Practitioner Only Products (POPs) are literally products that can only be prescribed by practitioners of the naturopathic modalities such as Naturopaths, Nutritionists and Herbalists. The reason they are restricted to these professions is because they are products which contain ingredients in higher amounts and/or in more bio-available (you absorb more into your bloodstream or do not need to convert them) forms. Obviously the advantage these products offer is that they are much more effective for the ailment for which you require treatment. Practitioner only products have also passed through more quality assurance checks to ensure purity and cost effectiveness. It is required that practitioners conduct a thorough consultation prior to prescribing POPs. This ensures that you are taking the most appropriate product for your condition, you are less likely to suffer allergic reactions, the product will not exacerbate any other existing condition and that the ingredients won’t interact with medications you take. Practitioners can also ensure that you do not take too much of any one nutrient, which can happen quite easily if you are taking more then one product. The danger being that you can create a deficiency in another nutrient or side effects from the excess. For example an excess of vitamin b6 can cause pins and needles in the arms and legs and too much zinc can lead to a copper deficiency.
Currently there are some online naturopaths and chemists, motivated by money, who are trying to circumvent the rules by selling POPs online without a consultation. It is a irresponsible practice which also steals the livelihood away from your local practitioner. I encourage you to always seek the advice of your practitioner who will prescribe you the most effective and appropriate product for your condition.