Non-Prescription Meds Can Still Cause Dangers

January 27, 2015

When you buy pills, mixtures and potions over-the-counter (OTC) at your local grocery store or pharmacy, it’s easy to think that because they’re so readily available without a prescription, they must be safe.

Not so! Health experts are always warning about the risks of overdosing on basic painkillers like acetaminophen (eg Tylenol). And many other preparations can make you drowsy even on a “safe” dose. Taking them is a particular risk if you plan to drive.

Dr. Ali Mohamad, a medical officer at the US Food and Drugs Administration says: “You can feel the effects some OTC medicines can have on your driving for a short time after you take them, or their effects can last for several hours. In some cases, a medicine can cause significant ‘hangover-like’ effects and affect your driving even the next day.”

But whether you’re driving or not, you should always make a point of reading the “Drug Facts” label on every medicine package, plus any leaflets you find inside. If you’re already tired and maybe haven’t had enough sleep, be especially wary about driving or operating machinery after taking these meds.