Before Your First Online Prescription Order  

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The Internet has revolutionized how we shop, live, and work. It is now possible to search for products and compare prices online without leaving your home. While convenient and safe, it is crucial to be careful when purchasing medicine online.

Here are some things you need to know before placing an order for an online prescription.

Meet with your Doctor First

Before you take any new medication, talk to your doctor. Only use medicine that has been prescribed to you by a licensed physician in the U.S. Take your time to understand the steps required to fill your prescription. It helps to have a list of issues to discuss before your appointment.

Should you have any questions about how or when to take the prescription written by your physician, call the medical office for further clarification.

A Prescription Questions Checklist

The following list will help you decide what questions you should ask about your medication. This list will guide you in your discussions with your healthcare provider. It will also help you maximize the benefits and minimize the risks of your medication.

  • What is the name of the medicine and its purpose?
  • What, when, and how long should I take it?
  • What side effects can I expect, and how do I deal with them?
  • Do I need to take this medicine with or without food?
  • Do I need to avoid certain foods, drinks, alcohol, or other medications while on this prescription?
  • Is it better to take the once-a-day dose in the morning than at night?
  • Can this medicine be used safely alongside other medications?
  • How soon should I expect the medicine’s effectiveness to start?
  • How do I store it?
  • Are there additional details I need to know about this medicine?

Be Aware that Some Medicines that Can be Purchased Online

  • Are counterfeit (counterfeit) or “copycat” medicines.
  • Can be too strong or weak.
  • Have dangerous ingredients.
  • Are out-of-date (have expired).
  • Aren’t FDA approved (haven’t been tested for safety or effectiveness).
  • Are not safe to be used with any other medicines or products that haven’t been labeled, stored, and shipped correctly.
  • Some websites selling medicine aren’t U.S.-licensed pharmacies, or they don’t even sell medicines.
  • You may be given a false diagnosis and sold medicine that isn’t right for your condition.
  • Protect your personal data

To Ensure Safety, you Need to Know the Source

Check that the website you visit is licensed by a state pharmacy and is physically located in the United States. The state board of pharmacies will tell you if the website is licensed by the state if it is in good standing and resides in the United States.

The website of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) contains a list of all state boards of pharmacy. The NABP is a professional association representing the state boards. You can use the program to find pharmacies licensed to sell medicines online.

A secure website should:

  • Be located in the United States and licensed by the state pharmacy board where the website operates (visit to see a list).
  • Ask a pharmacist licensed to answer your questions

To obtain and online prescriptions for medicine, you will need a prescription from your doctor.

Make Sure Your Privacy is Protected

  • You should look for privacy and security policies that are simple to understand and find.
  • If you aren’t sure that the website will keep your personal information private and secure, don’t provide any personal information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, medical history, or credit cards.
  • If you do not agree, ensure that the website does not sell your personal data.

You Need to Be Aware of These Terms

  • Side effects: symptoms or feelings that occur when you take a drug for reasons other than the intended use.
  • Generics: reproductions of brand-name medicines that provide the same purpose, strength, and safety. These drugs have the same characteristics as brand-name drugs but are made by a different company. Generics are required by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to meet the same quality standards as brand-name drugs and generally cost significantly less money.
  • Drug interactions are when one drug interacts with another drug or condition, food, or alcohol. This alters the way that the drug works in the body.
  • Interactions between drugs and alcohol: When a medicine reacts to an alcoholic beverage you have consumed. Drug-alcohol interactions may increase or decrease effectiveness or cause harm.
  • Side effects and increased intoxication.
  • Formulary: Usually, this is a list of prescription medications that your drug plan will cover.
  • Medication adherence is the faithful following of the prescribed medical treatment, even if it’s not under your physician’s supervision.
  • Overuse is the use of more medication than prescribed by a healthcare professional or label.
  • Sub-use: Taking less medication than is recommended or missing or skipping dosages.

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