Over-The-Counter Medications: How To Choose What’s Right For You?


When you are feeling under the weather, one of the things that you can do is to take medicine. Not all medicine needs to come from a doctor’s prescription and can be purchased over the counter. Here are some key tips to consider first when you are buying medication and drugs at your local pharmacy.

Understanding Your Symptoms

One of the first things that you need to consider when you are shopping for over-the-counter medications is to understand what is going on with you and your symptoms. You need to evaluate your symptoms in order to know how to treat them. There are many different medications that provide different relief and solutions to a multitude of problems. As soon as you know what is wrong, it is much easier to figure out what medications you need. Of course, you need to be cautious as well, especially when you are self-diagnosing, as you may end up taking medications that you don’t ultimately need, as well as lead to certain problems with unexpected side effects as a result of what you took.

Reading and reviewing health risks

Once you know what is wrong with you or someone that you are caring for, you will figure out how to treat it with specific medications. They will list the different symptoms that they address often on the box. Be sure to read and review carefully as much as you can. Although over-the-counter medication is part of minor condition services, and provides smaller risks, you still need to have some caution with anything you put into your body. Whenever you are looking at a certain medication, be sure to not just read what they treat, but also the back of the packaging that will often list the ingredients, as well as potential side effects. Even if you aren’t able to understand what the different ingredients are, it is always a good idea to take a look, as certain medications will advise against using when mixed with other drugs and ingredients.

Knowing your allergies

In addition to considering all the potential risks and side effects, you also need to ensure that you carefully examine certain medications for potential risks against you if you have any sort of allergies. This returns the onus of the consumer to be mindful of ingredients, not just for dangers in mixing drugs, but also potentially increased risks due to allergens that would impact someone if they were to take a certain over-the-counter medication.

Specific medication versus umbrella medicines

When you are shopping for medications, it is common to see certain products that provide umbrella solutions. These range from cough and cold types of medications, to all-in-one allergy pills or other drugs. Although these may have some effectiveness, it is important to consider that umbrella medications may not be as impactful as you might initially perceive them to be. You can’t expect an all-in-one drug to be as effective at treating certain illnesses and conditions as you would find with drugs that are made and prescribed with a singular purpose, as these types of drugs have a more focused purpose, providing a solution to a more specific symptom or problem.

A distinction between vitamins supplements and other medicine

Consider differences in the different drugs and medications you will find at your local pharmacy or drugstore. Vitamins and health pills aren’t regulated the way other medications are. Although they still adhere to certain regulations, they don’t go through the same type of testing and approval processes. It is important that you remember to differentiate the uses for supplements and how they differ from medications from their intended uses as well.

Ask the pharmacist

Ultimately, if you are concerned about your health, looking for different medications at a drugstore or pharmacy, but don’t know exactly what to take, you should consult the medical professional available in the vicinity. This means that you should ask the pharmacist for help, as they will be able to tell you the types of medications you are looking for in terms of what symptoms you want to treat and alleviate.

Consult your doctor

Of course, if you are concerned about your health, you should always inform your doctor. If you are taking certain over-the-counter medications, you should inform your physician. If you are considering medication, consult your doctor first to determine if it is okay to take for your needs. Together, you can also figure out the best path in terms of regularity and if symptoms still linger after taking different medications and treatments.

Be sure to monitor your health closely when you are taking over-the-counter drugs. Consult medical professionals if symptoms worsen or if your illness or pain does not subside. These types of drugs do provide relief in most cases, and you shouldn’t be hesitant to use many of the safe and tested medications out there.