Wednesday, July 24, 2013

No prescription needed, but common sense is

OTC--means over the counter drugs. No doc visit, no 'script. But this is still medicine and can be powerful or dangerous in combination or even alone.

The other day a friend called me from the store--she said she had a cough--and her cart had nighttime cough medicine, daytime, decongestants, and some other nostrums. I said don't take all that stuff--go to urgent care. She did and needed antibiotics--if it had been a viral cold it was now bacterial bronchitis.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) causes 200 liver failures a year. Eight extra-strength pills a day and ruin your liver. Your prescription drugs may also contain it--upping your daily amount. Ask the pharmacist.

I take three in the AM and gut out the arthritis pain the rest of the day--and I worry about that.

Diet aids, laxatives,herbal diuretics, motion sickness meds--all of these are commonly misused.

Cold medications can also raise blood pressure.

You would not take any of these if they did nothing--and often what they do is negative. Just because the FDA lets you get them without consulting a doctor does not mean they are candy.

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