Many people think overdoses and interactions are caused mainly by prescriptions, but over-the-counter (OTC) medications are also responsible for many hospital trips and even fatalities, so it is important to know these guidelines before using:
Think Before Reaching for OTC Medications out of Habit
OTC drugs also carry significant risks if misused such as internal bleeding or liver damage. There are many that can interact with prescribed, worsen pre-existing conditions, or conflict with other commonly used OTC medications.
Always Check the Ingredients
Aside from checking for potential allergenic filler ingredients, you should also know how much of the active ingredient is in each medication you’re taking as it is easier to overdose on OTC medications than you may think. For example, acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) is camouflaged in many OTC and prescription medications such as decongestants and cold medicine. In fact, over 600 North American medications
contain acetaminophen! So if you are taking the maximum dose of extra strength Tylenol for aches and pains, along with another acetaminophen-containing medication you may be risking serious problems.
Check Your Prescriptions First
Some OTC medications can be dangerous when combined with prescription medications or for people with certain health conditions. Many people who take medications for cardiovascular disease shouldn’t take non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs).
Make Sure All Medications Are Out of Reach of Children and Pets
Even 1 pill or supplement can harm a child, let alone if they happen to get into a whole bottle. Keep your medications tucked away on a high shelf or in a cabinet that can’t be accessed by little ones.
Treat Supplements Like Medications
Supplements can also be dangerous when taken incorrectly or with the wrong medications or medical conditions. Some supplements can even render your medication ineffective. For example, many people are unaware that John’s Wort
interferes with the effectiveness of birth control. It is important to tell your doctor about any supplements you are taking or wish to take.
Well there you have our medication do’s and don’ts! Thanks for visiting EMC!