ALERT

For the latest coronavirus care instructions and resources, please call our COVID-19 hotline at 208-381-9500. Find additional information and resources here and learn more about how we're working to keep you healthy and safe.

toggle mobile menu Menu
toggle search menu

Site Navigation

Supplemental

Menu

Over-the-Counter Medicine Precautions

Topic Overview

Know the benefits and side effects of a medicine before taking it. Use medicines only if nondrug approaches are not working.

Follow these over-the-counter medicine precautions.

  • Carefully read and follow all directions on the medicine bottle and box. Or let your doctor know why you think you should take the medicine in a different way.
  • Take the minimum effective dose. When using a liquid drug, use the measuring device that comes with the drug.
  • Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine. If you have been told to avoid a medicine, call your doctor before you take it.
  • Do not take a medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to it in the past.
  • If you are or could be pregnant, call your doctor before taking any medicine.
  • Keep a list of all your medicines , including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and supplements. And share the list with your doctor.

Here are some safety tips about giving children medicines:

  • Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20 unless your doctor tells you to, because of the risk of Reye syndrome.
  • Talk to your doctor before you give fever medicine to a baby who is 3 months of age or younger. This is to make sure a young baby's fever is not a sign of a serious illness. Ask your doctor what other medicines may not be safe to give your child.
  • Don't take medicines in front of small children. Children are great mimics. Don't say that medicine tastes like candy.
  • Keep medicines, vitamins, and supplements tightly capped in their original containers. Store them as directed and keep them out of the reach of children.

For more information, see Quick Tips: Giving Over-the-Counter Medicines to Children.

Credits

Current as of: August 22, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Healthwise is a URAC accredited health web site content provider. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.