It is common for people to buy over the counter medication since they do not need a prescription to get the medicines. The people who are more at risk are the children elderly people, pregnant and breastfeeding women. It is necessary that one be aware of the dangers that could arise from this. This is because over the counter drugs are not for treatment of serious conditions since they can worsen the conditions instead of making one feel better. One should take caution when buying over the counter medicine as discussed below.
Effects of over the counter medicines
Some of the OTC medicines may have some active ingredients which may be found in the other drugs they are taking. This makes them have an overdose of the ingredient which may be harmful.
Some of the drugs may interact adversely with the OTC medication. One should always tell the doctor if they have taken any such drugs so that the doctor will know what to prescribe and at what doses. The people to watch out for when buying OTC drugs are;
Pregnant and breastfeeding women
When a pregnant woman takes medicine, the drugs will reach the fetus through the placenta. Those breastfeeding may also pass the drugs to the baby by breast milk. These drugs may harm the baby and for some may cause a miscarriage. When buying these drugs, one should check to ensure that the drugs do not have a warning for use if one is pregnant. The most common drugs are the antihistamines, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and allergy drugs.
With aging come problems to metabolize drugs. Also, aging comes with many age-related diseases which may require one to take more than one drug at a time. This may cause drug interactions when the drugs are combined with some over the counter drugs which should not be combined hence causing these interactions whose results may be fatal. Some of the OTC drugs that may be harmful to older people include analgesics which may cause peptic ulcers; some antihistamines may also cause enlargement of the prostate gland. When antihistamines are combined with other drugs, they may lead to blurred vision, frequent urination, and even confusion. One should mention any other drugs being taken by the elderly person to the pharmacist when buying OTC drugs.
People with chronic conditions
People with chronic conditions may make the conditions worse if they take OTC drugs inappropriately. This is because over the counter medication is meant for people who are healthy and are only for occasional use. They may mask the whole condition making it difficult to manage or make it advance to advanced stages. One should consider talking to a doctor first before making any purchases.
Children do metabolize drugs differently from adults. A drug may be used for long before its effects on the children are discovered. Some of the OTC medications have not been tested on children even though there are doses for children. This may make it hazardous to the children. Some do not even have a dosage for children if one comes across such a drug it is better and safer to consult a doctor for more clarification.