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What Does PRN…
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What Does PRN Medical Abbreviation Mean on My Prescription?

March 28, 2022

For laymen, medical abbreviations can be extremely confusing. And when it comes to medication, we all need to be careful. Understanding the meaning of PRN on your prescription from your orthopedic specialist and how it applies to you is crucial for your health, whether you’re suffering from migratory arthritis to foot tendonitis or anything in between. Knowledge is power! 

I’ve Seen the PRN Medical Abbreviation on My Prescription. What Exactly Does it Mean and How Will I Know?

PRN is an abbreviation for the Latin term pro re nata, and that means “as the thing is needed.” This means you may not take a certain medicine at a specific time but rather take it when you need it. 

Typically when given medication, you are instructed to take a specific dose and at certain times of the day. You’ll see those instructions on the prescription itself, as well as on the medicine bottle.

For example, if you take medication for a heart condition or diabetes, you must take those medications on a daily schedule in order for them to be effective.  

But with a PRN medication, such as a pain medication given to you after surgery, you’re instructed to take it only as necessary to diminish unwanted symptoms. You will likely see the PRN medical abbreviation on your prescription, but it will most likely be spelled out on the prescription bottle.

Will I Be Instructed by My Orthopedic Specialist About PRN Medications?

Absolutely! Even if you see the PRN medical abbreviation on your prescription, your orthopedic specialist will still discuss with you how you should take it and how to determine when you need it. You will be educated on how much of the medicine you can take within a certain time period when taking a  PRN medication.

What Does PRN Mean to Me?

It is important you fully understand your medications, including which are meant to be taken on a schedule and which are meant to be taken as needed. 

It is also important to understand and follow instructions. For example, you may need to take a PRN medication with food to avoid nausea and better help absorption. In addition, a PRN may cause drowsiness, so be aware of and follow all instructions.

It is also crucial to know when to call your doctor if you don’t feel the medication is working. When in doubt, always err on the side of caution and make the call. If you are unclear, never be afraid to ask your provider for further explanation. 

At Direct Orthopedic Care, Our Core Value Means Quality Care For You!

Direct Orthopedic Care, or DOC, provides immediate access to a team of board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons and pain management physicians, as well as specialty-trained physician assistants (PAs).

We are open 7 days a week and welcome walk-ins. Your education regarding medication matters to us, and we strive to provide you with all the knowledge you need for your health and safety. 

If you have questions regarding a PRN medication, please stop by or call our amazing providers today at 855-921-0799. Communication and patient education are of the utmost importance to us!

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