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
Q: Are generic versions of drugs really just as good (and safe) as
their brand-name counterparts?
A: Yes, for many reasons. Today, almost half of all prescriptions in
the United States are filled with generic drugs. They are less expensive and
often require a lower co-pay if you have insurance, which could mean big cost
savings for you. Generic drug manufacturers don’t have the initial investment
costs associated with development of a new drug. Original manufacturers are
given a patent...
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
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.