Those burnt orange or amber toned prescription bottles are standard. We've all seen them, picked up our own prescription in them, and finally thrown them away. No matter where you pick up your prescribed medication, 99% chance they come in an orange plastic bottle with a child-proof white top.

But why that standard, ugly orange? Is it so our scripts stand out and are easy to see? The color is clearly standard in the pharmaceutical industry.

It's actually all about protecting our medication according to Mental Floss. The color protects our pills harmful ultraviolet rays, heat, and moisture.

According to Mental Floss, UV light degrades the chemicals and ingredients that make up our medications. The last thing any of us want are weaker pills that will make them less effective. UV light can also alter the pills and possibly cause unwanted side effects.


Also, this particular color of orange is just translucent enough to make our medications visible, too.

Finally, even exposure to the moisture in the air can cause issues including decreased efficacy. This includes while the medication is being transferred to the various pharmacies or waiting to be picked up.

On a side note, the plastic our prescription bottles are made from isn't recyclable in most places. It's number 5 plastic which is also key to protecting our meds according to Mental Floss.


Now, like me, I'm sure you've seen other colors. It's rare but there are some pill bottles that are white. Chances are you can't see through them and that's what protects prescription drugs from harmful rays and light. However, according to the RX Saver website, that's why the orange are preferred. We can see through them.

My dog's latest prescription came in a blue bottle and is opaque to keep the harmful stuff out. Veterinarians often use blue or green to differentiate from human bottles.

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