Things To Keep In Mind Before Opting For Otc Drugs

OTC drug

Not all drugs require a prescription from your physician. OTC drugsare safe and helpful for the general public. But one still needs to take preventive measures while taking such medications.

This article provides you with all the essential information regarding considerations while taking an OTC drug.

What are OTC drugs?

OTC is a short form used for the Over The Counter drugs. These are readily available and are known for their effective results with or without very fewer side effects. There are around 80+ classes of OTC Drugs and medicines available in the US. These range from painkillers to weight loss to acne medicines.

OTC drugsare not such a headache because they could be used without seeking a health professional (not recommended). Most of them include pain killers, cough suppressants, antihistamines, weight loss products, beauty products, etc. They are readily available in pharmacies and general stores. You can even find some of them displayed at gas stations. They are not for a disease but can treat symptoms like diarrhea, aches, cold, cough, acne, constipation, heartburn, acidity, etc.

How to select an OTC drug?

OTC drugs are available under different brand names, store brand names, and generic names. But don’t get confused because the brand, store, and generic names contain the same salt or active ingredients that have identical action on the body.

The thing you should keep in mind while selecting is to read the labels carefully and check the salt or active ingredient present in them. For instance, you need an OTC drug for fever and pain; then you should look for medicines that contain Acetaminophen, Salicylic acid is also called, aspirin and ibuprofen.

Are there any side effects of OTC drugs?

For as long as the medications have been manufactured adhering to OTC drug approval and compliance, they are safe to use but you still need to be cautious. After all prevention is better than cure. They may impose significant side effects on a person. In some cases, it may interact with your prescribed medicines. For instance, a patient prescribed with warfarin, i.e., a blood thinner is at risk of ulcers, bleeding if they take ibuprofen (OTC) without consulting his physician.

You can avoid such side effects by reading the labels carefully. Make sure their ingredients are particular about the dosage and frequency and never forget to go through the precautions section. If you still have some concerns and queries regarding an OTC drug or supplement, don’t hesitate to contact your physician or clear it from the pharmacist.  

Who should avoid taking OTC medications without prescriptions?

OTC medications if appropriately used by healthy adults, have lower risks of any side effects. However, people suffering from serious health issues or conditions are at high risks of getting affected by such medications. Your children, older people, or people taking a regularly prescribed medicine need to be very particular about taking any OTC drug. Additionally, people suffering from any of the below-given conditions are also at higher risks:

• Blood clotting or using medicines to cure it

• Asthma

• Patients dealing with breathing problems

• Diabetes mellitus

• Bleeding disorders

• Epilepsy

• Glaucoma

• Any heart disease

• High blood pressure

• Gout

• Kidney disorders

• Liver disorders

• Parkinson’s Disease

• Thyroid

• Psychiatric issues or taking medications regarding it

• Immune System Disorder, etc.

Anyone can experience the adverse effects of OTC medications; however, these people are likely at a greater risk.

Bottom Line: Most of the OTC medicines are efficient to cure the symptoms related to a common health condition such as fever, cough, headache. In case of regular symptoms, it’s better to consult a doctor rather than taking OTC medications for it.

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