Potential Problem Mistaken for “0” (zero), the number “4” (four) or “cc” Mistaken for IV (intravenous) or the number 10 (ten) Mistaken for each other Period after the Qmistaken for "I" and the "O" mistaken for "I" Decimal point is missed Can mean morphine sulfate or magnesium sulfate Confused for one another
Use Instead Write "unit" Write "International Unit" Write"daily" Write "every other day"
Write X mg Write 0.X mg Write "morphine sulfate" Write "magnesium sulfate"
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, suchas 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.
AdditionalAbbreviations, Acronyms and Symbols (For possible future inclusion in the Official “Do Not Use” List) Do Not Use > (greater than) < (less than) Abbreviations for drug names Potential ProblemMisinterpreted as the number “7” (seven) or the letter “L” Confused for one another Misinterpreted due to similar abbreviations for multiple drugs Unfamiliar to many practitioners Confused with metric unitsMistaken for the number “2” (two) Mistaken for U (units) when poorly written Mistaken for mg (milligrams) resulting in one thousand-fold overdose Use Instead Write “greater than” Write “less than”Write drug names in full
Use metric units
Write “at” Write “mL” or "ml" or “milliliters” (“mL” is preferred) Write "mcg" or “micrograms”