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Be Cautious When Using OTC (Over The Counter) Drugs

Written by
Dr. Senduran N
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on Sep 22, 2014 and last reviewed on Sep 13, 2019   -  2 min read



Do you take OTC drugs often without consulting a doctor? Learn about the detrimental effects these drugs on your health.

Be Cautious When Using OTC (Over The Counter) Drugs

There are a number of patients just consuming the OTC drugs, whenever they wish without knowing the risks and long term effects involved with it.

For Example:

1. Paracetamol:

  • This drug is recommended for fever and raised temperature.
  • Actually, our body's protective mechanism has the ability to destroy the toxins and other infectious particles in the body.
  • Antipyretics like paracetamol (acetaminophen) need not be taken if temperature is mildy high say (99-100 degree fahrenheit).
  • Supportive measures like tepid sponging would be enough.
  • The dose should be appropriate according to the body weight (on an average 10 to15 mg/kg/dose) and the maximum advisable dose is 3-4 grams/day if temperature is persistenly high above 101-102 degree fahrenheit, under physician's opinion.
  • High dose of paracetamol has the ability to cause acute liver failure (even coma if left untreated) and long term (excessive) use can even lead to cirrhosis (liver disease).

2. Antitussives (cough suppressants):

  • Codeine containing oral suspensions, diphenhydramine containing syrups have the potential to cause CNS depression (Central Nervous System depression) and also has addiction liability.
  • It is preferable as a short term aid with appropriate frequency and dosing.
  • Do not use unknowingly other drugs containing the same ingredient concomitantly.
  • Keep these medicines out of reach of children.
  • Be cautious if you are suffering from any cardiovascular disease, respiratory problems and consult your physician before its use.

3. Anti-inflammatory agents and analgesics (pain killers):

  • Avoid frequent intake of NSAID's (Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs) like brufen, diclofenac tablets.
  • Limit for 2-3 days as it can disrupt the gastrointestinal protective mucous layer and cause ulcers when used long term, sometimes short term too.
  • When patients are on short term treatment with NSAID's usually antacids are prescribed to prevent gastric ulcer.
  • Newer generation NSAID's like Celecoxib can be preferred under physician's opinion which are relatively safe than the old ones.
  • NSAID's should be avoided in asthmatic patients and elderly patients.

Be aware of many such drugs like antidiarrhoeal (Loperamide), stimulant laxatives (like bisacodyl) etc., which are readily available in the pharmacy.

It is not advisable to consume regularly without getting a doctor's opinion which may result in other more dangerous effects than the actual one.

"Prevention is better than cure".

Consult a general practitioner online to know more about the detrimental effects of over usage of OTC drugs -->


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Last reviewed at:
13 Sep 2019  -  2 min read


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