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OTC Medicine Alert

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OTC drugs may seem harmless because they require no prescription or any advice form a registered doctor. However, risks are still at stake here. Just to be safe, here are some reminders to consider upon undergoing any self medication.

OTC or Over-the-Counter medicine generally consist of vitamins, dietary supplements, antacids, cough and cold formula and other medications for minor symptoms. These types don’t require any order request from a physician. On the contrary, OTC medicine is not as safe as most people believe. Like Rx medicine, they have their share of undesirable reactions too.

Here are some reminders to consider on OTC medications:

  • Don’t mind the advertisements or the popularity of the product. Read the label.

TV commercials and other advertisements have great effect on a product. Some people upon recognizing a well known brand, simply takes it off the shelf and buy it.

No matter how popular the product, it may not be the right one for you. Read the label first. Consider the use, the indication, its safety (precaution and contraindications) and the drug interactions if any.

  • Do not decide on how to use the medicine on your own benefit. Follow the instructions.

There are individuals that can be very lazy in taking their medicine. They usually convince themselves that is OK to skip some dose as long as they are still getting some of the drug. Instead of taking a medicine three times a day, they take it twice or once a day. Then, if that dosage regimen doesn’t work, they blame the drug and consider it weak.

Alarmingly, there are still some who would double a drug dose just to obtain a faster relief. While this can be possible, an improper drug use such as overdosing can also lead to serious side-effects.

  • Do not have second thoughts. Talk to the pharmacist.

Pharmacists can be very busy people. But, while drug counseling is still one of their jobs, patients or customers are their main priority. Do not hesitate to make inquiries on your prospect drug products. Pharmacist can help you in two ways:

  1. They can ease your mind. By letting a pharmacist clarify some information about the medicine you would use, you won’t have to worry that you bought the wrong drug.
  2. They can help you save money. If you want, a pharmacist can provide you drug equivalents that can be cheaper but with the same effect.
  • Drug allergies happen. Do not suffer in silence.

Whether it’s because of the colorants or the diluents used or the active ingredient of the medicine itself, drug allergies do happen. If you have experienced a skin allergy or other discomfort during the first dose, discontinue the drug and seek medical help as soon as possible. Never endure a drug allergy; your life could be at stake.

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OTC medications may have a decreased strength compared to prescription drugs. Zantac 150mg for instance, is normally an Rx type while the Zantac 75mg is regarded as an OTC. Non prescription types may cite less side-effect but we must remember that these medicines also have active constituents same as the prescription drugs and with this, the accompanying side-effects. It is unfortunate that all medications have unpleasant reactions and although some individuals may not experience some of the discomfort, there are others that can be greatly affected.

Reference:

Smart Medicine by Peter Weaver

Pharmacy Manufacturing Practice 5th Edition

Related articles:

Medicine Myths

Things to Consider Before Taking Any Medicine

On Managing Drug Side-Effects

Erroneous, Violative or Impossible Prescription

Captopril, Salicylic Acid, Isosorbide Mononitrate and Other Drug Mix-Ups

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