Pharmaceutical Calculations

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Last modified 16/06/2015

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CHAPTER 2 Pharmaceutical Calculations


Summary of conversion between metric, apothecaries’ and avoirdupois systems:

Note that in the apothecaries’ and avoirdupois systems there is only one common unit of measure, the grain. The other measurement units carry different values when comparing the systems. When converting between the two, the pharmacist should convert the value down to the grain amount in the one system, then convert to the other system.

Per the United States Pharmacopeia, 1 grain = 64.8 mg.




kilo- 103 1 thousand (1000) times the basic unit
hecto- 102 1 hundred (100) times the basic unit
deka- 10 1 ten (10) times the basic unit
deci- 10−1 1 tenth (0.1) times the basic unit
centi- 10−2 1 hundredth (0.01) times the basic unit
milli- 10−3 1 thousandth (0.001) times the basic unit
micro- 10−6 1 millionth times the basic unit
nano- 10−9 1 billionth times the basic unit
pico- 10−12 1 trillionth times the basic unit

For females


If the individual is obese or not within 30% of their ideal body weight, other methods of calculating creatinine clearance should be used. Ideal body weight (IBW) or adjusted body weight (ideal body weight plus 40% of obese weight) instead of actual body weight in the Cockcroft-Gault equation will provide a better estimate of creatinine clearance.



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