Prescription Drugs Can Help

What is the difference between prescription and over-the-counter drugs?

Why are some medicines only available with a prescription while they can be bought directly from the pharmacy? There are a few things to consider when answering this question.

What are prescription drugs?

Newly introduced drugs and all highly effective drugs require a prescription (prescription only). The drug prescription ordinance determines which active ingredients are subject to prescription requirements. This is continuously updated. If, after prolonged use of prescription-only active ingredients, it turns out that the risk of use is low, they are released from the prescription requirement. If, on the other hand, it is recognized that an over-the-counter active ingredient shows particular risks in widespread use, previously over-the-counter active ingredients are included in the prescription requirement.

The prescription requirement can also only refer to certain pack sizes, dosages, types of application or areas of application (indications). You can only get prescription drugs with a doctor's prescription in the pharmacy. This is for your protection, as it ensures that a doctor regularly monitors your therapy. Your doctor will ensure that the therapy is successful, monitor possible side effects and interactions, adjust your dosage if necessary and discuss with you a change in therapy that may be necessary. In addition to the drug therapy, your doctor will also explain what you can do yourself to get well again. Your pharmacy will also be at your side with detailed advice when you redeem your prescription.

What are non-prescription (over-the-counter) medicines?

You do not need a prescription for these medicines. Medicines that are used in self-medication are also referred to as OTC preparations. The abbreviation comes from the English for "over the counter" and means something like "over the counter". Your pharmacist will help you choose the right medicine for your symptoms and will explain in detail what you need to consider when taking it.

Examples of prescription and non-prescription drugs

The prescription drug metoprolol is used to treat high blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to secondary diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, kidney and eye diseases. Regular medical check-ups are necessary to check whether the blood pressure can be brought into the normal range with medication. Therefore, drugs with the active ingredient metoprolol are only available with a prescription.

Help with a blocked runny nose over-the-counter nasal sprays with the active ingredient xylometazoline to breathe freely again. "Without a prescription" nasal spray is not necessarily harmless. Therefore, it should be used for a maximum of 7 days in a row. Prolonged use of the medication also triggers swelling of the nasal mucosa, regardless of the cold, which is then treated with medication (with the nasal spray). There is a habituation effect. Long-term use can irreversibly damage the nasal mucosa.

Tablets with Paracetamol work against pain and fever. If the package does not contain more than 10 grams of paracetamol in total, which is 20 tablets of half a gram (500 milligrams) each, you need no prescription. If you need 30 tablets, you will only receive them on one medical prescription. If taken over a long period of time or in too high a dose, there is a risk of damage to the liver.

Paracetamol suppositories are subject to it generally not the prescription requirement, since with this type of application the risk of side effects is much lower.

The active substance Acetylcysteine (ACC) acts as a cough suppressant. Will he be at Colds used, he is without prescription available. Will he with the hereditary disease Cystic fibrosis used, he is prescription only. The reason for this is that the duration of use is relatively short in the case of a cold. In the case of cystic fibrosis, on the other hand, long-term treatment is necessary. The observation of side effects and the regular adjustment of the dosage requires medical supervision.

If you want to treat a simple illness yourself and do not know whether you can buy an over-the-counter medicine, your pharmacy will be happy to advise you and find a medicine that will help with your symptoms. There you will also find further tips on what you can do in addition.