Nonprescription Medicines and Products
A nonprescription medicine—sometimes called an over-the-counter, or OTC, medicine—is any drug that you can buy without a doctor's prescription. But don't assume that all nonprescription drugs are safe for you. These drugs can interact with other medicines and can sometimes cause serious health problems. And if you take more than the normal or recommended amount, Reference overdose Opens New Window may occur.
Some medicines should only be used by adults or older children. Be sure to read the package instructions carefully, or ask a Reference pharmacist Opens New Window before giving any product to an infant or young child. If you are pregnant, always check with your pharmacist or doctor before using any nonprescription medicine, to make sure it is safe to use during pregnancy.
Carefully read the label of any nonprescription drug you use, especially if you also take prescription medicines for other health problems. Ask your pharmacist for help in finding a nonprescription drug best suited to your needs. Use these Reference tips on how to avoid common medicine problems.
Some common nonprescription medicines include:
- Antacids and acid reducers.
- Bulking agents, laxatives, and stool softeners.
- Cold and allergy remedies.
- Pain relievers.
These drugs can be very helpful when used properly but can cause serious problems if used incorrectly. The following tips will help you use common nonprescription drugs wisely and safely. In some cases, you may find that you don't need to take them at all.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference July 6, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Margaret Hetherington, PHM, BsC - Pharmacy