Drugs that are safe and effective for use by the general public without a prescription are defined as over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. These drugs are often located on shelves in pharmacies with easy access by patients, but may also be located in non-pharmacy outlets, such as chemist shops, grocery stores, convenience marts and large discount retailers. There are more than 80 classes of OTC drugs, ranging from allergy medicines to cough syrups to pain relievers to weight loss products.
OTC medications like prescription drugs can carry risk. There is the possibility of side effects, drug or food interactions, or harm due to excessive doses.You should read the ‘Drug Facts’ label or leaflet that is found on all OTC products. All consumers, including older patients, pregnant women, and parents of young children should always consult with their pharmacist or other health care provider if they have additional questions concerning OTC drug use.