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Sunday, 5 February 2017

Guest Post: How to Differentiate Prescribed drugs from Over the counter Medications


Differentiating Prescription drugs from Over the counter Medications

Drugs or medications are chemical substances isolated from natural sources or synthesized

in the lab and which have been shown to be useful in the treatment of one medical condition

or the other. Many years of research and clinical trials have enabled medical professionals to

design safe and suitable regimen (how you supposed to take any drug) of any drug for

different types of conditions and age groups. And over time, drugs have come to be grouped

under over-the- counter or prescription medications. It is very important to know a few key

differences between medications in these two groups for your safety:

Over-the- counter Medications

1. Over-the- counter medications are drugs that you can buy without a doctor's prescription

because they have been shown to be safe and effective in the absence of a doctor's

supervision. Some examples include analgesics like ibuprofen, paracetamol; antihistamines

for treating conditions like itching from allergic skin reaction (e.g. loratadine); cough

medicines containing chlorpheniramine; and medicines for treating fever like aspirin

2. Over-the- counter medications are well-tolerated by most people, hence the chance of

adverse drug reaction is very slim for them.

3. But before taking any of these over-the- counter medications, make sure you check their

expiry date, ingredients, and follow the instructions and warning printed on the bottle, pack

or pamphlets. Also, take special precautions when giving these medications to children and

elderly people.

Prescription Medications

4. Prescription medications, on the other hand, are drugs that require a doctor's prescription

before you can buy and use them. They are only sold in licensed pharmacies, and you must

present a prescription from a certified, licensed medical doctor before the pharmacist can

dispense them to you. Examples of prescription meds include opioid analgesics like

morphine; antipsychotics like haloperidol and olanzapine used treating conditions such as

psychosis, mania, and schizophrenia

5. Prescription medications have a potential for abuse due to their highly addictive property

than over-the- counter medications; they also have a lot of side effects which manifest in

many people taking them, unlike over-the- counter medications. Hence, it is advisable to take

them as instructed by the doctor (avoid overdosing yourself). In addition, you will be required

to revisit your doctor if you exhaust a prescription for a review to determine if another round

of prescription will be necessary.

Whether it is an over-the- counter or prescription medication, never take more than printed or

instructed dose at any point in time. For pregnant women, always consult your doctor before

you take any medications, even if they are over-the- counter like supplements and

paracetamol. Do not hesitate to stop any drugs you're taking and report to your doctor if you

react to such drugs, and don't forget to remind another doctor of this reaction if he or she

wants to prescribe same drugs for you in a different setting.

From Opeyemi from Kangpe Healthcare

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