What is the meaning of Rx, Nrx and XRx?

This is related to pharmacology and pharmacy. Generally, prescriptions written by doctors have these symbols at the beginning.


  • It actually comes from the word ‘Recipere’, meaning prepare.
  • In medieval times, pharmacists used to make drugs and doctors would just write down the components and amounts to be needed and send the patients to the pharmacists with the prescription. The pharmacist would then prepare the drug as per the doctor’s instruction and give it to the patient with the proper drug regimen.
  • Now, pharmacists do not prepare drugs, but rather dispense them. So Rx signifies the drugs in schedule H & H1 non-narcotic drugs, which means they can only be obtained by producing a prescription and not over-the-counter.


  • The extra N prefix means the drug in the prescription has narcotic properties and is addictive.
  • This also means that the prescription needs to be filled and signed every time by a doctor and the drug cannot be obtained if the prescription doesn’t contain a recent date.


  • This means the prescription contains a Narcotic and Psychotropic drug.
  • So the drug retailer has to save a copy of the prescription for 2 years and has to produce them on any enquiry on court order.


Nowadays these are not commonly used. Doctors usually write ‘Adv’ means ‘Advice’ and then write the drugs. It’s the duty of the pharmacist to determine what drug is given and document it for future legal evidence.


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