What is the difference between prescription drugs and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs?
Prescription medicines are:
- Prescribed by a doctor;
- Bought only at a pharmacy;
- Prescribed for and used by only one person.
Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are:
- Drugs that do NOT require a doctor's prescription, such as aspirin, antacids, or vitamins;
- Can be purchased by anyone at any store.
Both prescription and OTC medicines are carefully approved and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Whether you are taking a prescription or OTC medicine, you should:
- Read the label carefully;
- Understand how to take the medicine;
- Only take the recommended amount at the right times.
If you have questions about any type of medicine or treatment, you should ask your pharmacist or doctor.