Medicines that you can buy at a drugstore, supermarket, or other retail outlet without a prescription are known as over-the-counter (or OTC) medications. OTC medications can help ease pain and relieve symptoms of colds, allergies, and other minor illnesses and conditions. However, because of their easy access and lower level of oversight, OTC medications can become dangerous if used improperly.
Following these tips can help you stay safe while using over-the-counter medicines.
- 1 Check packaging to make sure seals are intact before the first use.
- 2 Follow the instructions provided with the medication.
- 3 Talk to a doctor or pharmacist if you do not understand what an OTC medication is intended to accomplish.
- 4 Never increase dosage or take doses more frequently than instructed.
- 5 Be aware of any side effects, and contact your doctor or emergency services if side effects persist.
- 6 When taking multiple OTC medications, be aware of any interactions.
- 7 Most OTC medications are designed for temporary relief of minor symptoms or conditions; if symptoms continue, consult your doctor.
- 8 Dispose of expired or unidentifiable OTC medicines responsibly.
- Seals and packaging are not damaged or broken.
- I am aware of relevant side effects and interactions.
- I understand the dosage amount and frequency.
- Expired or unknown OTC medicines are disposed of properly.