Online pill identification tools assist in the identification of tablets and capsules, according to Drugs.com. Enter the size, shape, color or unique imprint of the medication as search terms, and the tool provides photographs of potential matches for comparison.
The Food and Drug Administration requires that all approved prescription drugs, over-the-counter oral medications, and biological and homeopathic products carry a unique imprint, reports Drugs.com. This imprint is something identifiable: the manufacturer's name, a logo or monogram, a symbol, or a combination of letters and numbers. Solid oral tablets and capsules lacking such an imprint are potentially vitamins, supplements, drugs manufactured outside the United States or illegal drugs. It is also possible that an unmarked capsule is a new drug that doesn't yet have FDA approval.
It is possible learn multiple facts about a medication by using a pill identification tool to search with the medication's national drug code. This code is a unique, 10-digit number found on the packaging or insert of all prescription and over-the-counter drugs sold in the United States, notes Drugs.com. In addition to verifying a drug's physical appearance, such a search assists the user in finding the drug's active ingredients, strength, and manufacturer or distributor. This is useful for law enforcement and health care professionals who need to identify drugs quickly and for patients who have mixed up their medications.