How to Choose Drugs: Over the Counter vs Prescription

pharmacy choosing

When shopping at your local pharmacy there are wide variety of drugs that are intended for curing or treating specific conditions or diseases.  Some of these drugs are known as over the counter drugs (OTC); these can be purchased off the shelf in stores and they do not require a doctor’s prescription.  On the other hand, prescription drugs are prescribed by a doctor. They can only be purchased at pharmacies and are only intended to be used by the prescribed patient.

Often, people face a dilemma when choosing between prescription and OTC medications. OTC medications are available for common conditions such as pain, fever, or allergies. It is best to consult a family physician when considering medication for a new condition or if you are experiencing symptoms that you have never experienced before.

For instance, OTC antihistamines such as Reactine may be sufficient if you are experiencing seasonal allergy symptoms. It is always a good idea to consult a pharmacist when purchasing OTC medication for the first time because they can confirm if you are making the right choice and educate about the side effects for that specific medication. Typically, OTC medications have fewer side effects because they are available to general public – a medication with serious side effects will most likely be sold as a prescription drug. For example, antihistamines such as Clarinex and Xyzal are prescription medications because they have significant side effects such as muscle pain, nausea, drowsiness, or diarrhea.

Here is a list that compares OTC and prescriptions drugs:


 Prescription Drugs

OTC Drugs


– Requires a doctor’s prescription
– Can only me dispensed/sold from a pharmacy
– Prescribed for specific use and only intended for one person
– Usually more powerful that OTC medicines
– Harmful if misused
– Requires medical diagnosis from a licensed practitioner
– Does not require a prescription
– Sold off the shelf in stores
– Use not limited to one person (can be applicable to more than one person)
– Not as powerful as OTC medicines and usually have fewer side effects
– Harmful if misused
– Generally based off of self-diagnosis





Information provided on this website is for general purposes only. It is not intended to take the place of advice from your practitioner. All trademarks and registered trademarks appearing on this website are the property of their respective owners and is not affiliated with them in any way. Purchase drugs from our Canadian Pharmacy and Canadian Online Pharmacy. Prescription drugs from Canada have the low prices. We are a Licensed Canadian Pharmacy, and we sell cheap brand name and generic Canadian drugs. Save up to 90% on Drugs from Canada. Our affiliated international and Canadian Pharmacies can meet all of your prescription needs by lowering your medication costs and safely filling your prescriptions. All Drug Search, Brand Name Drug Search, Generic Alternative Drug Search.


Copyright © 2023 All Rights Reserved