What Is “mcg” in a Dosage?

In medical dosages, “mcg” stands for “micrograms,” but it is sometimes confused with “mg,” which stands for “milligrammes.” According to the U.S. The FDA is in charge of food and drugs.

In 2006, the FDA worked with the Institute for Safe Medical Practices to make sure that medical and veterinary abbreviations were not misunderstood. The FDA says that written prescription abbreviations are hard to understand and can lead to medical mistakes that could have been avoided. Using abbreviations is a faster way to write prescriptions, but they are often misunderstood because veterinary and medical education and training are different and people have bad handwriting.

The Latin apothecary system and the avoirdupois system are the two ways that medical and veterinary schools shorten words, says the FDA. The Center for Veterinary Medicine also found a difference in how much medicine is given to patients because doctors misunderstood the terms “once a day,” “twice a day,” and “four times a day.”

Other problems with prescriptions include misreading the number of zeros at the end and mistaking the “U” in micrograms for the number of units. The FDA says that if a pharmacist mistakes “5.0” for “50,” the prescribed dose of medication goes up by ten times. When the “10U” is mistaken for 100 units, the amount goes up by ten.

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