Avoid abbreviations whenever possible. Don't use the abbreviation if it only appears once, unless it's more commonly used than the full term (see below for examples).

Define each abbreviation the first time you use it in a section. For example, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).

Don't use full stops in abbreviations (US, NHS), contractions (Ms, Dr) or initials (Dr HJ Baker).

Many common abbreviations are better known than what they stand for, so they don't need to be defined (in fact, to define them may make things less clear!).

Don't define:

  • UK

  • US

  • NHS

  • GP

  • BNF

  • DNA

  • MRI

  • CT

  • AIDS

  • HIV

  • USB

  • UV

  • IgA, IgD, IgG and IgM.

This list is not exhaustive. Use common sense and think about what the user is likely to be familiar with.

Use the US to refer to the country, not America or the USA.

Don't use NICE-specific abbreviations (use technology appraisal, guideline committee, appraisal consultation document; not TA, GC, ACD).

Don't use e.g., i.e. or etc.Use for example, such as, that is and so on.