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Over-the-Counter Medicines

Use Medicines Safely

Medicines can help you feel better and get well. Learn how to use medicines safely and prevent medication problems and mistakes.

Review Date: December 17, 2014

National Health Information Center - NHIC
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Acetaminophen and Liver Injury: Q & A for Consumers

Acetaminophen is a pain medication generally considered safe when used as directed. However, taking more than the recommended amount can cause liver damage, ranging from abnormalities in liver function blood tests, to acute liver failure, and even death.

Review Date: August 07, 2012

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Consumer Information: Safe Use of Over-the-Counter Drug Products

Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs products are those drugs that are available to consumers without a prescription. The FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research oversees OTC drugs and offers these consumer guidelines.

Review Date: February 08, 2011

Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Daily Aspirin Therapy: Understand the Benefits and Risks

Daily aspirin therapy may lower your risk of heart attack and stroke, but daily aspirin therapy isn't for everyone. Ask your medical provider if it is right for you.

Review Date: December 01, 2014

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research

Drug Interactions: What You Should Know

If you take several different medicines, see more than one doctor, or have certain health conditions, you and your doctors need to be aware of all the medicines you take.

Review Date: October 12, 2011

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Drugs@FDA

Search this catalog of FDA approved drug products for information on approved and tentatively approved prescription, generic, over-the-counter, and discontinued drugs. Drug Approval Reports are also provided.

Review Date: December 20, 2012

Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Expiration Dates Matter (Video)

If your medicine has expired, it may not provide the treatment you need. This FDA video explains how expiration dates help determine if medicine is safe to use and will work as intended.

Review Date: June 29, 2011

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Getting High on Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drugs Is Dangerous- (PDF)

This document explains to parents the dangers of teenagers abusing prescription drugs and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Includes warning signs that your child may be using prescription or OTC drugs to get high.

Review Date: April 11, 2012

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - SAMHSA
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Got a Sick Kid? Don’t Guess. Read the Label.

When it comes to taking medicines, kids aren’t just small adults. When using nonprescription medicines, here are 10 ways to be sure you’re giving your children the right medicine and the right amount.

Review Date: July 18, 2011

Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Medicines In My Home- (PDF)

Learn about the drug facts label, how to measure liquid medicine, tips for using medicine safely, and more.

Review Date: February 24, 2012

Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

My Medicine List

“My Medicine List™” can help you keep track of everything you take to keep you healthy, including pills, vitamins, and herbs. Having a list of all your medicines in one place also helps your doctor, pharmacist, hospital, or other healthcare workers take better care of you.

Review Date: February 07, 2011

American Society of Health-System Pharmacists

Over-the-Counter Medicines that Can Potentially Contribute to Reye's Syndrome Problems- (PDF)

This list of over-the-counter medicines includes those that contain aspirin products, and therefore, might contribute to Reye's Syndrome.

Review Date: December 09, 2012

National Reye's Syndrome Foundation

Pregnancy, Nursing and the Safe Use of OTC Medicines (Video)

This brief video provides pregnant and nursing mothers with tips on using over-the-counter medicines safely. The tips include advice on treating common ailments experienced during pregnancy, such as backaches, heartburn, nausea, colds and allergies.

Review Date: October 16, 2012

Consumer Healthcare Products Association

Safe Use of Medicines

Read this booklet for practical tips to make sure you are taking all your medicines the right way. Hear how other older adults practice medicine safety. Share this booklet with your family and friends.

Review Date: October 07, 2014

NIH National Institute on Aging Information Center

Taking Aspirin to Prevent Heart Attacks

Should you take aspirin? It’s always a good idea to talk with your provider before taking aspirin to prevent a heart attack.

Review Date: February 07, 2012

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Taking Aspirin to Prevent Strokes

Should you take aspirin? It’s always a good idea to talk with your provider before taking aspirin to prevent a stroke or heart attack.

Review Date: March 18, 2013

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Ten Tips to Prevent an Accidental Overdose

For a medicine to work for you—and not against you—you’ve got to take the right dose. Learn how to to avoid giving too much or too little of an over-the-counter medicine.

Review Date: January 28, 2013

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Tips for Talking with Your Pharmacist to Learn How to Use Medicines Safely

Your pharmacist can help you learn how to use your prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines safely. Make sure you inform your pharmacist about all the prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, herbals, and other supplements you use.

Review Date: February 24, 2012

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Use Caution with Pain Relievers

The Food and Drug Administration warns consumers that all over-the-counter pain relievers should be taken with care to avoid serious problems that can occur with misuse.

Review Date: May 27, 2011

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

What's Your AQ? (Acetaminophen Safe Use Quiz)- (PDF)

This acetaminophen quiz is geared toward college students. Test your knowledge by completing the brief survey. Check true or false to see how much you know. Then see if you’ve answered correctly.

Review Date: May 01, 2012

National Council on Patient Information and Education

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