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OTC Drugs

Be Smart. Save Money. Choose OTC.

Do you know if a medication you take is available without a prescription? If it is, you can get the relief you need by choosing an over-the-counter (OTC) product.

There are more than 100,000 medications available on your drugstore’s shelf that contain ingredients previously available by prescription only. And OTC medications are safe, effective, and often very affordable.

Some OTC products contain the exact same ingredients in the same dose as prescription drugs, but usually have a lower price tag. And like all drugs, the safety and purity of OTC medications are regulated by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Using OTC alternatives to prescription drugs can save you time and money. You can get the medication you need, when you need it, without a prescription from your doctor.

Choose to save – and talk with your doctor or pharmacist about your OTC options.

Know Your Facts About OTC

Using OTC medications is an easy way to be more active in your health care – and get the relief you need when you need it. Learn the facts about OTC, so you can make smart choices about the medications you take.


Prescription Drug Costs

OTC vs. Prescription Costs

While drug companies spend billions of dollars a year on developing new prescription drugs, more than 700 medications previously only available by prescription are now available over the counter – no prescription necessary. And over-the-counter (OTC) medications usually cost less than their prescription alternatives.


Why Choose OTC?

  • OTC products usually cost less than prescription alternatives.
  • OTC medications don’t require a prescription.
  • OTC medications must meet rigorous testing, safety and purity standards.
  • OTC products give you more control over your health care.
  • OTC medications are convenient – you can get the relief you need when you need it.

OTC Safety 101

  •  Tell your doctor or pharmacist about all the medications you take to avoid dangerous drug interactions.
  • Always read the drug information label and follow directions carefully and correctly.
  • Two medicines that have the same active ingredients should not be used at the same time.
  • Measure your medicines correctly with measuring tools made for medicines.
  • Children should use medicines only with permission and under supervision from a parent or guardian.
  • Check with your doctor before giving cold and cough medications to children under two years old.

Learn more about OTC drug safety from the Federal Food and Drug Administration.

Page Modified:May 18, 2012