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Health Tip: Reduce Your Risk of Adverse Drug Reactions

Guidelines before you take an OTC drug

(HealthDay News) -- Over-the-counter (OTC) medications may be available without a prescription, but that doesn't mean they don't come with potential risks.

Here's advice on how to reduce your risk of adverse effects from OTC meds, courtesy of the American Academy of Family Physicians:

  • Only take an OTC medication if you really need it. Check with your doctor before you take such medication.
  • Read product labels to understand the ingredients, risks and how the medication works. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions. Take the medications exactly as instructed with any supplied measuring device.
  • Never mix a medication into food or drink unless the pharmacist or doctor says it's OK. Never take a medication with alcohol. If you take vitamins, don't take them at the same time as a medication.
  • Make a list of any adverse reactions you have with a medication, and discuss with your doctor.

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