How to identify pill markings

Updated February 21, 2017

Not only can it be illegal to repackage your prescription drugs in another bottle, it can be dangerous. It is not always easy to remember which pill is which. This can be a special problem for older patients, who take a number of prescription drugs. One way to help you identify a pill is to take advantage of one of the online pill identification websites. Some of the free sites may have outdated information, while some of the pay-to-use professional sites may be more accurate.

Identify the shape of the pill. Is it a diamond shape, round or oval? Some identification sites will give shape samples to help you make the correct identification.

Determine the colour of the pill. Is it white, pink or red? Some give colour samples to make it easier to determine.

Look for visible markings, such as letters or numbers.

Visit a website that provides an online form to assist in identifying pills (see the Additional Resources section).

Enter the information the website form requests, remembering that if it is asking for markings, it is asking for any letters or numbers on the pill.

Submit the form, and you will be given any possible matches found on the website.

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About the Author

Ann Johnson has been a freelance writer since 1995. She previously served as the editor of a community magazine in Southern California and was also an active real-estate agent, specializing in commercial and residential properties. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University, Fullerton.