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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Important Tips Before Using OTC Medications or Supplements

Definition:

Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines or products can be purchased without a prescription. According to the FDA, OTC medications tend to have more benefits than risks, a low risk for drug abuse, and are easy to select and use without the help of a healthcare professional. However, not all OTC medications or products really meet this criteria and can be dangerous if not used correctly.
  • Select a product that is intended to treat your symptom or symptoms with the least number of active ingredients to minimize risk for side effects or drug/nutrient interactions.
  • Follow the OTC medication's or supplement's label carefully with respect to directions or warnings.
  • Warnings may involve drug, food, disease interactions, cautions during pregnancy or certain age groups, or cautions regarding performing certain activities like driving or using heavy machinery.
  • If you have any medical concerns or questions, please consult a physician or pharmacist before starting a new OTC medication or supplement.
  • Store medications in a cool and dry place away out of reach of children.
  • Check the expiration date before starting any OTC product.
  • Always consult your physician or pharmacist if you are pregnant, breast feeding or taking a prescription medication before starting a new OTC drug therapy (since it could harm the unborn infant, enter the breast milk and potentially harm a breast fed baby or interact with your prescription medication).
  • It is also important to note the maximum number of doses you can use per day and the number of days you can use the product before needing to contact a physician.
  • It is important to remember that when people have decided to self-diagnose and medicate themselves using OTC products it may delay proper medical treatment. 

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