Drugs can usually be categorized into prescription and over the counter (OTC) drugs. These two categories have many significant differences. Here are four aspects in which they differ:
Prescriptions are not needed for OTC drugs.
OTC Drugs can be purchased without a prescription or a doctor’s referral. The assumption is that the patient is able to recognize their symptoms and find an appropriate OTC drug to reduce them. Prescription drugs however require a doctor’s prescription. This is due to the fact that the patient needs to see the doctor before he can recommend a stronger or more specific drug to cure their condition.
The sale of prescription drugs is limited compared to OTC drugs.
Prescription drugs can only be dispensed by pharmacies. A mandatory prescription is needed for these drugs and can only be sold once prescription is verified. However, OTC drugs are readily available at pharmacies and grocery stores straight off the shelf. They are also available at pharmacies but are not limited to them.
Consumption and usage of OTC and prescription drugs is distinct.
When purchasing a prescription drug you are provided with a specific label which guides you on what dose to take. These instructions are highly specific and are recommended by your doctor. You may also receive additional advice from the pharmacist on how to take the drug. OTC drugs use different reference points, such as weight, height, age, on how to determine what dose is appropriate for each patient.
Use of OTC drugs requires self-diagnosis.
Patients make the decision of which drugs they need to take when purchasing OTC drugs whereas doctors determine which drugs a patient should take when purchasing prescription drugs. However, if the symptoms are uncommon, or are not alleviated by the OTC drug, it is advisable that they consult a doctor so they can prescribe the appropriate medication.
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin and an important part of everyone’s diet. Getting a good amount of vitamin D in the early stages of life can help prevent autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Most importantly, Vitamin D increases calcium metabolism and reduces risk of current infections. Sometime this can be tricky because the main source of our vitamin D comes from food and the sun. Proper diets have a huge influence in determining our levels of this crucial vitamin.
It is vital that a baby consume enough vitamin D during the first year of life. This is particularly hard to do because breast milk and baby food may contain very little amounts of vitamin D. However, “new research has found that giving breastfeeding mothers monthly high-dose vitamin D supplements may be a possible way to improve their babies’ vitamin D status”.
 University of Otago. “Increasing nursing mothers’ vitamin D levels may benefit babies.” Science Daily. Science Daily, 30 August 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160830101350.htm>.
Make sure to double-check that you are leaving a pharmacy with the right medication.
There are certain measures in place that protects a patient’s health and safety before receiving a prescription medication. Since prescription medications are stronger than medications sold over the counter, the purchasing process is highly regulated. In order to ensure a safe experience, it is important that a patient takes their own precautions as well.
The prescription process begins with your family physician writing a prescription with detailed instructions on how to take the medication. Next, your pharmacist receives this information and double checks to ensure that the information filled out in the prescription is accurate and safe for the patient to take.
When dealing with prescriptions, there are certain things about the ordering process that would be beneficial for patients to know. For instance, reading hand-written prescriptions can be a challenge for pharmacists and has resulted over 7000 deaths related to reading-related mistakes . So, it is vital that you and your pharmacist double check that you are receiving the correct type and dosage of medication.
Children are another safety risk that parents must give special attention towards. Child-resistant lids for medication bottles are the ideal preventative measure, reducing the danger when a child has a bottle of medication in their hand.
It is also important to be well-informed in regards to the kind of medication you are taking. There has been a noticeable decrease of risk perception on the danger of prescription drugs by 20% over the last 20 years, which is a dangerous proposition . There are numerous cases of preventable medication errors each year that causes harm to patients. Knowing the exact instructions and the dangers of accidental overdose is crucial to preventing these accidents.
 Caplan, Jeremy. Time. Retrieved from http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1578074,00.html
 U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved from: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm220112.htm
There are specific risk factors that increase the chances of a patient having a stroke. Risk factors having to do with age, gender, and ethnicity are not controllable and inevitably increase the chances of a person having a stroke. Whereas eating habits, physical activity, smoking and drinking are all examples of lifestyle choices that can be altered to better prevent strokes.
According to a recent study, it was “confirmed [that] there were at least 10 modifiable risk factors associated with 90% of stroke cases in all regions, young and older and in men and women.”  These modifications included important factors such as daily physical activity, diets, eliminating smoking, eliminating cardiac causes, improving Apoliprotein levels, reducing alcohol consumption, eliminating diabetes and reducing stress.
The majority of these factors are interrelated and are examples of how one modification in your lifestyle can help to better prevent strokes. Furthermore the study indicated that when these risk factors were combined it “brought a 91% reduction in stroke, similar in all regions, age groups and independent of sex.” 
 Global study finds risk factors for stroke have regional variation. Retrieved from: http://dailynews.mcmaster.ca/article/global-study-finds-risk-factors-for-stroke-have-regional-variation/
 Meszaros, Liz. Same 10 modifiable risk factors for stroke span the globe, but with regional variations. Retrieved from: http://www.mdlinx.com/neurology/article/519
Acetaminophen is the most common drug that is purchased over the counter. The brand name drug, Tylenol, is relied upon by numerous people who use it for its pain-relieving and fever-reducing properties. It is advisable that a person not take more than 4 grams (4000mg) of acetaminophen in a 24 hour period. It is proven that taking more than this amount causes liver damage. In severe cases, an acetaminophen overdose can be fatal.
Overdoses of acetaminophen are common in children, who can accidentally ingest the drug when mistaking it for candy or juice. In addition, there are some cases where adults can be victims of an unintended acetaminophen overdose. These symptoms are usually a result of taking an incorrect dosage or the effects of multiple medications taken at the same time. It is common that acetaminophen is in numerous drugs because it acts as a vital ingredient which functions to reduce pain. It is always a good idea to consult with your family physician if it is safe to keep taking Tylenol or acetaminophen alongside your other medications.
It usually takes over 12 hours for symptoms to appear from an acetaminophen overdose. Symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Jaundice (yellowing of eyes and skin)
- Loss of appetite
It is important that one seeks emergency attention if they fall under one of these specifications:
- Someone who is 5 years or older has taken 91mg/pound of body weight within 8 hours
- A person of any age who has taken 68mg/pound of body weight or a total of 6 grams of acetaminophen in a period of 24 hours.
It is a common practice in a business to think about maximizing profits. But when pharmaceutical companies like Valeant Pharmaceuticals are seen hiking their drug prices up to 6000% it raises a red flag on many ethical levels. This activity is not new in the pharmaceutical industry.
Valeant is not the only company which increases their prices significantly; it is common for many large pharmaceutical companies to increase prices, as there are no legal ramifications to their actions. Recently, Valeant was placed in the spotlight because they were increasing the prices for many critical medications such as Nitropress, Isurpel, Syprine, and Cupermine. Furthermore, these medications were not innovative or new; this causes consumer outrage because the ridiculous price increases cannot be justified.
Therefore, the occurrence of cases like Valeant is indicative of manipulative strategies to earn the most out of vulnerable consumers. Find out more on the dialogue between Valeant and the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging and how they explained the price hikes on drug prices.
The use of e-prescriptions is a growing trend for physicians. From the introduction of e-prescriptions in 2006, the prevalence of this process has increased to over 70% of all physicians . E-prescribing allows prescribers to electronically send patients’ prescription information to pharmacy computers. This process has reduced the amount of paperwork and any errors associated with reliance on handwritten prescriptions, which increases the safety and quality of the prescription process.
E-prescribing has made its way into all 50 states and has even become mandatory in states such as Minnesota and New York.
“When it works, it’s seamless,” says New York County Medical Society President Dr. Michael T. Goldstein, an ophthalmologist who issues many prescriptions electronically himself. “But there are circumstances where it doesn’t work, and patients suffer.”
“It’s also harder for patients to shop around for medication deals when a script is in a pharmacy’s system instead of in hand”, says Dr. Joseph R. Maldonado, president of the Medical Society of the State of New York.
There is a barrier to online pharmacies, which require a written prescription to fill prescription medication orders. Learn how to get a paper prescription when e-Prescribing is mandatory. https://www.pharmacycheckerblog.com/how-to-get-a-paper-prescription-when-e-prescribing-is-required
Rosuvastatin is an oral drug which is commonly used to lower blood cholesterol levels. It also treats many conditions such as hyperlipidemia, mixed dyslipidemia, and hypertriglyceridemia. This drug is now available as a generic in many pharmacies but the brand name, Crestor, is much cheaper if purchased online.
According to Pharmacychecker.com, “ninety pills of generic rosuvastatin cost a whopping $795 at a Walgreens in Brooklyn, NY, but 90 pills of brand name Crestor is 94% less at a low-cost international online pharmacy.”
Many consumers tend to speculate the quality of the drugs when purchasing from an online pharmacy, but with the help of online resources like Pharmacychecker.com it is easy to verify that these drugs are being purchased from a reliable source.
Search for affordable blood cholesterol medication
Each year many consumers purchase medication from online sources outside of the United States because the drug prices of some online pharmacies are much cheaper than local pharmacies. Cost savings are a great motivator, but it is important that the pharmacy is a reliable source. Some online pharmacies offer far-fetched discounts that are possible only from irresponsible or unreliable manufacturing, so it is important to know where your drugs are coming from.
Pharmacychecker.com is an excellent source in which consumers are able to verify and compare prices across trustworthy online pharmacies. This slideshow on Pharmacychecker.com explains the process they use to verify pharmacies to ensure that they are providing safe medication.