Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
There are many over-the-counter (OTC) medications available without a
prescription that are used to treat the symptoms of many illnesses that don't
usually require the help of a physician or health care practitioner. This article reviews a
few of these medications that can help treat minor aches and pains, fever,
diarrhea, cold symptoms, sore throat, and allergies.
OTC medications have brand names as well as generic and store brand names
(similar to prescription medications). Generic, store, and brand names contain the
same active ingredients and are identical in their action on the body if the
concentration of the active ingredients are the same. Since some OTC pills and liquids contain multiple medications, it is important to read
the fine print on the label to know exactly what ingredients are in the product.
Even though they do not require a prescription, OTC medications
may cause significant side effects. Some can interact with prescription
medications and cause harm (for example, patients who take
warfarin [Coumadin], a blood
thinner, are at higher risk of bleeding from ulcers if they take
OTC ibuprofen) while others
products can cause organ damage if taken in amounts greater
than recommended (for example, acetaminophen may cause liver failure;
aspirin may cause lung
and kidney damage).
Before taking any OTC medication or dietary supplement, read the label,
especially the dosage, frequency, and precautions sections. If you have any
questions or concerns in regard the use of any OTC medication or dietary
supplement contact a medical health care practitioner or pharmacist for
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