Health / Medications

How to Read a Prescription Label

Rx label

It’s important to know the different parts of your labels on your prescription bottles and what they mean, especially if you take multiple medications. All of this information will help you take your medications correctly and safely.

A. Your name and address
Always tell your pharmacy if your address (or your phone number) has changed.

B. Prescription date
This is the date you received the prescription from your doctor.

C. Medication name and strength
This is the name of the drug prescribed by your doctor. Unless otherwise specified by your doctor, you will receive the generic of the medication if there’s one available. (“IC” stands for interchangeable and refers to the brand name of your generic drug.)

D. Directions
Always take your medications as directed by your doctor. If you have questions, ask your doctor or the pharmacist.

E. Prescription number
The prescription number is specific to the pharmacy where it was filled. The “09” in this example means this is the ninth refill on the prescription. “C” for controlled substances and “N” for narcotics may appear before the number.

F. Quantity, refills, and fill date
The number of tablets dispensed (quantity), the number of refills remaining on this prescription, and the date the pharmacy filled the prescription and processed it through your health insurance.

G. Pharmacy contact information
This may also include the pharmacy’s phone number.

H. Auxiliary labels
These are extra precautions or general warnings you should know about your medication.