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Difference Between MG and MCG

Difference Between MG and MCG

MG vs. MCG

The terms “mg” and “mcg” are both abbreviations for small units of measurement in the metric system. The term “mg” stands for the measurement of “milligrams,” while “mcg” stands for “micrograms.” Both units are used to measure an object’s mass and to indicate an object’s weight.

With reference to other units of measurement, a mcg is equal to .001 mg. This implies that the microgram is smaller compared to a milligram. A microgram is a millionth of a gram, and it is the one of the smallest units of measurement, frequently used in microbiology tests, specifically in measurements for antibiotics like penicillin, oxacillin, and others. A microgram is expressed as (μg) in usage.

On the other hand, the milligram is the long form of the abbreviation “mg.” One mg is equal to 1000 micrograms. This means that a milligram is 1000 times bigger than a microgram. Moreover, a milligram is a thousandth of a gram. The milligram is the more frequently used unit of measurement due to its bigger size. It is also the unit of measurement used on food labels for indicating the breakdown of vitamins and minerals and other nutritional values in a food product.

Milligrams and micrograms can be converted interchangeably. To convert a microgram to a milligram, the value of the microgram should be divided by 1,000. To do the reverse, the milligram should be multiplied by 1,000. Conversion between two units is easier in the metric system where both milligram and microgram belong, because the system is based on powers of ten.

Both standard units of measurement are very vital, especially in pharmaceutical or drug dosages. Each unit of dosage can contribute to the quantity and potency of the drug. A patient can suffer from drug underdose or overdose if the amount of the dosage of the prescription or over-the-counter drug is wrong or misinterpreted. The same is applicable when a person takes supplements or other forms of medication. A proper understanding of the dosage requirements can help prevent medication errors and unwanted side effects.

The two units are also used in scientific experiments when there is a need for exact and minute measurements. As units of measurements, they are often used to cite measurements in scientific literature.

Tools to measure micrograms and milligrams are microgram balances and milligram balances, respectively. These instruments are very useful in providing the exact weight and amount for a specific and particular activity. A scientific or pharmaceutical lab usually has these instruments to get immediate but accurate readings of a particular substance’s weight, either in milligrams or in micrograms. Most models of these milligram and microgram balances are constructed to provide precise amounts of substances.


1.Both milligrams and micrograms use grams as the basis of measurement and belong to the metric system. The main difference between them is the prefix before “gram.” The “micro” prefix indicates a smaller value, while the “milli” prefix denotes a larger value.
2.Both milligrams and micrograms are standard units of measurement for smaller quantities. They are often used in measuring drug dosages as well as samples in scientific experiments.
3.A microgram is smaller than a milligram. The milligram is often the commonly used unit of measurement due to its larger size.
4.To convert the units from one another, either multiplication or division by 1,000 is required. To convert milligrams to micrograms, multiplication is used. The division process is used to convert from  micrograms to  milligrams.
5.The abbreviation symbol for mcg (μg) might need to be changed since a handwritten expression might lead to misinterpretation. The misinterpretation of the sign can lead to a 1,000 units underdose or overdose of the drug.

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