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JCAHO Official “Do Not Use” List

Snapshot: This article reviews common medical abbreviations that the Joint Commission has deemed potentially problematic, along with suggested alternatives.

Do Not Use Potential Problem Use Instead
U, u (unit) Mistaken for “0” (zero), the

number “4” (four) or “cc”

Write “unit”
IU (International Unit) Mistaken for IV (intravenous) or the number 10 (ten) Write “International Unit”
Q.D., QD, q.d., qd (daily) Mistaken for each other Write “daily”
Q.O.D., QOD, q.o.d., qod (every other day) Period after the Q mistaken for "I" and “O” mistaken for “I” Write “every other day”
Trailing zero (X.0 mg) Decimal point is missed Write X mg
Lack of leading zero (.X mg) Decimal point is missed Write 0.X mg
MS Can mean morphine sulfate or magnesium sulfate Write “morphine sulfate” or write “magnesium sulfate”
MSO4 and MgSO4 Confused for one another