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Differences Between OTC Labels and Prescription Labels

People visit pharmacies to purchase two types of medicine: prescription medicine that a doctor prescribes and over-the-counter (OTC) medicine that can be purchased without a physician’s advice or approval. Both types of drugs can play an important role in patient health outcomes.

However, the key to achieving good outcomes partially depends on how customers interpret the user information for OTC and prescription medicines. Pharmacists can contribute to good health outcomes by explaining the difference between the medicines concerning the following areas.

Indicators for Stopping Medicine
OTC medicines typically spell out on the back of the package when a person should stop taking them in the event of bad side effects, but that information may not appear on prescription labels. Rather, it is often contained in the fine print of the information flyer that comes with a prescription. When a patient starts taking a new prescription, a pharmacist may help him or her achieve the best result by pointing out indicators for stopping the medication that are printed in the flyer.

Indicators for Continuing to Take Medicine
Prescription medications typically indicate whether a patient should continue taking them by supplying refill information, in addition to prescribing guidelines that his or her physician provides. If the medication contains refills, a pharmacist may find it helpful to alert the customer to this fact, as well as provide information on negative health conditions that could arise if the medication were stopped after its initial supply runs out, in order to help support a good health outcome.

Using a Medicine to Treat Certain Maladies
Prescription labels seldom indicate the condition for which medicine is taken, as the patient receives this information from his or her physician. OTC medicine packaging, on the other hand, commonly lists conditions the medicine treats. In some cases, a doctor recommends OTC medicine for a condition that isn’t listed on the package. If this confuses the patient, the pharmacist should explain how the medicine can help the patient, if such information is available.

Directions for Storing a Medication
OTC medicine packaging often includes information about how the medicine should be stored to sustain its efficacy. As with other types of essential information, prescription labels rarely list such directions. Instead, storage protocols are often buried in the fine print of the flyer that comes with the medicine. Because how a medication is stored can have a major impact on its therapeutic effect, the pharmacist may wish to direct a patient to the location of this information.

Need High-Quality Prescription Labels?
After over 130 years in the business of supplying pharmacies with prescription labels and other essential pharmacy products, Drug Package can safely say that not all prescription labels are created equal, and the same can be said for OTC medicine labels. Unfortunately, we cannot control the quality of the latter; you must make that assessment on your own. However, we can supply the best prescription labels for the needs of your pharmacy and its customers.

For more information about options for our prescription labels, including the creation of custom prescription labels, call us at (800) 325-6137, or request a quote here, today! We look forward to supplying you with the best labeling products for your pharmacy and its customers!