FOR YOUR HEALTH - Consumers should take time to read OTC drug labels to avoid harm
Story by: IACH
With the price of prescription medications skyrocketing, over-the-counter drugs can save money and the inconvenience of waiting in the doctor's office for minor ailments; however, if you're not taking the time to read all of the instructions and warnings on the Drug Fact Labels of these medications, you place yourself at risk of dangerous drug interactions, or, even, an overdose.
If you're like most people, when you get a common ailment like a cold or the flu, you go to the pharmacy section of your local grocery or discount store; looking for something – anything – you think will bring you relief from your symptoms. Reading the labels on the thousands of medications available can be very confusing, if not overwhelming.
To assist consumers in making wiser decisions about what medications to take and how to take them, the Food and Drug Administration established the over-the-counter Drug Facts Label. This standard label provides product information in an easy-to-read format, using simple language.
Here are some simple guidelines for use of over-the-counter medications:
• If you read an over-the-counter medicine label and are unsure if it's right for you, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or other health care professional.
• Make sure your health care provider is aware of any over-the-counter medicines you take.
• Over-the-counter medicines may cost more than generic prescription drugs with the same ingredients because over-the-counters are not generally covered by insurance.
Over-the-counter medicines are considered by the FDA to be safe and effective for the uses listed on the label. But keep in mind, you should read and understand the information on the Drug Fact Label before you take any over-the-counter medicine.