General Question

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

In medical abbreviations, is it mEq or mg that is not to be used?

Asked by shpadoinkle_sue (7188points) October 17th, 2010

There was a discussion in one of my pharmacy classes about which one we weren’t supposed to use. My teacher isn’t sure about it either. Does anyone know for sure which one? Maybe someone in the medical field.
mEq stands for milliequivalent and mg stands for milligram. But I thought mg could also stand for microgram. I do know the abbreviation for microgram, but they could get confused between each other.

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5 Answers

Blueroses's avatar

In my experience, mcg is microgram, mg is very common. Any of us who read prescriptions are very aware that the difference between the two could mean the difference between “treatment” and “death sentence”. I would really discourage any doctor from writing mEq (and would be very surprised if it were ever used on a prescription) it could easily be confused with mcg.

shilolo's avatar

One recommendation is to avoid the µg designation, because µg = microgram, but could easily be confused with mg (milligram). I’ve seen people write mEq, because I don’t quite see how a milliequivalent (mEq) can be confused with a mcg (microgram).

Blueroses's avatar

In doctor’s notoriously bad handwriting (some cliches are true) m -scribbled E w/ no discernible middle line (could be a “c”) – g/q (well that pretty much goes without saying how easy those letters are to confuse in handwriting)

shilolo's avatar

Well, I’ve never had a problem writing for mEq or mg. I never write µg and typically write out microgram if I am ordering it.

sleepdoc's avatar

I think that mcg used to be abbreviated with the sign for micro, which I have no idea how to make on here. That is a definite no no now.

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