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Prescription Medications

Prescription Medications Overview

All medications sold in the United States can be divided into two categories:

  • Prescription medications that require a prescription from an authorized prescriber (for example, doctor, nurse practitioner, dentist, etc).
  • Nonprescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medications that do not require a prescription from an authorized prescriber (for example, doctor, nurse practitioner, dentist, etc).

Prescription medications are generally more potent than those sold over-the-counter (OTC), and may have more serious side effects and drug interactions if inappropriately used. Therefore, these medications are only sold under a prescriber's direction. These directions are written or typed on a prescription by the prescriber, then double-checked, packaged, and sold to you by a pharmacist.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/25/2014




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