Do you know what QHS means? Let’s explore its uses & examples.

Are you confused about what your doctor wrote on the prescription or cannot easily understand the abbreviated form written on the medication? So welcome, this article is for you.


QHS Medical Abbreviation:

So basically, QHS is a medical term. QHS is an abbreviated form of the Latin word “QUAQUE HORA SOMNI,” which means “every night at bedtime.” Doctors use this shorthand to prevent them from writing out the full text. QHS may sound like a way for doctors and pharmacists to confuse patients, but luckily this is not the aim. Moreover, the pharmacist will give you free support to portray these abbreviations and put them into simple, easily understandable words.

Medical prescription abbreviations look like some scratches are scrawled on the prescription by the doctor; it can be confusing for healthcare providers, too.

What is the Meaning of QHS?

The simplest way to understand QHS is to break it down.

The “Q” comes from the Latin word “QAQUE,” which means each or every.

On the other hand, “HS” comes from the Latin word “HORA SOMNI,” which means bedtime.

So when you put them together, QHS means “every night at bedtime.”

How doctors use it

Doctors need to communicate faster but accurately because they have to see other patients also. So they can use “QHS” terms in their prescription to speak with the pharmacist quickly.

The doctors must also mention the medicine dosage, the frequency (how many times), the duration of medicine intake, and what time of the day to take the medicine.

The last part of these questions is the answer to “QHS.”

You can easily understand QHS by this example; let’s assume your doctor prescribed you Alprazolam, a sleeping medicine. They want to let the pharmacist know this medication needs to be taken at bedtime. So the doctor writes out the prescription that reads:

“Alprazolam 0.5mg.Take one tab QHS”

When the pharmacist sees this prescription, they should know the category of medication to prescribe, the dosage and, instruct you the time to take it (“QHS” or at bedtime).

Doctor’s advice to take medicine at bedtime

The doctors usually prescribe the medicine at bedtime because it simply works better at night.

For example, certain medications such as sleeping pills have a side effect of drowsiness. If taken at the time of the day, it may slow you down from your work throughout the day. But if you take it at night, you can complete your sleep and have a fresh start the next day.

So, taking a particular medication at night works better.

Here are some examples of certain medications that are useful to take at the time before you go to bed-

1. Sleep medications:

Sleep medications work better if you take them at bedtime, It is no wonder. In fact, taking them at the wrong time may result in slowing down your work for the entire day, or you can fall asleep when you don’t want to.

Common medications that come into this category are trazodone(Desyrel), Zolpidem (Ambien, Edluar), Alprazolam (trica), eszopiclone, etc.

2. Blood pressure medications:

Taking your blood pressure medication at bedtime may be more effective in reducing your risk of illness or death due to heart attack and blood vessel disease.

Here are some common medications for blood pressure are Benazepril hydrochloride(Lotensin), Enalapril Maleate (Vasotec), Lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), Moexipril (Univasc), Perindopril (Aceon), etc.

3. Mood medications:

Your doctor or psychiatrist may prescribe certain medications that help make your mood good that can have a side effect of drowsiness. You can take these meds at bedtime; it may help to reduce this type of side effect.

Common mood stabilizers are lithium (Lithobid), valproic acid (Depakene), divalproex sodium (Depakote), carbamazepine (Tegretol, Equetro, others) and lamotrigine (Lamictal).

4. High cholesterol medications:

Cholesterol medications are better to be taken at night. At night there is more chance of heart attacks, strokes. So taking them at night lowers “bad cholesterol” levels and reduces the chances of heart attacks at night.

Usually, these medicines (statin medications) consist of atorvastatin, rosuvastatin, pravastatin and lovastatin.

Here are some commonly abbreviated terms used in medical prescription

a: before

A.M.: morning

aa: of each

ac: before meals

achs: before meals and at bedtime

am, A.M.: Ante Meridiem; in the morning; before noon

ante: before

ap: before dinner

bid, BID: bis in die; twice a day

BT: bedtime

c: cum; with(bar on the top of C)

CBC: complete blood count

D/C, dc, disc.: discontinue OR discharge

gtt(s): gutta(e);drop(s)

h,hr: hora;hour

NS: normal saline

NTE: not to exceed

o.d., OD: Oculus Dexter; right eye

o.d.: once per day

o.s., OS: Ocular Sinister; left eye

o.u., OU: Oculus Uterque; both eyes

p: after

p.c.: after meals

p.m.: post meridiem; evening

PMH: Past medical history

q.s., qs: as much as needed; a sufficient quantity

q12h: every 12 hours

q2h: every 2 hours

q3h: every 3 hours

q4h: every 4 hours

q6h: every 6 hours

q6PM, etc.: every evening at 6 PM

q.s. ad: add sufficient quantity to make

RDA: recommended daily allowance

RE: right eye

sig codes: medical or prescription abbreviations

Sig.: write on the label

T: temperature

tab: tablet

tbsp: tablespoon

TIN, t.i.n.: three times a night

Tsp.: teaspoon

UA: urinalysis

w: with

w/o: without


So at the end, you can see that these Medical Abbreviations are not so difficult to understand. They may seem like encrypted code, but nothing to worry about. In fact, what you see in the prescription is nothing but your “doctor’s voice.”

Read Also: What is Molar Mass? – Definition, Formula & Examples

Here are some FAQs related to QHS:

Q. What is QHS?

Ans: QHS is an abbreviation used in medical prescriptions. However, QHS is the Latin word “Quaque Hora Somni” which means “every night at bedtime.”

Q. Are QH and QHS the same?

Ans: QH is an abbreviation of Qaque Hora which means every hour and QHS means every night at bedtime.

Q. What is the medical term for QHS?

Ans: QHS is derived from the Latin word Quaque Hora Somni or every day at bedtime.

Q. What is the difference between abbreviations q.d, q.o.d and, q.i.d in medical prescription?

Ans: In medical prescription q.o.d means every other day, q.d means every day and, q.i.d means four times a day which is a little bit confusing.

Q. What are the other abbreviated forms used in medical prescription?

Ans: QHS, Q4H, BID are frequently used abbreviated forms in medical prescription.

Q. How many times is QHS?

Ans: QH means every hour where Q4H means every 4 hours and so on.

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