Excerpted from "A Year of Health Hints"
365 Practical Ways to Feel Better and Live Longer
Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are widely advertised in
magazines and on TV and are consumed by millions of people.
Generally less potent than prescription drugs, they can be taken
without the authorization of a doctor. But before purchasing an
over-the-counter remedy, ask yourself::
Am I trying to
cover up symptoms that need to be evaluated by a doctor?
Will continued use
cause new problems (dependency on laxatives or sleeping pills,
Are there unwanted
side effects from these drugs (for example, increased blood
Do I already have
a similar product at home?
Often, reading the package labels--or looking up the name of
the drug in the Physician's Desk Reference for
Nonprescription Drugs, can help you answer these questions.
Keep in mind, too, that when taken in large quantities, an OTC
drug might equal the dose of a medicine that is available only by
If there is any uncertainty in your mind whether or not a
particular OTC medication will help or harm you, call and check
with your doctor before you purchase it.