Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Balance

Font Size
A
A
A

Pharmacy and Medication Tips

All medications sold in the U.S. can be divided into two categories:

  • Prescription drugs that require a prescription to be sold
  • Nonprescription or over-the-counter drugs that do not require a prescription from a doctor

Prescription drugs are generally more potent than those sold over-the-counter (OTC) and may have more serious side effects if inappropriately used. Therefore, these medications are only sold under a doctor's direction. These directions are written on a prescription by your doctor, then double-checked, packaged, and sold to you by a pharmacist. Your pharmacist will also counsel you on how to use your medication and the drug's potential side effects.

Recommended Related to Mind, Body, Spirit

6 Inspiring Female Bloggers

By Anna DaviesCreating a blog is more than just flinging your diary open for the world to see. A blog can bring you a circle of friends, an amazing sense of confidence, and a safe space to discover who you truly are. Read on as six women tell how blogging changed their lives, and let them inspire you to find your own virtual village.

Read the 6 Inspiring Female Bloggers article > >

You should use only one pharmacy to fill your prescriptions. That way, you will have a single, complete source for all of your medications. The pharmacist will be more likely to pick up potential interactions among them and contact your doctor if needed. This applies to OTC as well as prescription drugs.

When you fill your prescription at the pharmacy, make sure to do the following:

  • Your pharmacist must have the same information as your doctor regarding your medications and past reactions you have had (again, no reaction is too trivial to bring up).
  • If there are children in the home, make sure to ask for child-resistant lids.
  • If no children are in the household, your pharmacist may be able to provide you with easier opening lids. If you have children visiting, put the medication out of their reach.
  • If the medication is a liquid, get a measuring device with the prescription -- usually a measuring teaspoon or a medical syringe. Don't trust the volume of your home teaspoon or your ability to guess.
  • Find out how the medication should be stored. Most people leave their medications in their bathroom medicine cabinet. This is arguably the worst place in the house for pills, because the humidity in a bathroom can make them break down more easily. Other drugs need to be refrigerated. Find out about yours before you leave the drug store.
  • Before you leave the pharmacy, also check to make sure the medication you are given matches your doctor's prescription. Look at the directions for taking the medication. Do these match what the doctor told you? Ask the pharmacist any questions you have.
  • If you accidentally use a medication or a substance not meant for you, call the Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222 or call 911. Keep these numbers handy in case of an emergency.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Arnold Jay Haysman, RPh on October 23, 2015

Today on WebMD

woman in yoga class
6 health benefits of yoga.
beautiful girl lying down of grass
10 relaxation techniques to try.
 
mature woman with glass of water
Do you really need to drink 8 glasses of water a day?
coffee beans in shape of mug
Get the facts.
 
Take your medication
Slideshow
Hand appearing to hold the sun
Article
 
Hungover man
Slideshow
Welcome mat and wellington boots
Slideshow
 
Woman worn out on couch
Article
Happy and sad faces
Quiz
 
Fingertip with string tied in a bow
Article
laughing family
Quiz