Is There an Easy Way to Identify Medications?


Quick Answer

An online pill identifier tool can be used to identify medications by entering the imprint information found on the pill, as well as searching by the color and shape of the medication, according to Drugs.com. Individuals can obtain information by searching under drug name and national drug code, or NDC.

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Is There an Easy Way to Identify Medications?
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Full Answer

All oral medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the United States are required to bear a unique imprint, reports Drugs.com. This requirement pertains to all prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as to biological and homeopathic drug products, unless clearly exempted in the FDA Code of Federal Regulations 206.7. The imprint can be a single letter or number, a combination of both, or a company name, logo or monogram. Individuals searching online using the drug’s imprint along with the size, shape and color of the pill are able to determine the active ingredients and strength of the medication, as well as the manufacturer. Some online pill identifiers offer a feature that allows searches by most popular imprints.

The NDC is a 10-digit code that identifies the labeler or manufacturer and provides the specific product details as well as the packaging information, explains Drugs.com. Pill identification allows patients to accurately determine information for a medication about which they may be unsure. It also assists law enforcement officials and health care providers. Pills without unique imprints may be vitamins or dietary supplements, unapproved new drugs, foreign medications, or illegal drugs.

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