QHS Medical Abbreviation: You just had an appointment with your doctor and she wrote you a prescription. On the way to the pharmacy, you look at it and speculate what is scratched after the name of the drug. Will the pharmacologist understand what you just argued with your doctor during your pressed office visit?

Medical abbreviations like Qhs may sound like a way for doctors and pharmacists to correspond to confuse patients. Luckily, that is not the aim. Instead, it is a shorthand your doctor can use to prohibit them from having to write out the full texts. These odd abbreviations introduce to the authority of the medication. They may seem like encrypted code, but nevermore fear.

The free support waiting for you at the pharmacy (your pharmacist) will portray these abbreviations and put them into simple guidance you can understand.

QHS Medical Abbreviation

Medical prescription abbreviations, like the ones you might catch scrawled by your doctor on your prescription or a clinic medication order, can be a universal source of confusion for healthcare providers, too.

QHS Medical Abbreviation
QHS Medical Abbreviation

In fact, an unclear, poorly written or inaccurate medical abbreviation that leads to misinterpretation is one of the most common and preventable causes of medication errors. All abbreviations can reinforce the risk for incorrect interpretation and should be used with attention in the healthcare setting.

What Does QHS Mean?

The simplest way to understand Qhs medical abbreviation and others is to break it down. The Q comes from the Latin word quaque, which means each or also.

In terms of a prescription, Q stands for each or every.

That leaves hs, which comes from the Latin word hora somni, which means bedtime.

On the prescription hs also stands for bedtime.

Therefore, when you put them together Qhs means “every bedtime” or “each bedtime.” Certain medications should be taken at bedtime either to prevent drowsiness during waking hours, to induce sleep or another reason.

How Your Doctor Uses It

Doctors like to communicate fastly but accurately. The shorthand was written “QHS” grants them to do just that. Initially, doctors use this abbreviation shorthand to talk with the pharmacist who will be filling your prescription.

You may not give it too much suspense, but a pharmacist really needs a lot of details from your doctor to understand how to perfectly fill your prescription. The drug name is only the first part of the information.

The doctor must also mention the pharmacist how much (the dose), how many times (the frequency), how long (the total duration), and what time of day to take the medication. The medical abbreviation “QHS” answers the last question. It lets the pharmacist know that she should instruct you to take the medication at bedtime.

You can better understand by this example, let’s say your doctor was prescribing you Ambien, a sleeping medicine. She wishes to let the pharmacist know that this medication requires to be taken at bedtime. She would likely write out a prescription that reads:

“Ambien 10mg. Take 1 tab QHS”

When the pharmacist receives this prescription printed or written on prescription paper, He/She would know the category of medication to prescribe (Ambien), the dose (10 mg), and when he/she should direct you to take it (“qhs” or at bedtime).

Why Doctors advise taking Medicine at Bedtime?

You must know that your doctor generally has a good reason He/She wants you to take a particular medication at bedtime, even if He/She doesn’t describe it. All doctors are bad at explaining those kinds of details at the moment! But here’s the reason.

Often, your doctor will tell you to take a particular medication at bedtime to bypass certain side effects. Certain medications for mood complications, for example, have a side effect of drowsiness. Taking a medication such as this at night would allow you to feel the mood benefits of the medication, without allowing the sleepiness it may cause to slow you down during the day.

A more general reason your doctor wishes you to take a particular medication at night is that it will simply work better if you take it then. Let’s see some examples of this

Which Medicines are Best Taken at Bedtime?

1. “Statins” – High Cholesterol Medications

When “bad cholesterol” from your diet makes up in your arteries, they can drive to stroke, heart attack, and other problems. Statins are a category of drugs that can be used jointly with a healthy diet and routine exercise to lower your “bad cholesterol” levels. General statin medications consist of pravastatin (Pravachol), atorvastatin (Lipitor), rosuvastatin (Crestor), and lovastatin (Mevacor, Altocor).

2. Sleep Medications

It will come as no wonder that sleep medications should be taken when we go for bed. Taking them at an improper time could result in falling asleep when you don’t want to! Always keep in mind to restrict driving or operating heavy machinery while under the influence of these medications.

Common medications that come into this category include zolpidem (Ambien), eszopiclone (Lunesta), trazodone, and melatonin.

3. Mood Medications

Your initial care doctor or psychiatrist may prescribe medications to help make good your mood which has an inadmissible side effect of making you drowsy. Prescribing these medications, to be taken at bedtime helps reduce this effect.

Common mood medications that result in you very sleepy, which are generally prescribed to be taken at bedtime consist of trazodone and Seroquel (low doses of these are used for sleep, higher doses are used to make better mood), olanzapine (Zyprexa), mirtazapine (Remeron).

Most Common Medical and Prescription Abbreviations

AbbreviationMeaning / Intended Meaning

  • 1/2NS:- one-half normal saline (0.45%)
  • 5-ASA:- 5-aminosalicylic acid
  • a:- before
  • A.M.:- morning
  • aa:- of each
  • AAA:- abdominal aortic aneurysm (called a “triple-A”)
  • AAA:- apply to affected area
  • ac:- before meals
  • achs:- before meals and at bedtime
  • AD:- right ear
  • ad lib:- freely; as much as desired
  • ad sat.:- to saturation
  • ad.:- to; up to
  • ALT:- alanine aminotransferase
  • alt.:- alternate
  • alt. h.:- every other hour
  • am, A.M.:- in the morning; before noon
  • amp:- ampule
  • amt.:- amount
  • ant.:- anterior
  • ante:- before
  • ap:- before dinner
  • APAP:- acetaminophen
  • aPTT:- activated partial thromboplastin
  • AQ, aq:- water
  • a.s., AS:- left ear
  • ASA:- aspirin
  • AST:- aspartate aminotransferase
  • ATC:- around the clock
  • AU:- each ear; both ears
  • AZT:- zidovudine
  • Ba:- barium
  • BCP:- birth control pills
  • Bi:- bismuth
  • bid, BID:- twice a day
  • BM:- bowel movement
  • BMI:- body mass index
  • bol:- bolus
  • BP:- blood pressure
  • BPH:- benign prostatic hypertrophy
  • BS:- blood sugar
  • BSA:- body surface area
  • BT:- bedtime
  • c:- with
  • C.C.:- chief complaint
  • c/o:- complaints of
  • C&S:- culture and sensitivity
  • CABG:- coronary artery bypass graft
  • CaCO3:- calcium carbonate
  • CAD:- coronary artery disease
  • CAP:- cancer of the prostate
  • cap.:- capsule
  • CBC:- complete blood count
  • cc:- cubic centimeter
  • CD:- controlled delivery
  • CF:- cystic fibrosis
  • cm:- centimeter
  • CNS:- central nervous system
  • conc:- concentrated
  • CPZ:- Compazine
  • CR:- controlled-release
  • cr, crm:- cream
  • CV:- cardiovascular
  • CXR:- chest x-ray
  • D/C, dc, disc.:- discontinue OR discharge
  • D5/0.9 NaCl:- 5% dextrose and normal saline solution (0.9% NaCl)
  • D5 1/2/NS:- 5% dextrose and half normal saline solution (0.45% NaCl)
  • D5NS:- dextrose 5% in normal saline (0.9%)
  • D5W:- 5% dextrose in water
  • DAW:- dispense as written
  • DBP:- diastolic blood pressure
  • dil.:- diluted
  • disp:- dispense
  • div:- divide
  • DKA:- diabetic ketoacidosis
  • dL:- deciliter
  • DM:- diabetes mellitus
  • DO:- Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
  • DOB:- date of birth
  • DPT:- diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus
  • DR:- delayed-release
  • DVT:- deep vein thrombosis
  • DW:- dextrose in water, diabetes mellitus or distilled water
  • EC:- enteric-coated
  • EENT:- Eye, Ear, Nose, and Throat
  • elix.:- elixir
  • emuls.:- emulsion
  • ER:- extended-release
  • ER:- emergency room
  • ETOH:- ethyl alcohol
  • F:- Fahrenheit
  • f or F:- female
  • FBS:- fasting blood sugar
  • FDA:- Food and Drug Administration
  • Fe:- Iron
  • FFP:- fresh frozen plasma
  • fl or fld:- fluid
  • ft:- foot
  • G, or g, or gm:- gram
  • garg:- gargle
  • GERD:- gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • GI:- gastrointestinal
  • gr.:- grain
  • GTT:- glucose tolerance test
  • gtt, gtts:- drop, drops
  • GU:- genitourinary
  • guttat.:- drop by drop
  • h, or hr.:- hour
  • h/o:- history of
  • H&H:- hematocrit and hemoglobin
  • H2:- histamine 2
  • H20:- water
  • HAART:- highly active antiretroviral therapy
  • HCT, or Hct:- hematocrit
  • HCT:- hydrocortisone
  • HCTZ:- hydrochlorothiazide
  • HR:- heart rate
  • HS:- half-strength
  • hs or HS:- at bedtime, hours of sleep
  • HTN:- hypertension
  • hx:- history
  • IBW:- ideal body weight
  • ID:- intradermal OR infectious disease
  • IJ:- injection
  • IM:- intramuscular
  • IN:- intranasal
  • inf:- infusion
  • inj.:- injection
  • instill.:- instillation
  • IP:- intraperitoneal
  • IR:- immediate-release
  • IU:- international unit
  • IUD:- intrauterine device
  • IV:- intravenous
  • IVP:- intravenous push
  • IVPB:- intravenous piggyback
  • J:- joule
  • K:- potassium
  • KOH:- potassium hydroxide
  • L:- liter
  • LA:- long-acting
  • lab:- laboratory
  • lb.:- pound
  • LDL:- low-density lipoprotein
  • LFT:- liver function tests
  • Li:- lithium
  • liq.:- liquid
  • LMP:- Last menstrual period
  • lot:- lotion
  • LPN:- licensed practical nurse
  • LR:- lactated ringer (solution)
  • mane:- in the morning
  • mcg:- microgram
  • MD:- medical doctor
  • MDI:- metered-dose inhaler
  • mEq:- milliequivalent
  • mEq/L:- milliequivalent per liter
  • Mg:- magnesium
  • mg:- milligram
  • MgSO4:- magnesium sulfate
  • mL:- milliliter
  • mm:- millimeter
  • mm of Hg:- millimeters of mercury
  • mMol:- millimole
  • MMR:- measle-mumps-rubella (vaccine)
  • mol wt:- molecular weight
  • MR:- modified-release
  • MS:- morphine sulfate or magnesium sulfate
  • MSO4:- morphine sulfate
  • n or noct.:- in the night
  • N/A:- not applicable
  • N/V, N&V:- nausea and vomiting
  • Na:- sodium
  • NAS:- intranasal
  • NDC:- National Drug Code
  • NGT:- nasogastric tube
  • NH3:- ammonia
  • NKA:- no known allergies
  • NKDA:- no known drug allergies
  • noct. maneq.:- night and morning
  • NP:- nurse practitioner
  • NPO, n.p.o.:- nothing by mouth
  • NS:- normal saline
  • NSAID:- the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug
  • NTE:- not to exceed
  • O2:- oxygen
  • OC:- oral contraceptive
  • o.d., OD:- right eye
  • o.d.:- once per day
  • OJ:- orange juice
  • OM:- otitis media
  • o.s., OS:- left eye
  • OTC:- over-the-counter
  • o.u., OU:- both eyes
  • oz:- ounce
  • p:- after
  • p.r.n., prn:- as needed
  • PA:- physician assistant
  • pc:- after meals
  • PCA:- patient-controlled analgesia
  • PE:- physical exam, pulmonary embolism
  • per:- by or through
  • per neb:- by nebulizer
  • per os:- by mouth, orally
  • PFT:- pulmonary function tests
  • pH:- hydrogen ion concentration
  • PharmD:- Doctor of Pharmacy
  • PM:- evening
  • PMH:- Past medical history
  • PO, p.o.:- orally or by mouth
  • PR, p.r.:- per the rectum
  • PT:- prothrombin time
  • PTT:- Partial thromboplastin time
  • pulv:- powder
  • PV:- per the vagina
  • q:- every
  • q.s., qs:- as much as needed; a sufficient quantity
  • q12h:- every 12 hours
  • qd, q1d:- daily
  • q2h:- every 2 hours
  • q3h:- every 3 hours
  • q4h:- every 4 hours
  • q6h:- every 6 hours
  • q6PM, etc:- every evening at 6 PM
  • q8h:- every 8 hours
  • qam:- every morning
  • qd, QD:- every day
  • qh:- every hour
  • qhs:- each night at bedtime
  • qid:- four times a day
  • qn:- Nightly or at bedtime
  • qod, QOD, q.o.d:- every other day
  • q.s. ad:- add sufficient quantity to make
  • RA:- rheumatoid arthritis
  • RDA:- recommended daily allowances
  • RE:- right eye
  • rep:- repeats
  • RN:- registered nurse
  • RPh:- pharmacist
  • Rx:- prescription
  • s:- without
  • s.o.s.:- if necessary
  • sa:- according to the art; best practice
  • SA:- sustained action
  • SBP:- systolic blood pressure
  • SID:- Used ONLY in Veterinary medicine to mean “once daily”
  • sig codes:- medical or prescription abbreviations
  • Sig.:- write on the label
  • SL, s.l.:- sublingual, under the tongue
  • SNRI:- serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor
  • SOB:- shortness of breath
  • sol:- solution; in solution
  • sp gr:- specific gravity
  • SQ, SC, sub q:- subcutaneously
  • SR:- sustained release
  • ss:- sliding scale (insulin) OR 1/2 (apothecary; obsolete)
  • SSI:- Sliding scale insulin
  • SSRI:- sliding scale regular insulin OR selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor
  • stat:- immediately
  • STD:- sexually transmitted diseases
  • sup.:- superior
  • surf.:- superficial
  • supp:- suppository
  • susp:- suspension
  • syr.:- syrup
  • T:- temperature
  • tab:- tablet
  • tbsp:- tablespoon
  • TIA:- transient ischemic attack
  • TID, t.i.d.:- three times a day
  • tid ac:- three times a day before meals
  • TIN, t.i.n.:- three times a night
  • tinct., tr:- tincture
  • TIW, tiw:- 3 times a week
  • top.:- topical
  • TO:- telephone order
  • TPN:- total parenteral nutrition
  • TR:- timed-release
  • troche:- lozenge
  • TSH:- thyroid-stimulating hormone
  • tsp:- teaspoon
  • Tx:- treatment
  • U or u:- unit
  • UA:- urinalysis
  • ud, ut dict, UD:- as directed
  • ung:- ointment
  • UTI:- urinary tract infection
  • vag, PV:- via the vagina
  • VLDL:- very low-density lipoprotein
  • vol %:- volume percent
  • vol.:- volume
  • w/o:- without
  • w/v:- weight in volume
  • WBC:- white blood cell
  • WNL:- within normal limits
  • wt.:- weight
  • x:- multiplied by
  • XL:- extended-release
  • XR:- extended-release
  • XT:- extended-release
  • yo:- years old
  • yr:- year
  • Zn:- zinc
  • μEq:- micro equivalent
  • μg, mcg:- microgram
  • μL:- microliter


We hope we have cleared up the explanation of common usage of the medical abbreviation “QHS”. We know that it can be constraining trying to decode “doctor voice”.


What Does Qhs Mean In Pharmacy?
Derived From Latin, Quaque Die. Q.H.S. Every Day At Bedtime. Derived From Latin, Quaque Hora Somni. Q.I.D.
What Does Bedtime Mean In Medical Terms?
At Bedtime Or Half Strength. Hora Somni.