Dangers of OTC Medication

Over the counter (OTC) remedies often seem like the way to alleviate allergy symptoms, headaches or common cold symptoms or pain. However, it is always important to read the labels of any OTC medicines, especially if you are taking medications to treat high blood pressure.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), are often used to relieve pain or reduce inflammation. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, are OTC medicines, which are considered NSAIDs, and cause you to retain fluid and decrease kidney function, placing a greater stress on your heart or kidneys.

Believe it or not, many cough and cold medications contain NSAIDs to relieve decongestion and pain. Decongestants can make your blood pressure and heart rate rise and may prevent high blood pressure medications from working properly. Avoid using them and seek alternative ways to ease the symptoms of cold, flu, or sinus problems.

Do you suffer from migraines? Some migraine headache medications work by constricting blood vessels in your head, but the medication also constricts blood vessels throughout your body. This can raise blood pressure, perhaps to dangerous levels. If you have high blood pressure or any other type of heart disease, speak with your doctor before taking medication for migraines or severe headaches.

Trying to lose weight? Appetite suppressants tend to speed-up the body and can make your blood pressure rise, placing more stress on your heart. Before using any weight loss drug, whether prescription or over-the-counter, be sure to check with your doctor. These medications may do you more harm than good.

Read medication labels before buying over-the-counter preparations. Talk to your doctor before using any over-the-counter medication, herbal preparation, vitamins, or other nutritional supplements. Ask for alternatives to potentially harmful medicines. Give a list of all the medications you use, both prescription and over-the-counter, to every doctor you visit, including dosages. If you do not have a physician and would like set up an appointment to meet with one, please contact Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Center at 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.