Common Units of Pharmacology Measurement

In your healthcare career you will need to convert units of measurement on a constant basis. For example, you may need to convert a newborn's weight in pounds to their weight in kilograms in order to calculate a  medication dose appropriate for their size, or convert from ounces to grams etc...  Pharmacology math requires the healthcare professional to know several systems of measurement (metric, household, apothecary, and avoirdupois) and how to convert within those systems of measurement. Below are some common conversion factors and quick tools to help you:

 

Common Pharmacology Abbreviations

c = cup gt = drop ml = milliliter
cc = cubic centimeters gtt = drops mm = millimeter
cm = centimeters in = inches oz = ounce
dr = drams kg = kilograms pt = pint
dss = 2 teaspoons L = liter qt = quart
ft = foot lb = pound tbsp = tablespoon
g = grams m = meter tsp = teaspoon
gal = gallon mcg = microgram u = unit
gl = glass mEq = milliquivalents  
gr = grains mg = milligrams  

Understanding Metric Prefixes

Prefixes are short names and letter symbols for numbers that are is attached to the front of a unit, without a space, to increase or decrease its size by some factor of 10. Below are some of the more commonly used units you will use in your practice. It will be easier to understand the conversion factors that follow once you know the meanings of the prefixes:

 

 

Metric Prefix

Numerical Value

U.S. Name

giga 1000000000 billion
mega 1000000 million
kilo 1000 thousand
hecto 100 hundred
deka 10 ten
 

1

One

deci 0.1

tenth

centi 0.01

hundredth

milli 0.001 thousandth
micro 0.000001 millionth
nano 0.000000001 billionth

Common Conversion Factors

 

1 kilogram (kg) 2.2 pounds (lb)
1 pound (lb) 454 grams (g or gm)
1 kilogram (kg) 1000 grams (g or gm)
1 gram (g or gm) 1000 milligrams (mg)
1 milligram (mg) 1000 micrograms (mcg)
1 gram (gm) 1 ml (milliliter) (ml)
1 cc (cubic centimeter) 1 ml (milliliter) 
1 inch (in) 2.54 centimeters (cm)
1 grain (gr) 60 mg (milligrams)
1 cup 240 ml (milliliter)
8 ounces (oz) 1 cup
16 ounces (oz) 1 pint (pt)
1 ounce (oz) 30 milliliter
1 teaspoon (tsp) 5 milliliter  
1 dram 4 milliliter
1 tablespoon ( T or tbs) 15 milliliter (ml)
2 tablespoons (T or tbs) 1 Ounce 
3 teaspoons (tsp) 1 tablespoon ( T or tbs)
1 teaspoon (tsp) 75 gtt (drops)
1 milliliter (ml) 16 minims 
1 milliliter (ml) 15 drops (gtt)
1 liter (L) 1000 ml (milliliter)
37.0 ° C (Centigrade degrees) 98.6° F (Fahrenheit degrees)



Mass Equivalents Conversion Tool
First, type the number you wish converted here:
Then, click radio buttons for desired conversion:
From: Kilograms

Grains

Troy Ounces
Avoirdupois Ounces*
Troy Pounds
Avoirdupois Pounds*
Short Tons
Long Tons
Metric Tons
To: Kilograms

Grains

Troy Ounces
Avoirdupois Ounces*
Troy Pounds
Avoirdupois Pounds*
Short Tons
Long Tons
Metric Tons

* Also known as Apothecary Ounces and Pounds

 

 

Length Converter Tool

1 select a length unit from the "From" dropdown list & one from the "To" dropdown list.
2 Enter a numeric value, and click "To" button.

 

From To
 
centimeters = 1 centimeters
 
Enter
1
 
   

 

     
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