Over-the-counter drugs refer to drugs that consumers can buy directly from pharmacies or pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription, and are drugs that can be used safely without the guidance of a doctor. OTC (Over The Counter) is an abbreviation for over-the-counter drugs.
OTC drugs are divided into two categories according to their safety: Class A OTC drugs, the background color of the “OTC” logo on the packaging box is red, and can only be used in society with a “drug business license” and equipped with a licensed pharmacist or pharmacist or above. Pharmacy retail in pharmacies and medical institutions; Class B non-prescription drugs, the background color of the “OT C” logo on the packaging box is green, and its safety is higher than that of Class A. In addition to pharmacies and medical institution pharmacies, it can also be retailed in approved ordinary commercial enterprises .
Over-the-counter medicines mainly include cold medicines, antitussives, antipyretics, analgesics, laxatives, and topical medicines.
Common over-the-counter drugs include the following: cold and cough anti-allergic phenolic methamine tablets/suspension, loratadine tablets/syrup.
Antipyretic and analgesic ibuprofen sustained-release capsules, acetaminophen sustained-release tablets/suspension drops/suspension. Vitamins and minerals calcium carbonate D3 tablets, multi-dimensional element tablets.
Digestive domperidone tablets/suspension, hydrotalcite tablets.
Skin topical miconazole nitrate cream, compound dexamethasone acetate cream.
Pediatric vitamin AD drops, Bacillus subtilis dual live bacteria particles, etc.
Read the instructions carefully
Although the safety of over-the-counter drugs is good, we still need to read the instructions carefully when taking drugs, and pay particular attention to the contents of contraindications, bans and cautions in order to reduce the harm of drugs to the human body. Among them, banning means that it must not be used, otherwise the consequences may be very serious. Contraindication refers to not suitable for use or should be avoided, otherwise it may cause obvious adverse reactions and adverse consequences. And caution (often in precautions) means that it can be used with caution, the medication must be closely observed, and the medication should be stopped immediately if adverse reactions occur.
Do not change the dosage at will
When taking OTC drugs, the usage and dosage should be in accordance with the relevant requirements of the instructions. Do not rely on your own experience to blindly use the drugs, and do not increase or decrease the dose by yourself because of the worsening or alleviation of the disease.
The efficacy and toxic side effects of drugs are often closely related to the blood drug concentration. If the dose is increased randomly, the blood drug concentration may be too high, thereby increasing the risk of drug side effects and adverse reactions; and arbitrary reduction may also lead to the blood drug concentration. If it is too low, the effect is difficult to exert.
In addition, some patients find it troublesome to take the medicine in divided doses and often change the frequency of taking the medicine by themselves. For example, changing “2 times a day” to “1 time a day”, thinking that the effect of the medicine is the same when the total amount remains the same. As everyone knows, this approach is wrong. Because the number of doses is usually determined by the half-life of the drug in the body. The so-called half-life is the time it takes for the concentration of a drug to drop by half in the blood. The half-life of each drug is not the same, so the number and time of taking the drug cannot be changed at will.
Don’t stop the medication when your symptoms have improved. Some diseases require continuous treatment for a period of time to determine whether the disease has improved and whether the medication should be stopped.
Cannot be taken repeatedly or in combination
Sometimes when patients are taking OTC drugs, if the clinical symptoms do not improve, they want to add other related treatment drugs, hoping to achieve the goal of relieving symptoms as soon as possible. Among them, the most common is that cold patients take several cold medicines at the same time in order to get better faster. They believe that OTC medicines are relatively safe, and even if they are used in combination, they will not cause harm to the body.
Many cold medicines contain paracetamol, which can relieve fever or muscle aches caused by a cold when taken alone. However, if you take multiple cold medicines at the same time, it is easy to overdose paracetamol, which may lead to drug-induced liver damage. happened.
Be careful to keep OTC drugs
Many people are accustomed to storing similar OTC drugs at home to relieve mild symptoms when needed. When storing these drugs, be sure to pay attention to the expiry date and storage precautions in the drug insert.
The expiration date of a drug refers to the time required for the drug to decompose by 10% under the storage conditions specified in the instructions. Taking medicines beyond the prescribed period of validity may weaken the efficacy or cause harm to the body. If the drug is not stored under the “storage” conditions specified in the instructions, the drug may expire within the validity period. If the temperature, humidity, light, etc. are not suitable, some medicines may change, which is the main factor influencing the storage of medicines.
For medicines that need to be protected from light, the ultraviolet rays in the sun will accelerate their deterioration and reduce their efficacy. Especially in summer, it must be kept away from light.
The storage temperature of medicines is usually divided into the following levels:
1. Room temperature refers to a temperature of 10°C to 30°C. If there is no special requirement for general medicines, they can be stored at room temperature. Such medicines include cough syrup, certain eye drops, topical creams and so on.
2. In a cool place, the temperature does not exceed 20°C. Such as capsules, suppositories, to prevent high temperature softening and rancidity.
3. Cool and dark place means the temperature does not exceed 20℃ and it is stored in a shading environment.
4. Cold place means the temperature is between 2℃～10℃. Biological products such as probiotics must be kept in the refrigerator.
In addition to the above matters needing attention, humidity is also very important for the storage of medicines. The storage humidity of most medicines is 45% to 75%. For example, aspirin will decompose into salicylic acid and acetic acid after absorbing moisture, which greatly increases the irritation of the gastrointestinal tract. In severe cases, it can also induce gastric mucosal bleeding. Therefore, aspirin must be sealed and stored in a dry place.
Easily deliquescent medicines also include yeast tablets, vitamin B1, calcium gluconate, etc.; capsules, granules, and granules are also susceptible to moisture. In addition, traditional Chinese medicines are mostly ointments, pills, pills, and powders. Honey is one of the commonly used additives when making such medicines, and care must be taken to prevent damp and mildew.