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Understanding The Basic Difference Between OTC and Prescription Drugs


There is a general perception among the masses that OTC or Over-The-Counter medications are not harmful and thus can be taken by anybody because they are so easily available. This is a completely false idea!

To completely understand, we need to know the basic difference between Prescription and OTC drugs. Let us take a quick look:

Prescription Medications-

*         Drugs you cannot buy from any pharmacy store without a written prescription from a practicing medical professional like physician, surgeon or dentist.

*         These medications are usually more powerful or strong as compared to OTC drugs and are prescribed to treat some specific medical condition.

*         These medicines can only be used by the person intended for or prescribed to.

*         FDA regulated through the New Drug Application (NDA) process.

OTC Medications-

*         Medicines that can be bought from any pharmaceutical store without an official prescription from a medical professional.

*         These medications are usually safe provided the necessary directions and warnings are followed by the consumer.

*         These drugs are taken to treat medical conditions that can be self treated by patients, like antacids and mild pain killers.

*         However, these drugs can also be harmful if misused or when the patient is allergic to any chemical present in its composition.

*         OTC Drug Monographs are used by FDA to regulate Over-The-Counter medicines in USA.

It is critical to remember that OTC medicines can also be dangerous if proper dosage and intake instructions are not followed. Now that you know the fundamental difference between prescription and OTC medicines, you can easily classify your medicine list accordingly while buying medicines online from