A physician writes the following order for a 35-year-old female patient being treated for depression: Vitamin D, 600 IU, PO once daily. The nurse questions the order for which of the following reasons?

IU not an accepted abbreviation.

Explanation

•IU is not an accepted abbreviation.

•IU for International Unit is on the Joint Commission's official "Do Not Use" abbreviation list. It can be easily confused with IV or 10, leading to possible medication errors. The requirement is to write "International Units" or to calculate the dose in micrograms or milligrams instead.

•Vitamins can be measured by International Units but also by micrograms. In this case, 600 IU of Vitamin D is equal to 15mcg.

•Other unapproved abbreviations include U for unit, QD and QOD or any version of it, trailing zeros or lack of leading zeros, MS (can mean magnesium sulfate or morphine sulfate), MSO4 and MgSO4 (which are easily confused for one another).

Incorrect options:

•PO is a common and accepted abbreviation.

•The order is specific enough about the administration time and frequency. "Once daily" is generally given in the morning unless otherwise indicated, but allows personal discretion about administration time when it is not time sensitive.

•The dose is not too high. 600 IU of Vitamin D is equal to 15mcg, which is the recommended RDA for adults, and a common supplement dosage.

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