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Savvy Shopping Tips for OTC Medicines

What you need to know before going to the drugstore.

A Final Word About the Difference Between OTC and Prescription Versions of a Drug

Many drugs that you could once only buy with a prescription are now available without one. “The dose may have been cut,” says Calhoun, “to increase the safety.” For example, when ibuprofen was a prescription-only drug, it was sold in 400, 600, and 800 milligram doses. But as an OTC pain remedy, it is sold in 200 milligram doses. Some drugs, though, are exactly the same dosage over-the-counter as they were in prescription form. “This means,” Calhoun says, “that the FDA has determined the drug is safe and it is OK to make the choice to use it on your own.”

Reviewed on July 08, 2009

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