Could Over-The-Counter Be Riskier Than We Might Think?

When it comes to how we take care of ourselves, especially through medication, people have a lot of choices nowadays. Even without a prescription, we have access to hundreds of choices of over-the-counter medications designed to treat all kinds of symptoms related to allergies, colds, flu, digestive troubles, and more. However, people sometimes assume that just because a medication is OTC, it comes with no risk. That’s not true at all and we need to get a closer look at those risks.

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Be careful when taking with other medications

Medicines, whether they are OTC or prescription, can influence each other and change how they work when they come in contact. These are called drug-drug interactions and they can be dangerous. If you take two medicines with anti-inflammatory properties, for instance, they can hurt your liver or kidneys. Drug effects can duplicate, cancel each other out, or wildly change how they work. This is even true of herbal and dietary supplements. If you’re taking any medication currently, check its known interactions before you take any OTC medicine at the same time. Aside from checking online, if you’re going through long-term treatment, you should consult your doctor with every new medication you consider.

They can interact with food, too

Drug-food interactions aren’t as common as drug-drug interactions, but they still happen. What you eat and drink can have an effect on the medication. This is why so many medications recommend you take them on an empty stomach or after eating. As such, a careful reading of the label is necessary when you’re ill and taking something to deal with it.

They may have side effects

It’s not practical to be overly concerned about every type of OTC medicine out there, but the side effects of some medications can be truly severe. Nausea, dizziness, sleepiness and the like are unpleasant enough, but some people are seeking Zantac cancer compensation after a heartburn medication was discovered to have some association with cancers. Check the FDA warnings for any concerns related to medications you might be about to take and do a little research in general before you try anything new. Drug manufacturers are required to list the potential side effects of their medicines before they hit the store shelves but they sometimes fail to be thorough enough.

You might be allergic to them

It’s not as common as any of the concerns above, but some people do have allergies to certain medications or ingredients in those medications. Be aware of and keep an eye out for any signs of an allergic reaction every time you take a new medication. If you are aware of an allergy that you have, be sure to keep an eye for the ingredients of any OTC drugs you take in the future and don’t take those that have the ingredient that you’re allergic to.

If you find yourself needing to rely on over-the-counter medication often, you should consider consulting your doctor about it and do our research on the specific medication. You may not need to worry too much about taking a paracetamol every now and then, but you should monitor your use with care.

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