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Difference Between Prescription and Over the Counter Drugs

Prescription vs Over the Counter Drugs

Prescription and Over the counter drugs are two terms which show a lot of differences between them. One of the main differences between the two is that over the counter drugs are meant generally for curing minor ailments and diseases such as headache, stomach ache, body pain, cold and the like. All you have to do is approach a pharmacist and request a medication by citing your health problem.

On the other hand general prescription is intended for curing major ailments related to kidneys, liver, heart and the like. General prescription may be given sometimes after admission to a hospital. In many cases of course the patient has to visit a doctor to get general prescription. On the other hand a person does not visit a physician in the case of over the counter drugs.

Over the counter drugs, however, is not considered a good and healthy practice. Drugs given by general prescription are formulated and cannot be used in an unauthorized way. On the other hand over the counter drugs are formulated as safe and effective. Food and Drug Administration or FDA authorizes the use of the over the counter drugs.

Over the counter drugs are however not dangerous if you follow the instructions regarding their use. It is generally believed that over the counter drugs are inexpensive when compared to the general prescription drugs. The drug companies can price their medicines to suit general prescription. On the other hand over the counter drugs are sometimes prescribed by the physicians too if they are really good and effective accompanied by limited number of side effects.

Over the counter drugs are normally available even at outlets other than pharmacies. A prescription drug on the contrary is available only in a pharmacy. These are the main differences between general prescription and over the counter drugs.


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