Is the small round white pill with no markings melatonin? (5 identification tips)

Is the small round white pill with no markings melatonin?

No, It is not possible to identify a drug based solely on its size and color. All OTC and Prescription drugs are bound by FDA to have a specific marking on them for identification. If your tablet is not marked, it could be a vitamin, diet, herbal, energy pill, or an illicit or foreign drug.

Melatonin tablets usually do not have markings placed on them which can be a bit tiring but the following characteristics can help you identify them.

  • Color and Shape: Melatonin Tablets usually are produced in small round shapes, but they are available in all shapes and sizes, so relying only on the color and shape is not recommended, but generally the melatonin tablet is a small white or off-white color.
  • Packaging and Labeling: FDA-approved drugs come in specified packaging and labeling. The cover includes all the important information about the manufacturer, dosage, and ingredients.
  • Source and Reliability: Drugs, especially the controlled ones should be purchased from verifier retailers like pharmacies or trusted drugs stores.

How to identify a pill without marking?

Identifying a pill without markings can be challenging because most people are used to identifying a pill by their pill identification number, however, there are steps that can be followed to identify a pill without markings:

  • Shape and size: Firstly, note the shape of the pill. The size of the pill should also be noted.
  • Color: Pills, with few exceptions, are different from each other in one feature, either shape, size, or color, so make note of the color of the pill.
  • Texture and coating: Note the surface, some pills might be shiny with a glossy finish while others have a rough surface.
  • Score lines: Check if the pill has some score lines on them. These can be good differentiators of a pill from another.
  • Packaging: Every pill has its own unique packaging according to the FDA guidelines. The details of the pill are clearly mentioned on the cover of the pill.

One should not rely on a single one of the features mentioned above. You can easily identify a pill by pairing 2 or 3 identification features mentioned above. You can use certain Pill identifiers available on websites like WebMD (1) and (2).

What are the risks if I take an unidentified pill?

There are certain risks associated with the consumption of an unidentified pill. The following are the potential risks associated with consuming an unidentified pill:

  • Adverse reactions: There might be certain Adverse effects associated with an unidentified drug, which can prove to be harmful to us.
  • Incorrect dosage: improper identification can result in a wrong dosage consumption of a drug.
  • Health complications: The unidentified pill can contain deleterious substances in it.
  • Drug interactions: The pill might interact with the drugs you are already taking on daily bases. For instance, taking Melatonin with Lorazepam can amplify each other’s effects.
  • Delayed proper treatment: Taking an unidentified might result in the worsening of your medical condition.
  • Legal issues: Possession of unmarked or unidentifiable pills is illegal in some jurisdictions.

What are the legal requirements for a pill identification number?

FDA has assigned a unique identifier NDC assigner to each drug, It consists of the following 3 segments:

  • The first segment, known as the labeler code, identifies the manufacturer, repackager, or distributor of the medication. It is typically a five-digit number assigned by the FDA.
  • The second segment, the product code, identifies the specific medication, dosage form, strength, and formulation. It is usually a four-digit number assigned by the labeler.
  • The third segment is the package code, which indicates the package size and type. It is typically a two-digit number.

This system is not followed by all the countries around the world. Certain countries have their own identifiers of a specific pill.


A pill should be properly identified before consumption, otherwise, it can have certain health disasters associated with it. Identification of a pill without specific markings can be extremely difficult but certain features including the shape, size, color, texture, coating, score lines, and packaging of the pill can help you identify a pill better. However, relying solely on these characteristics may not provide a definitive identification. Make sure to avoid taking unidentified pills and proper identification of a pill should be done according to the FDA guidelines.

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Pill identifier – find pills by color, shape, imprint, or picture [Internet]. WebMD; [cited 2023 May 15]. Available from:


Pill identification wizard from [Internet].; [cited 2023 May 15]. Available from: