Pill identifiers – where to look and what are the common pills you might want to identify?

Identifying a pill can be useful if you have several medications and are getting confused as to which one is which.  Identifying pills can also be useful if you want to know what medication a relative is taking and they can’t remember exactly what’s called or what it’s supposed to do.. 

These are some of the common drugs for which people often want to identify tablets or capsules:


This comes in salmon coloured tablets (which are oval and can be broken in half) or in capsules which are light blue at one end and clear at the other.  This drug is used for treating ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or narcolepsy, a sleep disorder.


This drug comes in tablets which are round and the lower dosage 0.5mg is pink, while the 1mg tablet is blue and the 2mg tablet is white.  All of them have a K on them standing for Klonopin, the name under which the tranquilliser drug is most commonly marketed, but the names Rivotril and Riklona are also used.

It is used to help with seizures, panics and the akathisia movement disorder.


This comes in the form of white tablets usually with the size marked in the mould such as OP 10.  OxyContin is used for managing pain but can have side effects of desensitising and can be somewhat addictive.


This typically comes in white tablets with a line down the middle so that the tablet can be split in two.  It is also supplied in the form of capsules which are purple at one end and white at the other.

Ritalin is the most common marketing name for Methylphenidate and it is used to treat the symptoms of ADHD.


Usually supplied in domed white tablets, this is also marketed under the name of Ultram and is a pain relief Opioid,  It takes effect in about an hour and is often taken with paracetamol which apparently improves its efficacy.


Also known as Diazepam it is a widely marketed drug which can be taken orally through a white tablet which has a “V” on it. 

Valium is used to treat anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.  Also it can be used to induce amnesia and for treating benzodiazepine dependence.


The tablets are white and sausage shaped, usually with Vicodin imprinted on one side.  Vicodin is the marketing name of hydrocodone/paracetamol which is used to treat moderate to severe pain.


The tablets are ovaloid in shape and come in blue, pink or white depending on dosage.  Whilst Xanax is the trade name it is actually Alprazolam and is a tranquilliser used to treat various anxiety disorders including generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) and social anxiety disorder.

Some of the best sites for identifying the colour and shape of pills are here:




One thought on “Pill identifiers – where to look and what are the common pills you might want to identify?

  • December 29, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    Is there an internationally agreed standard for marking and colouring pills? Where would I find it?


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