The Importance of Making Imprints on Pills and Tablets

Updated on May 23, 2022
The Importance of Making Imprints on Pills and Tablets

Every day, millions of Americans take one or more medications. They rely on the pharmaceutical industry to label these medications correctly. Not just on boxes and bottles but on the pills and tablets as well.

Imprints on medications help keep people safe. They also have new possibilities in the future of pharmaceuticals. Learn about the importance of making imprints on pills and tablets.

1. Imprints Inform Patients and Caregivers

Drug manufacturers give drugs specific imprints. An imprint on a pill can be letters, numbers, or a combination of letters and numbers. Pharmaceutical companies can use lasers to create permanent imprints on medications, even through tamper-proof packaging.

Patients and caregivers can look at the imprints on a given medication, then input that data into a search engine to find out information about that drug including its name, strength, active ingredients, and the manufacturer. New phone apps allow people to upload photos of pills, including the imprint, to find this information.

Patients’ ability to identify their medication keeps them informed and empowered. With imprinting, patients can tell similar pills apart from each other.

2. Imprints Help Healthcare Providers Identify Ingested Pills and Tablets

Medical professionals at poison control centers and hospitals need to quickly identify pills that patients have ingested. Identifying medication in a timely manner can mean the difference between life and death. This high-stakes scenario highlights the importance of making imprints on pills and tablets.

Imprints provide medical professionals with unique identification information, including the strength of the drug. The FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) creates and maintains a database with over 30,000 imprint records. Healthcare professionals can access this database to understand more about the drugs patients ingest.

3. Imprints Help Law Enforcement

Law enforcement officers use imprints to help citizens and maintain public safety. Police use imprints to identify prescription and illicit drugs.

Now, new developments in medication identification help law enforcement personnel understand tablets and capsules at a more granular level. Ultraviolet lasers can mark individual tablets and capsules when they are sold at dispensaries, pharmacies, and health clinics. Law enforcement agencies can use the imprint to access a database of encrypted information that traces the pill back to the intended patient and prescribing physician.

Imprints help patients and caregivers understand prescriptions. They help healthcare providers give their patients accurate and timely care. And they help law enforcement monitor the movement of tablets and pills. Imprints are a powerful identification tool that helps people stay safe.