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, overdose may occur.
Some medicines should only be used by adults or older
children. Be sure to read the package instructions carefully , or ask a
pharmacist 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
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
tips on how to avoid common
And find out the safest way to throw away medicines that are expired or no longer used. Use these drug disposal tips to help prevent people and animals from taking medicines that aren't intended for them:
- Find out if your local trash and recycle center offers a medicine take-back program. Ask your pharmacist if he or she knows of one. This is the best way to safely throw away medicines.
- If there is not a take-back program near you, follow these steps to throw away medicine with the rest of your garbage:
- Mix medicine with a substance that doesn't taste good, such as cat litter, sawdust, or coffee grounds. Do not crush tablets or capsules.
- Place the mixture in a container, such as a sealed plastic bag.
- Put the container in your household trash.
Some common nonprescription medicines
- Antacids and acid reducers.
agents, laxatives, and stool
- Cold and allergy
- 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.