4 OTC Medications You’re Probably Taking Too Much — Living Better

If you steadily use over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, you’re one of many greater than 260 million Americans who use them frequently. According to Pharmacy Times, 9 out of 10 Americans depend on these family staples to assist handle quite a lot of illnesses, together with aches and pains, fever, chilly signs and allergic reactions. OTC drugs generally is a lifesaver and enable you get again in your ft after a chilly or flu has wiped you out, however utilizing too many of those drugs may be harmful to your well being.

“Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are typically secure, however issues can happen if somebody is taking them whereas taking prescription drugs,” he says. Laura Purdy, MD, MBA, is a board-certified household doctor in Fort Benning, Georgia. Read on to seek out out which common drugs chances are you’ll be taking an excessive amount of of and what to do as a substitute.

READ NEXT: 5 Things Pharmacists Say You Should Remove From Your Medicine Cabinet Right Now

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You will not discover an individual who hasn’t taken acetaminophen in some unspecified time in the future of their life. Acetaminophen is the energetic ingredient in Tylenol and is without doubt one of the mostly used ache relievers in North America. This medication presents many advantages like reducing physique temperature and relieving ache from toothache, headache, arthritis and extra.

While Tylenol is ok whenever you want it, adults shouldn’t take greater than 3,000 milligrams of paracetamin in a day (even much less in the event you’re over 65). The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that 7,000 milligrams or extra may cause severe well being results and result in an overdose. In addition, excessive doses of acetaminophen can harm the liver and even result in liver substitute or demise.

It’s widespread to assume that if the product is over-the-counter, you do not have to fret about an overdose. Unfortunately, it isn’t. “Even if the again of the field has a drug or supplemental info panel, typically shoppers do not know that the identical ingredient is repeated in a number of merchandise,” he says. Brandy Cole, PharmD, is a pharmacist and nutritionist at Persona Nutrition. “These repetitions can rapidly add as much as a better day by day dose than the buyer supposed, leading to disagreeable unwanted effects and in some uncommon circumstances.”

READ NEXT: This Popular OTC Drug May Cause ‘Severe Harm,’ Says Doctor.

Benadryl packets on display
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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned in opposition to taking higher-than-recommended doses of the extensively used OTC allergy medicine diphenhydramine (the energetic ingredient in Benadryl). Too a lot diphenhydramine may cause coronary heart issues, seizures, coma, and demise. According to the NIH, diphenhydramine is an antihistamine that relieves allergy signs, together with rashes, itching, watery eyes, irritated sinuses, coughing, runny nostril and sneezing. People additionally use diphenhydramine to stop and deal with signs of movement illness.

“Diphenhydramine is present in a number of OTC merchandise not labeled for allergic reactions, together with momentary sleep aids and something labeled PM for colds and flu,” says Cole. “[Since] it pops up in surprising locations, and it could take an excessive amount of, even in the event you’re following the instructions for every of your drugs.”

If you frequently exceed the beneficial 200-300 milligrams per day, chances are you’ll expertise disagreeable unwanted effects. Everyday Health. These embrace extreme drowsiness, vomiting, confusion, ringing within the ears, blurred imaginative and prescient, fast coronary heart price, hallucinations, and seizures. “To be on the secure facet, all the time examine the energetic components when selecting a brand new product or ask your pharmacist about utilizing a particular mixture,” advises Cole.

Excedrin package
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Americans aren’t any strangers to caffeine. In truth, 85 p.c of the US inhabitants drinks a minimum of one caffeinated beverage daily. But do you know that caffeine is discovered in lots of OTC headache drugs and weight reduction dietary supplements? So in the event you take pleasure in just a few cups of java within the morning however frequently take headache drugs like Excedrin, Anacin, or Midol, chances are you’ll be consuming effectively over the beneficial 400 milligrams of caffeine per day.

“Everyone responds to caffeine in a different way, however usually, moderation is a good suggestion,” advises Cole. “Those delicate to its results might expertise irritability, agitation, or irritability, even when solely barely elevated. In very giant doses, it could trigger extreme anxiousness, altered coronary heart price, or dehydration.”

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Two iron tablets and a glass of water
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Iron is an important nutrient, so we have to get it by means of meals or dietary supplements. Because iron performs an essential function in crimson blood cell manufacturing, it’s typically present in multivitamins and dietary supplements that promote blood and coronary heart well being. The quantity of iron wanted day by day varies by age and gender. However, in the event you eat numerous iron-rich meals and take iron dietary supplements, chances are you’ll be in danger for iron toxicity.

“Consuming greater than the beneficial quantity of iron may cause uncomfortable GI unwanted effects, equivalent to stomach ache and constipation. Consuming giant doses steadily can harm the liner of the abdomen,” warns Cole. “These unwanted effects are extra widespread when taking as much as 45 milligrams per day from dietary and supplemental sources.” Talk to your physician or pharmacist earlier than beginning an iron complement, particularly in the event you eat meals excessive in iron, equivalent to crimson meat, lentils, or darkish, leafy greens.

Best Life presents the newest data from prime specialists, new analysis and well being businesses, however our content material shouldn’t be supposed to interchange skilled steerage. Always contact your healthcare supplier instantly with questions on drugs you take or different health-related questions.

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