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Prescription (Rx) Terms

Medication Basics

Tell Your Doctor

Dos and Don’ts

OTC Medicines

Your Home Pharmacy

Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medicines

Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are ones that you can get without a prescription. In general, they are less potent than prescribed ones.

Use OTC Medicines Wisely

•  Ask your doctor what OTC products you should avoid and which ones are safe for you to use. These include herbal products and supplements. Find out what your doctor prefers you take for pain and fever. Ask your pharmacist if an OTC medicine is safe for you to take with your prescribed medicines.

•  Do not exceed the dose on a label or take OTC medicines on a regular basis unless your doctor tells you to.

•  If you have an allergy to a medicine, check for it in the list of ingredients on all medicines.

•  Read information and warnings on the label to help you decide whether or not the product is safe for you to take. Check with your doctor or pharmacist, too. For information on reading OTC medicine labels, access www.fda.gov. Search for “Over-the-Counter Medicine Label.”

•  Don’t take an OTC medicine if you are pregnant or nursing a baby unless your doctor says it is okay.

•  Be sure to store medicines in a convenient dry place, out of children’s reach.

•  Don’t ever tell children that medicine is candy.

•  Before you take an OTC medicine, check the expiration date. Replace items as needed.

Image of Rx and pill bottles.

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