Table 3.

Selected entries from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (2006) List of error-prone abbreviations, symbols and dose designations. Example errors that ‘… should NEVER be used when communicating medical information’ [their emphasis]. Reproduced with permission. Copyright © ISMP 2009.

dose designationsintended meaningmisinterpretationcorrection
trailing zero after decimal point (e.g. 1 • 0 mg)1 mgmistaken as 10 mg if the decimal point is not seendo not use trailing zeros for doses expressed in whole numbers
‘Naked’ decimal point (e.g. • 5 mg)0 • 5 mgmistaken as 5 mg if the decimal point is not seenuse zero before a decimal point when the dose is less than a whole unit
large doses without properly placed commas (e.g. 100000 units; 1000000 units)100, 000 units 1, 000, 000 units100000 has been mistaken as 10, 000 or 1, 000, 000; 1000000 has been mistaken as 100, 000use commas for dosing units at or above 1, 000, or use words such as 100 ‘thousand’ or 1 ‘million’ to improve readability