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OTC vs. Prescription Drugs: What You Should Know

OTC vs. Prescription Drugs: What You Should Know

Have you ever tried buying medicine at a pharmacy but were not allowed to? Did the pharmacist tell you that a prescription is necessary before you can purchase it?

Some people might think that everybody knows about the differences between a prescription drug and an over-the-counter (OTC) medicine. Surprisingly, there are still people who cannot understand why a doctor’s signature is needed before they can buy a certain medicine.

Do you know their differences?

  • Necessity of Prescription

    First, prescription medicines can only be purchased when there is a prescription by a doctor. When buying at a physical retail pharmacy in North Carolina, we would need to bring the original prescription signed by the doctor. If ordering online, we would require you to send a copy of the prescription by the doctor to the pharmacy, then a system would check whether it is legitimate or not.

    On the other hand, as the term implies, OTC drugs could be bought in any pharmacy in Huntersville, North Carolina without the need of prescription. The distribution of this type of medicine is not as strictly regulated as prescription drugs. It could easily be purchased.

  • Availability

    Prescription drugs can only be bought in pharmacies. These drugs are heavily regulated and thus, may only be regulated by licensed pharmaceutical companies like Lakeside Pharmacy.

    Meanwhile, OTC drugs are available even off-the-shelf in stores. We don’t need to visit a specialty pharmacy just to buy OTC medicines. In fact, these are readily available at supermarkets, convenience stores, and grocery stores.

  • Person to Take the Medicine

    Medicines that are allowed to be bought only with prescription are intended for a single person. The person who shall take the drug should be the same individual who has been diagnosed for a specific ailment. Since these type of medicines are invented to target and treat a definite medical diagnosis, only those who need them can buy them.

    Contrariwise, OTCs are the drugs which treat self-diagnosed sickness like colds, headaches, allergies, and flu. They treat common illnesses so they are less likely misused. Thus, the government allows its purchase even without the prescription.

Despite these differences, we should always research or ask questions from the pharmacists about the product we buy. For instance, if we buy an over-the-counter pain reliever in an independent pharmacy, we shall make it a point to ask its dosage, mode of administration, and possible side effects.

We should ask the same inquiries when buying prescription medicines like sleep medications and maximize the pharmaceutical services of a drugstore. Be mindful of your health and always make sure that you know what you are taking inside your body!

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