OTC drugs stand for “over-the-counter drugs.” These are the drugs you buy from the medical stores without any prescription by the doctor. These drugs generally relieve pain, aches, itches, and allergy, etc.
There are many readily available over-the-counter medications that cure diseases, like tooth decay or athlete's foot. Others help manage recurring problems, like a migraine. However, taking OTC drugs has its risks. It is said that 81 percent of adults use OTC drugs as a first response because it is easy to self-medicate.
Tips for OTC Drugs
- Everybody should read the box for actual directions on over the counter medicines. There are carefully crafted warning on the medicines about how to use and when.
- The dose should also be read carefully because they may have side effects.
- Take extra precautions if you have a medical condition.
Benefits of OTC Drugs
The major benefit is the ease of availability for common things like cold, allergies or aches. You can simply go to the drug store/ pharmacy and get them. It is quick, convenient and easy. These products can also be cost effective and drug stores may offer their own version of the drug at a cheaper cost.
Dangers of OTC Drugs
There are more than three hundred thousand drug products on the market today but doctors are warning of the risks. Since it is convenient to self-prescribe these medications it is easy to suffer from unintended side effects. When a woman is on her period it is very tempting to overprescribe on Advil, Midol, Tylenol, etc, in order to treat period symptoms.
Some OTC drugs can be dangerous and life-threatening. It’s always important to consult your physician before taking OTC drugs. People with the following issues are at greater risk in this regard.
- Bleeding disorder.
- Breathing problem.
- Enlarged prostate gland.
- Blood clotting disorder.
- People with kidney or lung problems.
- People with liver problems.
- Psychiatric problems.
- People with immune system problems.
Acetaminophen is a common medicine that is being used to treat discomfort. It is said that around 1,400 people have died because of overdosing this medicine. It has directly affected liver cells. If overdosed you'd require an immediate liver transplant. Following are some of the symptoms of liver toxicity:
- Abdominal pain.
To avoid the above problem it is recommended to either take a daily dose up to 3000 mg or find a natural remedy.
It prevents heart attacks and strokes. It helps relieve inflammation in the uterus during menstruation. This is a great way to treat period symptoms. However, there are some risks to this medicine. If overdosed, this can seriously cause the following:
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Stomach ulcers
- May trigger asthma
- Overdosing can cause tinnitus (ringing in the ear) leading to hearing loss
- May result in kidney disorder/ failure
- Liver injury
Again, there are plenty of natural remedies, derived from plants that can give the same effect you are looking for without the negative side-effects.
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs (NSAID)
These medicines relieve pain/ reduce inflammation. It is recommended by doctors to not to exceed the dose limit per day by more than 1,200 mg. However, it has been emphasized to not take it every day. It can badly damage the health if overdosed. If overdosed it can cause the following problems:
- High blood pressure.
- Risk of heart attacks.
- Stomach bleeding.
- Kidneys disorder.
Another major problem is not following the directions/ not reading the labels. It could result in severe health damage.
It is very important to take medicine correctly, and also be very careful when giving them to children. OTC drugs should not be taken in a higher/ longer dose than the label recommends. Since it is very easy to take more than recommended it is safe to say we need more natural remedies that can do the same job. If the symptoms still don't go away even after the medicines, it is a clear signal that it's time to see your doctor.