Over-the-counter (OTC) medications play an important part in our healthcare. They allow millions of Americans to treat their own common health problems with easily accessible, affordable, and effective medicines. But, choosing the right OTC medicine can be confusing. There are many choices, and in order to safely choose the right medicine, you must first know what you’re looking for and how to read an OTC medicine Drug Facts label.
Store shelves are usually arranged according to medicines that treat the symptoms of a certain illness or health problem. The table below lists the most common symptoms or conditions treated with OTC medicines, the category or type of the medicines used to treat these symptoms, along with examples of active ingredients to look for in the Drug Facts label. Always ask your pharmacist if you have questions about OTC medicines.