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OTC meds: Why you should read labels

medicine label While you may know it’s important to read the Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods, did you know that it’s also vital to read the label of common over-the-counter (OTC) medications you may regularly use? According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), reading the product label is key when taking OTC medicines since they’re often used without first seeing a doctor.

Product labels provide a lot of useful information, including:

  • What the drug treats and what the active ingredient is
  • How long and how often to take the medicine
  • Who should or should not take the medication, and any warnings about possible side effects
  • The amount of certain ingredients such as calcium, potassium or sodium
  • How to store the product properly and the expiration date
  • What to do in case of an overdose

Be sure to read the label each time you use a product to learn about any changes such as new ingredients, dosages or warnings. If you still have questions after reading the label, check with your doctor, pharmacist or other health care professional.