I am a health care staff and on our unit everything is computerised. So when doctors prescribe it goes up on the program. However, there was this prescription that suddenly stopped on the program. So I asked the doctor if they had discontinued the medication as the medication had “come off” the program. They understood what I meant though, in fact I’ve heard others use “fall off”. Is “come off” alright to use in this case?

  • 1
    As you mention it being computerised, there's a difference between a computer program, and a plan-of-action program(me) (Programme in UK, Program in US). It's unclear to me whether you're talking about it being removed from the computer program, or a patients programme of medicine (prescription) - Did it come off a patients prescription, or was it removed from the computer program?
    – Smock
    Sep 6, 2019 at 10:14
  • When doctors prescribe a medication, it goes on the patient's record(s). "up on the program" is not right here. What do you mean: this prescription stopped?? Do you mean: The prescription ran out or expired. Prescriptions have time limits., Unless they don't (for example: insulin). That is the usual lingo here. A doctor could, of course, take a patient off a drug or prescription. In which case, it no longer appears in the list of medications the patient takes. Or the program might have dropped the prescription by mistake. It's a really good idea to get a handle on this lingo.
    – Lambie
    Mar 19 at 16:47

1 Answer 1


In the context you describe 'fall off' and 'come off' have the same meaning.

Their connotations are not quite identical, however. Consider the example of someone on a mailing list. If they do not respond to mail shots from that source, it is quite possible that their name will be removed from the mailing list. That is, they 'fall off' the list, not so much as against their will but regardless of it.

But if they had subscribed to the mailing list for x months, then, at the end of that period, they could be said to have 'come off' the list, in that case, as they had presumably planned to do.

  • Yes, I think the problem with "come off" is not its meaning, but its vagueness. You want to provide useful information and if you say "it's come off", the first question will be "why?"
    – Stuart F
    Mar 19 at 16:08

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