Consider going Over the Counter Tips

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Should I take a prescription or an otc antihistamine?

The drowsiness factor

In general, over the counter antihistamines are as effective as prescription antihistamines. However, the over the counter varieties usually cause more sedation. A good rule of thumb is to take the over the counter antihistamines only when you will not have to drive or perform any tasks requiring alertness. Most people find that the prescription varieties cause less sedation and opt for those when they need to be taken on a regular basis.

Can I take an otc product for my cold and flu symptoms?

The cost factor

Most prescription products that are used to treat the symptoms of cold and flu have an otc counterpart that is very similar to it. If you do not have prescription insurance, it is worthwhile to ask your physician if an otc product is available for your symptoms. This can save you a substantial amount of money. It is always important to talk to your healthcare provider before taking ANY over the counter products on your own.

Can I purchase my prescription heartburn medication over the counter?

Same drugs..different strengths

Many of the prescription heartburn medications are also available over the counter, but in lower strengths. For example, Zantac is available in 150mg and 300mg as a prescription, but only as a 75mg tablet over the counter. If you travel and forget to take your 150mg prescription with you, you can go to the drugstore and purchase the 75mg otc tablets and simply take 2 of them. Other anti-heartburn medications available as both prescription and otc are Pepcid and Tagamet.

Are prescription and over the counter pain relievers the same?

Same medications...different strengths

Many prescription pain relievers are available over the counter, but in lower strengths. Prescription Motrin is available as Advil amd Motrin IB,and prescription Anaprox is available as Aleve. The dosages available over the counter are lower, but the active ingredients are the same. Always remember to follow the directions on the over the counter packages unless directed to take a higher dose.

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Patricia Walters-Fischer