Over-the-counter medications (OTC) are medications that are available without a prescription from a healthcare professional. They are generally used for the treatment of minor ailments and are considered safe for most people when used as directed. Examples of OTC medications include pain relievers such as ibuprofen and aspirin, antihistamines, and cold and flu medications.
Prescription drugs, on the other hand, are medications that can only be obtained with a prescription from a licensed healthcare professional such as a physician or a dentist. Prescription drugs are often used to treat more severe illnesses or chronic conditions that require ongoing treatment. Examples of prescription drugs include antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, and medications used to manage chronic illnesses such as hypertension or diabetes.
Prescription drugs are typically more potent than OTC medications and may have more significant side effects. They are prescribed by a healthcare professional who has assessed a patient's medical history, evaluated their condition, and determined that the medication is appropriate for their specific needs. OTC medications are more widely available to the general public, and individuals can purchase them without a prescription, but they should always be used as directed and in consultation with a healthcare professional if necessary.