As a community pharmacy, Drug Mart Pharmacy knows how important it is for our patients to have accurate and reliable information about their medications. That's why we'd like to take a moment to address some common misconceptions about over-the-counter (OTC) medications.
OTC medications can be incredibly helpful when used properly, but there are many myths and misunderstandings about these drugs that can lead to harmful consequences. Here are five of the most common misconceptions about OTC medications, and the truth behind each one.
- OTC medications are completely safe because they don't require a prescription. While OTC medications are generally considered to be safe for most people, this does not mean that they are completely free of risks. All medications have the potential to cause side effects, and OTC medications are no exception. Furthermore, just because a medication is available without a prescription does not mean that it is safe for everyone to use. Some OTC medications can interact with other drugs you are taking, or they may be harmful if you have certain medical conditions. Always talk to your pharmacist before starting a new OTC medication, especially if you are taking other medications, have a medical condition, or are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- The recommended dose is the same for everyone, regardless of age, weight, or other factors. The recommended dose of an OTC medication is based on general population averages and may not be appropriate for everyone. Factors such as age, weight, and other medical conditions can impact how a medication is absorbed and metabolized by the body, and may affect the appropriate dose. Always read the label carefully and follow the recommended dose, or consult with your pharmacist for more specific recommendations based on your individual needs.
- It's okay to take OTC medications for long periods of time because they are not as strong as prescription medications. Just because OTC medications are available without a prescription does not mean they are not powerful drugs. Taking OTC medications for long periods of time can lead to unwanted side effects and may also cause your body to build up a tolerance to the drug, making it less effective over time. If you are taking an OTC medication for an extended period, it is important to speak with your pharmacist or doctor to ensure that the medication is still appropriate for your needs and to check for any potential side effects.
- If a medication is sold in a store, it must be safe and effective. Not all OTC medications are created equal. Just because a medication is available for purchase at a store does not guarantee that it is safe and effective. Some OTC medications may not have been properly tested or may contain ingredients that are not listed on the label. Before using any OTC medication, make sure to check the label for active ingredients and to follow the recommended dose. If you have any questions or concerns, speak with your pharmacist.
- If a medication is natural, it must be safe. Just because a medication is labeled as "natural" does not necessarily mean it is safe. Natural remedies can have powerful active ingredients that may interact with other medications you are taking or cause side effects. Additionally, "natural" remedies may not be regulated by the FDA, which means that the quality and consistency of these products may vary. If you are considering using a natural remedy, talk to your pharmacist or doctor to ensure that it is appropriate for your needs and will not interact with other medications you are taking.
OTC medications can be incredibly helpful for treating a variety of conditions, but it is important to have accurate and reliable information about these drugs. At Drug Mart Pharmacy, our pharmacists are always available to answer any questions you may have and help you choose the right OTC medication. Stop by our pharmacy in South Plainfield or call us at 908-561-5300.