Abbreviation for "Prescription"

Discussion in 'English Only' started by klodaway, Nov 22, 2007.

  1. klodaway

    klodaway Senior Member


    I am not a native English speaker, and I would like to know whether there is a common-use abbreviation for "Prescription". This is in a software where I do not have the space to write the complete word.... If I were to write "Prescr.", would that be understood?

    I am aware of the use of "Rx", but i believe this refers only to precription of drugs... Is this correct? And also, I am not sure it would be understood outside of the US & Canada...

    The abbreviation I am looking for (if any exists) should apply to prescription of laboratory exams, X-ray or other imaging technique, or any specific medical examination (endoscopy, etc).

    Thank you for any help,
  2. mplsray Senior Member

    If I had to write "prescription" in a limited space, I would write "Rx." That's what one would expect even if it had nothing to do with medication. In a newpaper headline, for example, you might see "Rx for business success: Perseverence." I would note, however, that many, perhaps most, people would pronounce this "arr-ex."
  3. klodaway

    klodaway Senior Member

    Thank you mplsray!

    Would this be understood in the UK as well?

  4. Diablo919

    Diablo919 Senior Member

    Dayton, Ohio
    US / English
    I google'd this and I found a British pharmaceutical site with Rx in the title.
  5. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Rx would be understood in the UK by anyone who had ever had any direct involvement with the business end of a pharmacy. I don't think it would be generally recognised.
  6. mplsray Senior Member

    On the other hand, the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary defines "Rx" as "US WRITTEN ABBREVIATION FOR prescription." I think we need some feedback from native speakers of British English.
  7. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    Rx is used by dispensing opticians in the UK to refer to spectacle prescription; I have personal experience with that profession.

    I see on the Royal College of General Practitioners site that Rx is defined as "prescription" or more broadly, "treatment" (although usually "prescription"). So it seems it is used throughout the medical profession in the UK.
  8. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    True, and it even appears on the written prescription form.
    But I don't think it would be recognised by "normal people".
  9. nzfauna

    nzfauna Senior Member

    Wellington, New Zealand
    New Zealand, English
    In NZ, prescription is generally only used for the document that your doctor gives you, which you then take to the chemist/pharmacist who dispenses whatever is written on it.

    I think there would be another term for the "prescription" of xrays, imaging etc - but I don't have enough experience in this field. However, we do say "lab form" for the document your doctor gives you, which you then take to the lab, and they do whatever is written on it (e.g. take blood).
  10. xtrasystole

    xtrasystole Senior Member

    How about the term 'order' (short for "prescription order") as in "filling an order", "order processing"?
  11. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    I consider myself 'normal people' (though I may be alone in this). I've had many a prescription over the years (I'm quite well now, thanks) and have to admit that the abbreviation is totally new to me ...
  12. casebook Senior Member

    Castiglione del Lago
    English (UK)
    Rx is short for "recipe" which was written at the start of old prescriptions. It is really an R with a stroke across the downward limb of the R. It means literally "take down" and was an instruction to the dispenser as to the ingredients to be mixed. Hence it has become to mean a prescription but how widely it would be known by the general public, I am unsure.
  13. Blues Piano Man

    Blues Piano Man Senior Member

    Boulder, CO
    USA English
    Hi klodaway,
    I think it depends on the context. "Prescr." would certainly be understood by most native English speakers if used in a relevant context. Without an example sentence or other context, I can't answer in general.

    It sounds like you may be using this as a label for a field that would be filled in by the software. Is that right?

    Blues :)


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