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What are some methods for identifying pills?

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Quick Answer

Consumers, poison control centers and medical professionals use several attributes of pills to identify oral medications for sale in the United States, including color, shape, markings, imprint and size, according to Drugs.com. An imprint allows someone to link to an entry for a drug's ingredients, strength, dosage and manufacturer.

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What are some methods for identifying pills?
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Full Answer

For example, consumers input an imprint, and then they select a shape and color from drop-down menus, explains WebMD. Users then choose the most prominent color on the pill. If a drug has two colors of equal proportions, customers select one or the other from 15 varieties. Consumers pick from one of 11 shapes, and then click Get Started to see possible results. Users that supply more details about a pill narrow their choices faster. After a search starts, a list appears in groups of 10 sorted alphabetically. Other websites that contain pill identifiers include Drugs.com, Healthline.com and RxList.com. Each of these resources contain pictures, ingredients and manufacturer information for pills within these databases.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration requires all over-the-counter and prescription solid, oral medications to have an imprint that identifies the drug, notes Drugs.com. Biological drug products and homeopathic products must also have imprints unless these substances have exemptions. An imprint, supplied by the manufacturer, may contain a single letter, a number, alphanumeric combinations, a company name or a logo.

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