According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there are over 300,000 marketed over-the-counter (OTC) drug products in the market today. This number continues to grow annually as some medications move from prescription to OTC status.
What are OTC medications?
Also known as non-prescription medicine, OTC drugs are medications that you can purchase without a prescription from a provider of pharmacy services in Lodi, New Jersey. They are effective and safe when you follow the instructions indicated by the label and by your physician.
OTC medications are typically used to treat common health problems, such as the flu, colds, minor aches and pains, constipation, and fever. They are available in many forms, including tablets, liquids, sprays, and ointments.
Tips for Smart OTC Medicine Use
All medications, including prescription and OTC drugs, carry potential risks. Those risks increase when medications are not used properly. Here are five tips for safe and smart over-the-counter medication use:
- Always read the label.
Always read the medication label – all of it. This will help you decide if the medical supplies in New Jersey you selected are right for your needs. Reading the label will also help you understand instructions and inform you of any warnings that may apply to you.
- Follow EXACTLY what the label says.
Reading the label isn’t enough – you have to take the medicine EXACTLY as stated on the instructions.
For instance, some people assume that when it comes to OTC medications, more is better. Actually, taking too much of a non-prescription medication can be dangerous. Make sure that you are only taking the recommended amount as stated on the label.
- Know what to avoid while taking OTC medicines.
Similar to prescription medications, all OTC medications can cause reactions or side effects. Talk to the pharmacist or read the label to know what to avoid while taking certain OTC medications.
- Be careful about taking more than one OTC medication at a time.
Many OTC medications contain similar active ingredients (i.e. some ingredients in a pain reliever may also be in your cold medicine), which means that you might be overdosing yourself without knowing it. Before taking more than one OTC medication at the same time, make sure that you compare their active ingredients.
- When in doubt, talk to your pharmacist.
If you have any questions or concerns about a particular OTC medication, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or our pharmacists at EssexCare Pharmacy. Taking an OTC medication safely is very important, so don’t hesitate to ask for help.