Pharmacy Technician Terminology You Need to Know

Pharmacy Technician Terms You Need To Know at Ross Medical Education CenterAs a pharmacy technician, you will soon come to experience that healthcare professionals in the pharmacy have their own key terms and daily vocabulary. It may seem overwhelming to think that you will need to learn so many new words and terms. However, you will soon discover that during your pharmacy technician training program at Ross Medical Education Center, you will learn little tips and tricks to help you get the hang out of it and get out in the field fast! Some of the terms you will be taught will be specifically related to drug names and types, while others will be anatomy and physiology or more general medical terminology. Still others will be commonly used abbreviations of key terms. Those new terms and concepts will be used daily in your new pharmacy technician career with co-workers, pharmacists, and patients.

To help you get a head start, we came up with a list of a few of those important terms and phrases that you may need to know and use in your pharmacy technician career:

Rx
This is an abbreviation for the word prescription. It is from the Latin word recipe which actually means “take thus.” So, an Rx, or prescription, is just a physician’s direction to “take thus” with instructions on medications to take as well as how to take them and how often.

Compounding
Compounding is when a licensed pharmacist, or someone that is working under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist, combines or alters the ingredients in a drug in order to be specific to the needs of a particular patient.

Batch Preparation
Related to the previous term, batch preparation is the process of compounding many of the same item to have stock – not for immediate use.

Analgesics
An analgesic is a painkiller, as analgesia is the term for “relief from pain.” Some of the drugs in this class include ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, morphine, and others.

Absorption Rate
How long it takes for a drug to enter into the bloodstream.

Anesthetic
An anesthetic is a drug that causes anesthesia. Anesthesia is a short-term and reversible loss of consciousness. Anesthetics are used to perform surgeries without patients having to suffer through the pain of them. There are both general anesthetics and local anesthetics. General anesthetics cause patients to experience a reversible loss of consciousness while local anesthetics simply cause a reversible loss of sensation to a specific part of the body while the patient remains conscious.

Antagonist
A drug that blocks action transmitted by neurotransmitters through neutral receptors. This type of drug stops action from happening in neural pathways and is the opposite of agonist drugs.

Antibiotic/Antibacterial
Although not exactly the same, antibiotic and antibacterial are sometimes used interchangeably because they are used for similar purposes. An antibiotic destroys or inhibits the growth of a microorganism. An antibacterial kills bacteria or suppresses its growth.

Aseptic Technique
Aseptic simply means free of microorganisms. So, aseptic technique is the process of performing procedures within controlled conditions in order to decrease the likelihood of contamination. Pharmacy staff can use sterile preparations, sterile packaging, and sterile administration tools in order to avoid the introduction of microorganisms.

Orange Book
The “Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations” published by the FDA. This is used as a resource to help when choosing generic substitutions for drugs.

Sig Code
A wide variety of medical abbreviations and acronyms, often Latin-based, used by health-care professionals as instructions. Prescription sig codes gives directions on taking or administering a drug.

Abbreviations
As in nearly any healthcare position, as a pharmacy technician, abbreviations and shorthand will likely become a large part of your communication. In the pharmacy world, these are called “sig codes” and provide quick and common prescription instructions. Some of those abbreviations may seem confusing now, but as you study in your program and get into the field, you can catch on quickly! Here are some common sig codes to help get you started!

  • q – Every
  • qH – Every hour
  • qAM – Every morning
  • qPM – Every evening
  • qD – Every day
  • qOD – Every other day
  • qWK – Every week
  • qMO – Every month
  • q__H – Every __ hours
  • BID – Twice a day
  • TID – Three a day
  • QID – Four a day
  • C – With
  • AC – Before a meal
  • PC – After a meal
  • PRN – As needed
  • GTT – Drop
  • TBSP – Tablespoon
  • TSP – Teaspoon
  • OZ – Ounce
  • PO – By mouth/oral
  • TAB – Tablet
  • CAP – Capsule
  • IM – Intramuscular
  • SQ – Subcutaneous
  • IV – Intravenous
  • INJ – Injection
  • STAT – Immediately

Are you interested in a pharmacy technician career?

Ross Medical Education Center is now offering the Pharmacy Technician program fully online, where you will have the opportunity to learn various terms, sig codes, and much more as you pursue your pharmacy technician career. Visit the Ross Pharmacy Technician program page today to find out more!

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  • Kokomo
  • Lafayette
  • Muncie
  • Bowling Green
  • Erlanger
  • Owensboro
  • Ann Arbor
  • Brighton
  • Canton (MI)
  • Davison
  • Flint
  • Grand Rapids
  • Kalamazoo
  • Kentwood
  • Lansing
  • Madison Heights
  • New Baltimore
  • Port Huron
  • Muskegon
  • Saginaw
  • Taylor
  • Cincinnati
  • Dayton
  • Elyria
  • Niles
  • Mansfield
  • Johnson City
  • Knoxville
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  • Morgantown
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