing practice
  152. GC: Gas Chromatography
  153. GCLP: Good clinical laboratory practice
  154. GCP: Good clinical practice
  155. GDP: Good distribution practice
  156. GEP: Good engineering practice
  157. GGP: good guidance practice
  158. GIT: Gastrointestinal Tract
  159. GLP: Good laboratory practice
  160. GMO: Genetically modified organism
  161. GMP: Good manufacturing practice
  162. GPT: Growth Promotion Test
  163. GRAS/E: Generally recognized as safe and effective
  164. GRP: Good review practice
  165. gtt: Drops
  166. HACCP: Hazard analysis critical control point
  167. HDPE: High Density Polyethylene
  168. HEPA: High efficiency particulate air (filter)
  169. HPLC: High performance liquid chromatography
  170. H&H: Hemoglobin and hematocrit. When the H & H is low, anemia is present. The H&H can be elevated in persons who have lung disease from long term smoking or from disease, such as polycythemia rubra vera.
  171. H&P: History and physical examination.
  172. h.s.: At bedtime. As in taking a medicine at bedtime.
  173. H/O or h/o: History of. A past event that occurred.
  174. HA: Headache.
  175. HCR: Health Care Reform
  176. HCBS: Home and Community-Based Services
  177. HDHP: High Deductible Health Plan
  178. HHS: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  179. HIPAA: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
  180. HIM/HIX: Health Insurance Marketplace/ Health Insurance Exchange
  181. HMO: Health Maintenance Organization
  182. HRP: High Risk Pool
  183. HRSA: Health Resources and Services Administration
  184. HSA: Health Savings Account
  185. HSA: Health Sciences Authority
  186. HRT: Hormone replacement
  187. HTN: Hypertension.
  188. HVAC: Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning
  189. I&D: Incision and drainage.
  190. IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
  191. ICAH: International Conference on Harmonisation
  192. ICD: Implantable cardioverter defibrillator
  193. ICU: Intensive care unit. The patient was moved to the intensive care unit.
  194. IH: In house
  195. IM: Intramuscular.
  196. IMP: Impression. This is the summary conclusion of the patient’s condition by the healthcare professional at that particular date and time.
  197. IND: Investigational new drug
  198. INDA: Investigational new drug application
  199. IP: Indian Pharmacopeia
  200. IPA: Isopropyl Alcohol
  201. IPA: In-Person Assisters Program
  202. IPS: In process control
  203. IQ: Installation qualification
  204. IR: Immediate release
  205. ISO: International Organization for Standardization
  206. ISPE: International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering
  207. ITU: Intensive therapy unit
  208. in vitro: In the laboratory
  209. in vivo: In the body
  210. IPF: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. A type of lung disease.
  211. IU: International units
  212. IV: Intravenous
  213.  JT: Joint
  214. JP: Japanese Pharmacopoeia
  215. K: Potassium. An essential electrolyte frequently monitored regularly in intensive care.
  216. KCL: Potassium chloride
  217. KOS: Knowledge organization system
  218. LAF: Laminar air flow
  219. LAL: Limulus Amoebocyte Lysate
  220. LBP: Low back pain. LBP is one of most common medical complaints.
  221. LCIS: Lobular Carcinoma In Situ. A type of cancer of the breast. The patient is receiving treatment for Lobular Carcinoma In Situ.
  222. LD: Lethal dose
  223. LD50: Lethal dose where 50% of the animal population die
  224. LDPE: Low Density Polyethylene
  225. LIMS: Laboratory Information Management System
  226. LIR: Laboratory Investigation Report
  227. LLQ: Left lower quadrant. Diverticulitis pain is often in the LLQ of the abdomen.
  228. LOD: Loss on drying
  229. LOD: Limit of detection
  230. LOQ: Limit of quantification
  231. LR: Laboratory Reagent
  232. LTC: Long Term Care
  233. LUQ: Left upper quadrant. The spleen is located in the LUQ of the abdomen.
  234. LVPs: Large Volume Parentals
  235. Lytes: Electrolytes (potassium, sodium, carbon dioxide, and chloride
  236. MAGI: Modified Adjusted Gross Income
  237. MA: Marketing Authorisation
  238. MA: Medicare Advantage
  239. MAA: Marketing Authorisation Application
  240. MAC: Maximum Allowable Carryover
  241. MCL: Medial collateral ligament.
  242. MCC: Medicines control council (South Africa)
  243. MDD: Maximum daily dose
  244. MFR: Master Formula Record
  245. MEDSAFE: Medicines and medicinal devices safety authority (New Zealand)
  246. mg: Milligrams.
  247. MHRA: Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (UK)
  248. M/H: Medical history
  249. ml: Milliliters.
  250. MLR: Medical Loss Ratio
  251. MOA: Method Of Analysis
  252. MSDS: Material Safety Data Sheets
  253. MVP: Mitral valve prolapse
  254. N/V: Nausea or vomiting.
  255. Na: Sodium. An essential electrolyte frequently monitored regularly in intensive care.
  256. NCE: New chemical entity
  257. NCP: Nursing care plan
  258. NDA: New Drug Application
  259. NF: National Formulary
  260. NIR: Near Infra Red Spectroscopy
  261. NON: Notice of non-compliance (Canada)
  262. npo: Nothing by mouth. For example, if a patient was about to undergo a surgical operation requiring general anesthesia, they may be required to avoid food or beverage prior to the procedure.
  263. NSR: Normal sinus rhythm of the heart
  264. O&P: Ova and parasites. Stool O & P is tested in the laboratory to detect parasitic infection in persons with chronic diarrhea.
  265. O.D.: Right eye
  266. ODI: Orally Disintegrating Tablet
  267. O.S.: Left eye
  268. O.U.: Both eyes
  269. OOS: Out of specification
  270. OOT: Out of trend
  271. OQ: Operation Qualification
  272. OSD: Oral Solid Dosage
  273. OSHA: Occupational Safety And Health Administration
  274. OTC: Over-the-counter
  275. ORIF: Open reduction and internal fixation, such as with the orthopedic repair of a hip fracture.
  276. P: Pulse. Pulse is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the “vital signs.”
  277. PAC: Post-approval changes
  278. PAO: Poly alpha olefin
  279. PAT: Process Analytical technology
  280. PBM: Pharmacy Benefit Manager
  281. : After meals. As in take two tablets after meals.
  282. p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os.
  283. p.r.n.: As needed. So that it is not always done, but done only when the situation calls for it (or example, taking a pain medication only when having pain and not without pain).
  284. PCL: Posterior cruciate ligament.
  285. PD: Progressive disease. Patients at risk of developing progressive disease of the kidneys include those with proteinuria or hematuria.
  286. PET: Preservative efficacy test
  287. PIC/S: Pharmaceutical Inspection Co-operation Scheme
  288. PERRLA: Pupils equal, round, and reactive to light and accommodation.
    PFT: Pulmonary function test. A test to evaluate the how well the lungs are functioning.
  289. PERRLA: Pupils equal, round, and reactive to light and accommodation.
  290. PLC: Programmable Logic Control
  291. Plt: Platelets, one of the blood forming elements along with the white and red blood cells.
  292. PMI: Point of maximum impulse of the heart when felt during examination, as in beats against the chest.
  293. PMS: Premenstrual syndrome
  294. PQ: Performance Qualification
  295. PT: Physical therapy
  296. PTH: Parathyroid hormone
  297. PTSD: Post-traumatic stress syndrome
  298. PVC: Polyvinyl Chloride
  299. PVDC: Polyvinylidene Chloride
  300. PUD: Peptic ulcer disease. A type of ulcer of the stomach.
  301. PW: Purified Water
  302. q.d.: Each day. As in taking a medicine daily.
  303. q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily.
  304. q2h: Every 2 hours. As in taking a medicine every 2 hours.
  305. q3h: Every 3 hours. As in taking a medicine every 3 hours.
  306. qAM: Each morning. As in taking a medicine each morning.
  307. qhs: At each bedtime. As in taking a medicine each bedtime.
  308. qod: Every other day. As in taking a medicine every other day.
  309. qPM: Each evening. As in taking a medicine each evening.
  310. QA : Quality Assurance
  311. QC: Quality Control
  312. QbD: Quality by design
  313. QM: Quality Manual
  314. QSD:   Quality System Dossier
  315. QSM : Quality System Management
  316. QMS: Quality Management System
  317. RA: Rheumatoid arthritis.type of joint disease.
  318. RDS: Respiratory distress syndrome
  319. R/O: Rule out. Doctors frequently will rule out various possible diagnoses when figuring out the correct diagnosis.
  320. REB: Rebound, as in rebound tenderness of the abdomen when pushed in and then released.
  321. RH: Relative humidity
  322. RLAF: Reverse laminar air flow
  323. RLD: Reference listed drug
  324. RLQ: Right lower quadrant. The appendix is located in the RLQ of the abdomen.
  325. RM: Raw material
  326. RO: Reverse Osmosis
  327. ROS: Review of systems. An overall review concerns relating to the organ systems, such as the respiratory, cardiovascular, and neurological systems.
  328. ROPP: Roll On Pilfer Proof
  329. RS: Related Substance
  330. RUQ: Right upper quadrant. The liver is located in the RUQ of the abdomen.
  331. s/p: Status post. For example, a person who had a knee operation would be s/p a knee operation.
  332. SAD: Season affective disorder. A type of depression that occurs during the winter months when there is little light.
  333. SAL: Sterility Assurance Level
  334. SAT: Site Acceptance Testing
  335. SBC: Summary of Benefits and Coverage
  336. SBM/SBE: State Based Marketplace/State Based Exchange
  337. SDN: Screening Deficiency Notice (Canada)
  338. SEP: Special Enrollment Period
  339. SHOP: Small Business Health Options Program
  340. SIP: Sterilization in place/Steam in place
  341. SLS: Sodium Lauryl Sulphate
  342. SMF: Site master file
  343. SNF: Skilled Nursing Facility
  344. SOB: Shortness of breath.
  345. SOP: Standard operating procedure
  346. SPE: Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering
  347. SPM/SPE: State Partnership Marketplace/ State Partnership Exchange
  348. SPP: Specialty Pharmacy Provider
  349. SSDI: Social Security Disability Income
  350. SSI: Supplemental Security Income
  351. SQ: Subcutaneous. This is a typical notation when noting or ordering an injection (shot) given into the fatty tissue under the skin, such as with insulin for diabetes mellitus.
  352. SUPAC: Scale-up and post approval changes
  353. SVP: Small Volume Parental
  354. T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the “vital signs.”
  355. T&A: Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy
  356. t.i.d.: Three times daily. As in taking a medicine three times daily.
  357. tab: Tablet
  358. TAH: Total abdominal hysterectomy
  359. TAH: Total abdominal hysterectomy. A type of surgery to remove a woman’s uterus, Fallopian tubes, and ovaries.
  360. TC: Thermo couple
  361. TDS: Total Dissolved Solids
  362. TGA: Therapeutics goods administration (Australia)
  363. THR: Total hip replacement
  364. TKR: Total knee replacement
  365. TMJ: Tempo mandibular joint
  366. TOC: Total organic carbon
  367. TSE: Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy
  368. TPA: Third Party Administrator
  369. UA or u/a: Urinalysis. A Urinalysis is a typical part of a comprehensive physical examination.
  370. U or u**: Unit. Mistaken as the number 0 or 4, causing a 10-fold overdose or greater (for example, 4U seen as “40” or 4u seen as “44”); mistaken as “cc” so the dose is given in volume instead of units (for example, 4u seen as 4cc).
  371. UCR: Usual, Customary and Reasonable Charges
  372. ULN: Upper limits of normal
  373. USFDA: United states foods and drugs administration
  374. USP: United States Pharmacopoeia
  375. USP-NF: United States Pharmacopoeia-National Formulary
  376. URI: Upper respiratory infection, such as sinusitis or the common cold
  377. URS: User Requirement Specification
  378. ut dict: As directed. As in taking a medicine according to the instructions that the health care professional gave in the office or in the past
  379. UTI: Urinary tract infection
  380. VAI: Voluntary action indicated
  381. VMP: Validation Master Plan
  382. VSS: Vital signs are stable. This notation means that from the standpoint of the temperature, blood pressure, and pulse, the patient is doing well
  383. WFI: Water for injection
  384. WHO: World Health Organisation
  385. WL: Warning letter
  386. Wt: Weight. Body weight is often recorded as part of the physical examinatio
  387. XRT: Radiotherapy (external). A type of treatment that uses radiation.


This article give some detail about the abbreviations and other short forms which is used in pharma and healthacre industry.we hope this article helps you in your daily life.

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