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Medications and supplements are commonly used every day. Yet, there are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to prescribed medications and medications that you can get over the counter. Find out more below!

What are Prescription Medications?

Prescription medications are medications that can only be obtained with a valid order from a healthcare professional. Some prescription medications are available over the counter (example: levocetrizine is known as “Xyzal” and adapalene is known as “Differin”). Why are orders from a healthcare professional required? Prescription medications can potentially be more dangerous if misused and the safety and proper use of such medication is overseen by the patient, the healthcare provider, and the pharmacist. While prescription medications can be more dangerous, over the counter medications are not without risks too. One survey found that almost 25% of patients would overdose on Tylenol (Wolf, 2012).

Supplements VS Over the Counter Medications

Medications that are over the counter are regulated by the FDA but supplements are not. Supplements are not considered “medications” and are not regulated for quality like medications are. This can be a big problem as people may be purchasing supplements with unlisted ingredients in them.

How Common are Prescription Medications

Prescription medications are becoming more popular as the population becomes older and as medical problems become treatable with drugs. The CDC estimates that over 2.9 billion prescriptions were written in doctor offices in 2016 (Therapeutic Drug Use, 2017). That’s almost 10 prescriptions per person in the United States and this doesn’t even count emergency rooms, hospitals, or nursing homes!

What makes Prescription Medications safe?

It may seem odd that prescription medications are generally much safer than supplements and even over the counter medications. Due to the potential harm of prescription medication, the health system has many checks in place to ensure that harm is minimized while patients can still benefit from life-changing treatments.

Prescription medications are highly regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration. Companies that sell prescription medications are held to strict guidelines and medications are routinely checked for quality. If you have heard about drug recalls, the FDA was the organization that most likely found the problem. Drug manufacturers must ensure that medications contain consistent ingredients and correct dosages. This makes sense since medications are often used in life or death medical conditions and have to be high quality. Catalyst takes this one step further as medications is only sourced form

Non-Permanent: Medications do not cure erectile dysfunction but they can help while in a person’s system. This is actually an advantage since any side effects are mostly only temporary. Since most ED medication does not have to be taken daily and has a quick response (30 -60 minutes), it may have fewer side effects than other medications because the body is exposed to the medication less frequently.

Quality: Many believe that “natural” remedies are better for the body and safer. This is generally not the case as anything that your body does not produce itself is “unnatural”. Both “natural” remedies and medications are broken down in your body by mostly the liver and kidney. Both “natural” remedies and medications can be harmful if taken incorrectly. Medications have an important advantage in that they are regulated by the FDA. Manufacturers of medications are held to strict standards and are not allowed to change the dosage or formulation significantly without alerting pharmacies and consumers. “Natural” remedies can include unlisted ingredients but some over the counter products can also include medication in them (U.S. Food & Drug Administration, 2020). This can be especially dangerous if a doctor is not making sure that the medication is safe for you.

We hope this has been helpful! If you have any questions or comments, let us know! We hope to answer some questions publicly if it may be an interesting topic for others as well (no names included of course).

References:

Levy, J. (1994). Impotence and its medical and psychological correlates: results of the Massachusets Aging Study. Journal of Urology, 54-61.

Public Notification: Extenze Plus contains hidden drug ingredient. (2018, 8 31). Retrieved from U.S. Food and Drug Administration: https://www.fda.gov/drugs/medication-health-fraud/public-notification-extenze-plus-contains-hidden-drug-ingredient