How to Identify Pills

Persons who are prescribed medication are often curious as to the specific nature of the drugs being used.

One medication that draws this type of attention is pills. All drugs sold in the US whether they are prescription or over the counter medications are required by law to carry a specific shape, color and imprint that will make them uniquely identifiable. This means that these three features should be able to allow individuals to identify pills easily. Nonetheless it is difficult for many people to identify pills especially those that are sold over the counter and those that are imported from foreign countries. This is where internet sites become important. Internet sites such as WebMD and allow users input specific data to identify pills.

Required Tools

In order to identify pills the following resources may be needed:

  • Access to internet sites that offer pill identification as a feature.
  • Knowledge of the features of the pill in question or possession of the actual pill.


Step One-Select a Website
Visit the website selected for the purpose of identifying the pill. The websites listed above may be used but bear in mind that there are many other websites at your disposal.

Step Two-Enter Imprint Data
Input the drug imprint information in the specified slot. This is recommended as the first step since often it is the only information required to identify the pill. The imprint of a pill is any mark on the pill. It may be a raised or depressed symbol, numbers and/or letters, or an engraved logo. Some pill imprints are quite simple while others are more complicated. The imprint may be a logo or it could be just a number or letter.

When entering an imprint number that is divided by a score do not add a space. This may throw off the process that the software uses to identify pills.

Step Three-Enter Physical Description
Enter the physical description of the pill if the identifier is unable to give an answer. This description should include the shape of the pill as well as its color.

Additional Information

If difficulties are encountered in deducing the identification of the drug, it is possible that it may not be a drug that is approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). In this case the drug may be an alternative remedy, a counterfeit drug or an illegal item.

A pharmacist may be consulted for assistance in identifying pills that cannot be found through a pill identifier. The pills should be taken to the pharmacist so that he/she can analyze them. All efforts should be exhausted in the bid to identify pills since the use of dubious pills is not recommended. Using pills whose nature is unknown may harm the user.

Sometimes the pill identification websites will offer a forum. Users may use this as an additional resource to help them to identify pills especially those that are unable to be found with the software on the website.

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