Medical Abbreviations QHS and QAM: Origin, Meaning and Uses

Table of Contents

Introduction: Medical Abbreviations QHS and QAM

One misconception about the use of medical abbreviations in health practice especially among patients is that doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other health workers use such only with the aim of keeping patients confused or to impress them.

This is far from the case. Medical abbreviations are just shorthands used by your healthcare giver to save time by preventing them from writing out the full meaning of such texts. In the course of reading this, you will find out why it is actually better to use these shorthands instead of writing the full meaning of such terms.

There are thousands of medical terms and medical abbreviations used by health workers to save time and reduce stress. The understanding of the meaning of these medical abbreviations will enhance communication and understanding in a healthcare setting whether you are the patient being treated or you are a health worker.

This post discusses two different medical abbreviations commonly used in the prescription of medications by doctors, nurses, or pharmacists.

The first is the q.h.s abbreviation and the second is the q.a.m abbreviation.

Medical Abbreviations QHS: Origin, Meaning and Uses

So you just had an appointment with your doctor and you saw him/her prescribe a medication for your illness and in the end, he/she scribbles q.h.s just after writing down the drug name.

And of course, you are meant to take this prescription to your pharmacist to dispense the appropriate medications to you and advise you on the right protocol to follow while taking the medications.

Ideally, for such prescriptions, you have no business interpreting such, it is the duty of the pharmacist to decipher whatever the doctor has written and put it to you in lay people’s terms for easy understanding.

Also, on the other hand, it was not the intention of your physician to intimidate you with his/her medical knowledge. It was all just to make his work faster and to save time to be used in attending to other patients.

So what does Qhs stand for?

QHS Medical Abbreviation: Origin/Etymology

Medical abbreviations Qhs is derived from three Latin words:

Quaque meaning Every

Hora meaning Night

Somni meaning At Bed Time

Put together, the Qhs medical abbreviation means Every Night At Bedtime.

The medical abbreviation qhs is mostly used in the prescription of medications that are to be taken at night just before a patient goes to bed.

What Does PO QHS Mean On A Prescription?

In some scenarios, doctors may make the medical abbreviation Qhs sound more complex on a prescription by adding a PO before Qhs. So what does PO QHS mean on a prescription?

The PO is the Latin abbreviation for Per Os, meaning By Mouth.

So in essence, what the doctor means is that the medication should be taken every night before bedtime by mouth (orally).

Also, Read: What Does Medical abbreviation NPO Mean?

How The QHS Medical Abbreviation Is Used

Medical abbreviations QHS and QAM
Q.h.s medical term

Medical Abbreviations QHS: Conditions For Use

In general, medical abbreviations are to be used strictly in a health care setting only as a means of communication between qualified healthcare givers.

It has been recorded that misunderstanding of prescriptions and administration of wrong medications or wrong prescriptions is one of the commonest causes of death and resistance to treatment globally.

Hence, care must be taken to ensure that the person who writes a prescription understands what he has in mind and that the person who is to interpret it also understands the meaning of the medical terms or abbreviations used.

In cases, where there is confusion or misunderstanding, there must be adequate communication and feedback `between the healthcare givers involved for confirmation of such.

QHS Medical Abbreviations: Why It Is Used

To understand the reason why some drugs are to be taken QHS, then you must understand the mechanism of action of such medications and the purpose for which such medication is administered.

For instance, some medications work better at night due to changes in the circadian rhythm. Also, others are taken as sleep pills.

Some other medications may have side effects that could interfere with your daily activities. For instance, it is not advisable to administer medication with a known side effect of drowsiness to someone who is planning to drive during the day.

Such medications are best taken at night before bedtime so that by morning, the side-effects must have been reduced and the patient will by then be able to carry on with normal daily activities.

When the pharmacist receives such prescriptions, he/she understands which medications to give depending on what is contained in the prescription.

Which Medications Are Best Taken Qhd?

1. Sleep Medications

It is not surprising that sleep medications are number one on this list due to the reasons explained above.

Imagine having a major exam to write and at the same time, you are on medications for insomnia. It would only be wise to take such medications at night when you want to retire for the day after your exams than taking them before you enter the exam hall.

Examples of common sleep medications include

  • Zolpidem (Ambien)
  • Melatonin
  • Eszopiclone
  • Trazodone

2. Medications For Treating High Cholesterol (Statins)

Statin is a general name used to classify drugs used in treating medical conditions characterized by the presence of high cholesterol in the blood.

When “bad cholesterol” accumulates in your blood vessels, it could lead to certain conditions like strokes, transient ischemic attacks, heart attacks, and other medical conditions.

The combination of statins and a healthy lifestyle is the mainstay of treatment of such conditions.

Common examples of statins include:

  • Lovastatin (Mevacor, Altocor)
  • Rosuvastatin (Crestor)
  • Pravastatin (Pravachol)
  • Atorvastatin (Lipitor)

3. Medications For Mood Disorders

Mood medications are those medications used in the treatment of mood disorders. They are commonly used in the field of psychiatry for patients suffering from such conditions.

One of the major side effects of mood medications is that they cause drowsiness. So in order to reduce the impact of such medications in the daytime activities of such patients, they are then prescribed at night before bedtime so as to keep the patients productive during the day.

Examples of mood medications are:

  • Mirtazapine (Remeron)
  • Olanzapine (Zyprexa)
  • Seroquel
  • Tradozone

4. Some Blood Pressure Medications

Some blood pressure medications have been proven to cause drowsiness and tiredness and are best taken before bedtime.

Examples are:

  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE)Inhibitors like; Enalapril maleate (Vasotec), Benazepril Hydrochloride (Lotensin).
  • Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARBs) Like; Irbesartan (Avapro)
  • Beta-Blockers like Metoprolol
  • Calcium Channel Blockers  

How blood Pressure In Measured In Clinic: Step by Step

Also Read

5. Allergy Medications

Many medications used to treat allergies are known to cause drowsiness and are best taken before bedtime.

Medical Abbreviations QAM: Origin Meaning and Uses

The Qam medical abbreviation is another one just like Qhs used to describe when a medication is to be taken.

Qam Medical Abbreviation: Etymology

The medical abbreviation Qam is also derived from Latin and it stands for:

Quaque meaning Every

A.M which is the normal abbreviation we use every day to describe the morning hours of the day. A.M is an abbreviation for Ante Meridiem which means Morning. So the medical abbreviations Qam is used to describe medications that are to be taken every morning.

How The QAM Medical Abbreviation Is Used

Just like the Qhs medical abbreviation, to understand why a medication is prescribed to be taken Qam, then you must also understand the mechanism of action of the medication and the reason for which such medication is prescribed.

Medications that are usually prescribed in the morning are those medications that may interrupt your sleep by causing you insomnia or restlessness at night. Also, some medications that enhance performance during daily activities are better taken in the morning time so that their effects can last throughout the day.

Which Medications Are Best Taken Qam?

Here are the classes of drugs that are best taken in the morning due to the aforementioned reasons:

1. Diuretics

Diuretics commonly known as water pills are those medications used in treating fluid overload in the body. They are best taken in the daytime because a good number of them cause the patient to urinate often, so taking them at that time could cause restlessness because the patient will have to wake up often to urinate.

Examples of drugs in this class are:

  • Chlorothiazide (Diuril)
  • Lozol (Indapamide)

2. Cortisol Containing Medications

These classes of medications are usually prescribed once daily depending on the type of illness. And the reason why it is best taken Qam is that morning hours of the day correspond to the time when the body produces its own cortisol (the circadian rhythm).

Also, cortisol-containing medications may cause difficulty in falling asleep and are best taken in the morning.

3. Other Medications Best taken In The Morning Include:


There are several other medical abbreviations used in the prescription of common medications. But at this point, we hope you now fully understand the reasons behind the medical abbreviations Qhs and Qam, their origin, and why they are used in health practice.

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What Do QAM and QHS Mean?

QAM is the Latin abbreviation for quaque hora somni meaning every night by bedtime. While Qam means quaque ante meridiem meaning every morning.

What Is the medical abbreviation for at bedtime?

The medical abbreviation for at bedtime also means the same as the medical abbreviations QHS

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