Pill Identifier: Dr. Elizabeth Carter



Pill Identifier: It Could Save Your Life

Have you ever found a pill lying around your house and unable recall what it is?  Have you ever dumped all of your pills in the same bottle for convenience, only to forget later which pill is which?  If so, I have the tools to help you! 

Situations arise frequently where we need to be able to identify what a pill is solely based on what it looks like.  There are several websites and cell phone applications that can help with this.  The National Library of Medicine and Drugs.com have both developed online pill identifier websites (see references) where one can enter pill descriptions and have the brand and generic names of the drug, the manufacturer, and the drug’s strength provided immediately. 

Typical information asked on pill identifier websites include pill shape, pill color, and pill imprints (the letters and numbers that are often stamped on a pill).  Some websites even ask if the pill is scored and what the size of the pill is.  If you are unable to determine some of these characteristics, that is okay. 

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier


The pill identifier will be able to provide you with a list of possible medications that match the description you entered. 

Note that if you are unable to identify all information requested, the list of possible drugs may be long and not very useful.  The more information you can provide about the pill, the better your chances of obtaining the pill’s correct identification; pill shape, pill color, and pill imprints are the most useful and defining characteristics when identifying an unknown drug.

If you prefer to use a cell phone app, there are several options available to you.  Drugs.com has two apps available.  The first app is called Drugs.com Medication Guide and is available at no charge for both Android and iPhone.  This app will allow you to identify your pills in the Pill Identifier icon on the home screen.  The second app by Drugs.com, Pill Identifier App, is available only for iPhones and iPads and costs $0.99.  Both applications show photos of the searched drug so you can be sure you have the right medication.

The National Library of Medicine does not have an app, but their current website states that a new website is launching soon that will be accessible on phones, tablets, and browsers.  There are several other pill identifier apps available in Google Play and iTunes. You can also use the pill identifier tool at easydrugcard.com. 

*Click for Pharmacy Locator and Drug Pricing Tool. A Pill Identifier and Prescription Drug Information tab is on the right of the prescription name on the Drug Pricing Tool 

One more tip for using these websites and apps: if you need to search for an image of a pill, you can use the above-mentioned websites and apps.  Simply enter the name of a drug and a photo of the pill and other information including drug manufacturer and strength will be provided.  If you are searching for a drug that is made by several manufacturers (e.g. acetaminophen), the search may result in several photos.

Pill identifiers are a great resource for determining what a stray pill is or confirming what a medication is supposed to look like.  Several pill-identifying websites and applications are available for public use; select one that you are able to access and use.  Remember, you can always call your local community pharmacy to ask for assistance in identifying a pill! 

Pharmacists are the medication experts and will be able to help identify medications.

References:

Natural Library of Medicine, Pillbox:

https://pillbox.nlm.nih.gov/pillimage/search.php

Drugs.com Pill Identifier:

https://www.drugs.com/imprints.php

Dr. Elizabeth A. (Beth) Carter

About Dr. Elizabeth A. (Beth) Carter

Dr. Elizabeth A. Carter (Beth) is a Second Year Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Resident at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. She received her BA in Italian from The Ohio State University and PharmD from Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED). She completed her first year of residency as a Community Pharmacy Resident with the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and King Soopers & City Market Pharmacy Services.
Loading Facebook Comments ...