Prescription drug

A prescription drug (also prescription medication or prescription medicine) is a pharmaceutical drug that legally requires a medical prescription to be dispensed. In contrast, over-the-counter drugs can be obtained without a prescription. The reason for this difference in substance control is the potential scope of misuse, from drug abuse to practicing medicine without a license and without sufficient education. Different jurisdictions have different definitions of what constitutes a prescription drug.

Photo of the packaging of four medicines registered in the UK, showing their Product Licence Numbers and symbols denoting if they are Prescription Only Medicine (POM) or Pharmacy Medicine (P)

In North America, , usually printed as "Rx", is used as an abbreviation of the word "prescription". It is a contraction of the Latin word "recipe" (an imperative form of "recipere") meaning "take".[1] Prescription drugs are often dispensed together with a monograph (in Europe, a Patient Information Leaflet or PIL) that gives detailed information about the drug.

The use of prescription drugs has been increasing since the 1960s.


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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Prescription drug, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.