When people think about medications, these are usually broken up into two separate categories. The first is called an over the counter drug, which is often shortened to OTC. The second is called a prescription drug. It is important for people to know the difference between these two classes of medications because everyone needs to know what they are putting in their bodies.
An Overview of OTC Drugs
First, it is important to take a look at OTC drugs. These are medications that can be purchased at a pharmacy or grocery store without requiring a prescription from a doctor. One of the most common is Tylenol, which is an anti-inflammatory medication that is used to treat pain and fever. Motrin falls into the same category. There are also creams and lotions that people can purchase OTC without requiring a prescription. Some lotions are just meant to moisten the skin. Other types of lotions might be used to treat rashes or kill infections, such as Neosporin.
There is a common misconception that OTC drugs are not dangerous; however, this is not true. Everyone needs to follow the instructions on the package. An overdose of Tylenol can lead to liver problems while an overdose of Motrin can lead to kidney issues.
Prescription Drugs Are Different
In contrast, prescription drugs require a prescription from a doctor in order for someone to take. The reason why a prescription is required is that these medications are powerful and can lead to serious side effects. As a result, people should only take them under the supervision of a doctor. One of the most common types of prescription drugs is antibiotics, which are used to kill infections. Another common type of prescription drug is pain medicine, such as Vicodin, which can be addictive. For these reasons, everyone must follow their doctors’ orders when they are taking any medication that requires a prescription. Overdoses and side effects could lead to serious medical and health consequences.
Know the Difference Between the Two Drug Classes
This is a brief overview of the differences between over the counter (OTC) drugs and prescription medications. It is critical for people to remember that just because a drug might be available OTC does not mean that it is not dangerous. Everyone should speak with their doctor before taking any medications, particularly if they are already taking something. In addition, supplements can interact with these drugs as well. It is important for everyone to be safe when they are taking medications of any kind.