Do you take any medication? Many conditions can be treated effectively by over the counter medicines. These are medications that patients can get without needing prescriptions. Many people make the assumption that because they can be bought at pharmacies without a prescription, they are safe to take without reading the label and in any quantity they want. These things are not true. While these drugs and treatments can be very helpful, there is right way to use them and a wrong way.

Today, there are more than 100,000 medications that can be purchased without a prescription from s physician. While anyone can buy them at any time at any pharmacy, they are still serious medications. Care needs to be taken when using them. When you go to your doctor, you need to let them know about any over the counter medicines you take on a regular basis. This needs to include the vitamins and/or minerals you take because they can interact with medication and the results can be dangerous.

Tips to taking over the counter medicines safely and effectively:

  1. Read the label. Read all of the label on any and all non-prescription drugs and treatments. At the very least, you need to pay close attention to the dose information. Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in Tylenol and is included in a number of medications for sleep and to treat colds and the flu. While it is one of the safest drugs on the market, it can do significant damage to your liver if you take too much. Taking the recommended dose, and not more, is very important. There is reason they have that there. That is the dose that has bee found to be effective at treating your problem.
  2. Pay attention to the warnings and interactions. There are a number of over the counter medicines and supplements that will interact with other prescription and non-prescription drugs. Ginkgo biloba is an herbal supplement that has a number of health benefits and many people across the planet use it safely and enjoy better health and wellness as a result. The problem is that it is also a blood thinner and can be dangerous for some people if they already take blood thinners (Warfarin or Coumadin, for example) or take aspirin for any reasons. If you have any questions about over the counter medicines and your current prescriptions, ask the pharmacist.
  3. Take care if you use more than one over the counter medicine. Talk to the pharmacist if you are taking more than one medication and/or mixing it with herbal supplements, vitamins or minerals. These can have dangerous and unpredictable results.
  4. Find over the counter medicines that treat your symptoms. If you are sore from working out, you can take a pain reliever but you probably do not need the sleep aid in Advil PM or Tylenol PM. Now there are a lot of medications that treat a variety of symptoms. Most of us have heard of the andldquo;The nighttime, sniffling, sneezing, aching, coughing, stuffy-head, fever, so you can rest medicine,” known as Nyquil. While you should try to take medicines that treat only the symptoms you have, if you look at that and think, ” I am not sniffling, maybe I should not take Nyquil,” relax. If you are concerned that you may take more than you need, talk to the pharmacist. They can help wit questions like this.
  5. Do not use over the counter medicines after their expiration date. When drug manufactures put that date there, they do it for a reason. Chemicals, all chemicals, break down. Diet soda has artificial sweeteners. The chemicals that make up these sweeteners breaks down over time in a way that does not happen with regular sugar. The same process works in your over the counter medicines (and any prescriptions you get). If you have medications in your home that have expired, you should throw them away in a place that your children and/or pets should not be able to get to them.

When used properly, over the counter medicines can be an important part of getting and staying healthy.

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