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OTC vs Prescription Medications: Knowing the Difference and When to Choose OTC

Understanding the difference between OTC and Prescription Medication


OTC drugs do not require a prescription, and you can directly purchase from a pharmacy, while prescription drugs need a prescription from a doctor or other healthcare professional. OTC drugs are used to treat or cure many conditions and symptoms, such as acne, cough, allergies, diarrhea, and many more. OTC medications are used to treat minor ailments or discomforts whereas prescription medicines are used to treat minor and serious illnesses or diseases as well. 


Most of the time, OTC medicines are used based on self-diagnosis, and the product is selected in accordance with self-care considerations. However, in order to utilize prescription medication, a certified healthcare professional must first make a medical diagnosis and then decide which drug to use for the patient.


Multiple people may utilize OTC medications. However, sharing OTC medications, such as eye drops and ointments is not advised due to the possibility of infection. Because the symptoms and severity of the condition might vary from one person to another, prescribed drugs are only recommended for use by one individual. 


When To Choose OTC?

You can easily purchase OTC medications without a prescription and they may support a number of minor medical issues. Some over-the-counter medications are not as effective as those obtained with a prescription. But it does not mean that they are risk-free. In fact, utilizing OTC medications improperly can result in major health issues.



Here are some of the conditions that can be treated by OTC medication:



OTC medications are acceptable for the majority of minor diseases or health issues. You can ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any doubts about the medication. You should check the package carefully before buying any medication to make sure the medicine is not tampered with or opened.


Benefits of Over-The-Counter Medication


  • OTC drugs are easy to get. OTC drugs are available at pharmacies, supermarkets, and convenience stores and can be purchased without a prescription from a medical professional. Because of this accessibility and ease, it is easier for patients to obtain the medications they require.


  • Over-the-counter medications improve the ability to manage one’s own health without going for professional medical assistance for mild symptoms or diseases.


  • OTC drugs frequently offer quick relief for pains or discomforts. They typically aim to provide immediate comfort for symptoms including pain, fever, coughing, or allergies. They are designed to be effective in providing temporary relief without a prescription or professional guidance.


  • OTC medication can reduce the cost because test results and professional advice are not necessary. By reducing the need for specialized advice, laboratory tests, and other costs, people can save money. OTC drugs provide a more affordable option for treating mild illnesses or symptoms.


  • By allowing individuals to purchase medication without visiting a doctor, over-the-counter medications increase access to healthcare. This may be quite beneficial for people who reside in remote areas and have limited access to medical treatment.


At ValleyRidge Pharmacy, we care for your health by offering a variety of over-the-counter medications that help ease your discomforts. 

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