OTC Medications – What You Need to Know

OTC MedicationsYou can buy over-the-counter (OTC) medicines without a prescription from a doctor. Oftentimes, these convenient options can help you feel better by preventing or treating health issues like allergy symptoms, headaches, itching, nausea, constipation, cold and flu symptoms, and minor aches and pains. However, even though OTC medications are readily accessible, they still involve some risks. For instance, some OTC drugs can cause side effects or interact with other drugs, as well as certain foods and supplements.

To lower your chance of experiencing an adverse reaction to an OTC medication, here are some tips:

  • If you are currently taking any prescription drugs, other OTC medications, vitamins, or supplements, or if you had an adverse reaction to any medicine in the past, speak with a doctor or pharmacist before you begin taking a new OTC drug.
  • Carefully read the drug facts label and make sure you understand any warnings and possible side effects (consult with a doctor or pharmacist if you have questions).
  • Take the medication exactly as instructed on the label or by a physician, including the dosage, timing, frequency, and duration.
  • If the drug is in capsule form, do not take the capsules apart unless this use is approved by a physician.
  • Do not mix the medicine with foods or drinks (unless the label specifies otherwise).
  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages while taking medication.
  • Limit your use of OTC medications, reserving them for times that you really need them.

When taking any type of medication – OTC or prescription – you should always pay close attention to any changes in your body and how you feel. If you experience anything unusual, contact a health care professional right away to discuss your symptoms. Also, keep in mind that even if you didn’t experience a reaction to a medicine in the past, you could still have a reaction to the same medicine now.

If you have questions about an OTC medication that you’re currently taking or planning to take, you can speak with a doctor at South Tampa Immediate Care. No appointments are necessary at our walk-in clinic, where you will be seen by a doctor who is experienced in diagnosing and treating a variety of common health conditions.