Find Information About a Specific Drug/Medication:
MedlinePlus: Drugs Consumer drug information from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Index to Drug Specific Information Includes drugs for which safety alerts or other advisories have been issued
Medication Guides Information for patients on how to safely use certain drugs
Quick Glossary of Terms
Drug A drug is defined as:
- A substance recognized by an official pharmacopoeia or formulary.
- A substance intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease.
- A substance (other than food) intended to affect the structure or any function of the body.
- A substance intended for use as a component of a medicine but not a device or a component, part or accessory of a device.
- Biological products are included within this definition and are generally covered by the same laws and regulations, but differences exist regarding their manufacturing processes (chemical process versus biological process.)
Generic Drug A generic drug is the same as a brand name drug in dosage, safety, strength, how it is taken, quality, performance, and intended use. Before approving a generic drug product, FDA requires many rigorous tests and procedures to assure that the generic drug can be substituted for the brand name drug. The FDA bases evaluations of substitutability, or "therapeutic equivalence," of generic drugs on scientific evaluations. By law, a generic drug product must contain the identical amounts of the same active ingredient(s) as the brand name product. Drug products evaluated as "therapeutically equivalent" can be expected to have equal effect and no difference when substituted for the brand name product.
Over-the-Counter Drugs (OTC) FDA defines OTC drugs as safe and effective for use by the general public without a doctor's prescription.
Prescription Drug Product A prescription drug product requires a doctor's authorization to purchase.