You can buy over-the-counter drugs without a prescription, but they still have risks—especially if friend treat yourself with more than one at a time.
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Even civilization who read labels closely don’t constantly spot potential problems, together as two OTC meds v the same active ingredient, according to a recent study in the journal of Public plan & Marketing. Store yourself safe while obtaining healthy. Use the complying with tips to prevent these perhaps perilous pairs.
Related: The 10 ideal Over-the-Counter Meds
1. Attention duo: Tylenol and also multi-symptom cold medicinesMany cough, cold, and flu combos contain acetaminophen to relax sore throats, headaches, and fevers. Take Tylenol—which is also acetaminophen—on height of them and also you could exceed the 4-gram (g) daily upper limit for this drug, states Jesse R. Catlin, Ph.D., the California State University, Sacramento, and the Journal of Public plan & Marketing research author. The risk: liver damage that can ultimately require transplantation or also kill you. (The hazard of severe overdose is best if friend consume 7g or more a day, however even simply one day of exceeding 4g have the right to be dangerous.)
(Find out The Scary side of Acetaminophen.)
Take this instead: focus on the medicine name. Acetaminophen might be classified as a pain reliever top top one package and a fever reducer top top another, but it’s quiet the same ingredient, says Nicole Gattas, Pharm.D., associate professor of pharmacy practice at St. Louis university of Pharmacy.
Also, clock for abbreviations of acetaminophen prefer APAP, AC, or Acetam, in addition to the indigenous paracetamol—that’s what paracetamol goes by in most other countries.
2. Attention duo: any kind of combo the ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirinDrugs well-known by brand names favor Advil, Aleve, and also Bayer fall into a class called non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), Catlin says. Because they occupational via the exact same underlying pathways, taking more than one increases your danger of next effects. These selection from soft nausea to significant gastrointestinal bleeding, states Tim Davis, Pharm.D., a member of the National ar Pharmacists Association.
Take this instead: try one medicine at a time—spaced out per the directions on the bottle—to identify which works finest for each problem. Because that instance, you can find headaches fade faster with ibuprofen, while naproxen soothes muscle aches. But if friend still discover yourself suffering, it’s time to check with your doctor, states Davis.
3. Danger duo: Antihistamines and also motion-sickness medicationsUse caution once combining antihistamine allergy meds favor Benadryl with nausea-busting treatments like Dramamine. Their comparable active ingredients— diphenhydramine come treat sniffles, red eyes, and also sneezing, and dimenhydrinate to ease movement sickness—can include up come excess drowsiness. “I’ve heard about people resting through their flight connection because they took too much antihistamine,” Gattas says.
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Take this instead: If you’re already on antihistamine meds, look because that a non-drowsy motion-sickness formula comprise the energetic ingredient meclizine, Gattas says.
4. Dangerous duo: Anti-diarrheal medicine and calcium supplements
Products containing loperamide, such together Imodium, tame the trots. However take them together a calcium supplement, and also you risk the the contrary problem. Calcium firms your stool, so combining it v an anti-diarrheal have the right to stop up your system, Davis says.
(Here space 10 other Reasons friend Can’t Poop.)
Take this instead: offer your calcium pills a remainder until her bowel problems subside, Davis says. Also if your physician recommended them, you won’t experience any long-term bone wellness or other issues by omitted a few days’ precious of doses.
5. Attention duo: St. John’s wort and cough medicine
The herbal supplement St. John’s wort insurance claims to ease anxiety and depression. Dextromethorphan, a sneeze suppressant, quiets your hacking. Yet pairing them increase may cause a dangerous problem called serotonin syndrome, Davis says. Too lot of the neurotransmitter serotonin build up in her system, resulting in sweating, feeling of confusion and also discomfort, trouble controlling your movements, and in rarely cases, also death.
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Take this instead: First, take into consideration whether you require the dextromethorphan at all. If you’re no hacking, don’t reach because that the cough-and-cold formula. Find a medicine that treats just your symptoms.
When in doubt about how a certain cold, cough, and also flu formula combines with any other medication or complement you’re taking, ask a pharmacist, either in person or top top the phone, Gattas says.
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You can likewise soothe hacking by making use of a cool-mist humidifier, drink plenty of water, and also popping a sneeze drop or also a tough candy to calm the sneeze reflex, Gattas says. Swallowing one-half to 2 teaspoons honey before bed might decrease nighttime coughing and also improve sleep.