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Nonprescription Medicines

What are nonprescription medicines?

Nonprescription medicines can be purchased in a drug store or grocery store without a prescription from a healthcare provider. Hundreds of medicines are available for most minor illnesses and injuries. The best way to make sure that a medicine is right for you is to talk to your healthcare provider or a pharmacist.

Just as your healthcare provider gives you prescription drugs only for specific problems, you should use nonprescription medicines only for simple health problems that don’t require seeing your provider. For example, you might use them for mild headache, occasional heartburn, constipation, or a cold.

What else do I need to know about these medicines?

  • Follow the directions that come with your medicine, including information about food or alcohol. Make sure you know how and when to take your medicine. Do not take more or less than you are supposed to take.
  • If you take prescription medicine, try to get all of your prescriptions filled at the same place that you get your nonprescription medicine. Your pharmacist can help make sure that all of your medicines are safe to take together.
  • Keep a list of your medicines with you. List all of the prescription medicines, nonprescription medicines, supplements, natural remedies, and vitamins that you take. When you are buying nonprescription medicines, take your list with you and ask the pharmacist if there are any possible interactions between your regular medicines and the medicines you are about to buy.
  • Tell all healthcare providers who treat you about all of the products you are taking.
  • Many medicines have side effects. A side effect is a symptom or problem that is caused by the medicine. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist what side effects the medicine may cause and what you should do if you have side effects.

If you have any questions, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for more information. Be sure to keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-07-31
Last reviewed: 2014-07-31
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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