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It’s tiny and pink and I think it is for my heart.

Posted Apr 01 2010 5:19pm

Resized image of Ritalin-SR-20mg-full.png; squ...
Image via Wikipedia

I hear the description above all too often.  My patients do not know the name of the medication they are taking and want to describe the pill as if I will immediately and magically know exactly what it is.  The National Library of Medicine, in partnership with the Food and Drug Administration, have developed Pillbox .  This nifty site will help you to identify unknown tablets and pills by form, color, size or imprint.

Pillbox was developed for use by healthcare workers, Poison Control staff and other concerned citizens.  Once a pill has been identified, additional information is provided, such as brand/generic name, ingredients, NDC number, etc.  The current database has more than 7,000 entries with images despite still being in Beta testing.  The image base is not complete and in fall of last year a large scale effort was started to begin photographing the solid dosage medications.  Each image then has to be identified by the manufacturers.

While the system is not yet fully developed, they are on their way with a valuable resource.  Regardless of this resource, if you take medication be sure to keep a list on your person that includes the name, dosage, prescribing doctor and how you take the medication.  It would be great to list your allergies on this same list as well.  Take it to each of your appointments and share with with your healthcare providers.

What method do you use for identifying unknown medication?  Do you try or just flush it?

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