Some of the safest drugs are allowed to be sold in a pharmacy without a doctor’s prescription. Nevertheless, in many pharmacies (especially online ones) you can buy over-the-counter even prescription medications. It concerns antibiotics as well.
Someone may find this convenient. Of course, you don’t have to wait hours in queue and pay for consulting in a private clinic, but your health can be the price of such comfort. Only a licensed doctor should prescribe prescription drugs.
OTC drugs are usually used to relieve the symptoms of colds or flu, headaches. They help to treat heartburn, belching and some other conditions.
Before buying a medicine without a prescription, make sure that you can use it without previous consulting. Check the necessary information, asking pharmacist to show the instructions for this drug.
Get informed about an OTC medicine
OTC medications are provided with appropriate medicine labels, informing you about the drug and its using. You can get the following information:
- What is active agent of the drug and what are its inactive components;
- What is the target aim of the use of medication;
- Possible side effects and interactions with other drugs;
- The way you should use it;
- Other facts.
If you want to find out the necessary information at home, look at the Drugs or Medscape website (there you will find the most complete information about medicines). Some drugs have sites or are provided with hotline phone number that is usually indicated on the package. Feel free to call and ask questions.
If the drug is intended for a child, you need to be particularly vigilant as some over-the-counter medicines can cause severe side effects in children.
To avoid undesirable consequences, while taking over-the-counter drugs, observe several rules:
1. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not take any medications including vitamins, herbal remedies, and dietary supplements without consulting a doctor.
2. Make a list of all the drugs that you take, including dietary supplements, and vitamins. The list should be shown to the doctor or pharmacist, so that he /she determines if the simultaneous use of these medicines will be safe.
3. If you buy a non-prescription drug without consulting your doctor, make sure that there is your disease or condition in the “Indications” section of the instruction. Don’t buy RX drugs as OTC ones (such as Viagra over the counter).
4. Check the purchased medicine. Some trade names are consonant, but drugs contain different active substances. Do not buy medicine, paying attention only to the appearance of the package. All that glitters is not gold.
5. Before taking the drug, read trade name on the package carefully. Control yourself by answering the questions: what kind of medicine is it, what treatment is it intended for, how to use it correctly.
6. To avoid overdose, check the active ingredients (international names) of all medications taken. For example, Viagra’s active agent is sildenafil. Do not use two medicines with identical active substance at the same time, this can lead to the development of side effects.
7. Strictly observe the rules of storage of the medicine, which are indicated on the packaging and in the user’s manual. Violation of the rules of storage and use of the drug with expired shelf-life leads to a decrease in the effectiveness of the drug and an increased risk of undesirable consequences.
8. Keep the medicine in the same package you have purchased it in. After reading the user’s manual, put it back in the package.
9. Keep medicines away from children and pets.
Recommendations for using
Swallowing Pills. If you can not swallow pills, try to find the other way of using with the help of your doctor or pharmacist. The medication can be presented in the liquid form or, maybe, you will be allowed to crush the tablet before taking. Anyway, don’t break or chew the pill without consulting with your doctor.
Eating habits. Dietary regime influences the way the drug will act in your body (for example, Canadian pharmacy Viagra action may be affected by fatty products). Tell the specialist about all your food preferences of peculiars of your diet (for example, you may be on low-fat diet). Inform your doctor about your bad habits (drinking too much alcohol or coffee, smoking etc.). Also, tell about your previous and other current diseases and what drugs you take for treating them.
Talk to your doctor if taking an OTC drug becomes a habit. Most OTC drugs are not allowed to be taken regularly.