Cold and Flu

What over-the-counter medications can I take for my cold symptoms?

A Answers (2)

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) medications can be used to treat specific symptoms of colds and the flu. For example, decongestants or saline nasal sprays can be used to reduce nasal congestion, and acetaminophen and ibuprofen can help your fever and body aches.

  • AJill Grimes, MD, Family Medicine, answered

    Some cold medicines and other drugs such as allergy and cough medicines were removed from the shelves after the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) found that those medicines lacked FDA approval. The FDA does a great job of collecting and reacting to adverse events related to medications, acting swiftly to remove products that could cause danger.

    For allergy, cough and cold medicines that lack FDA approval, there is no guarantee of the amount of active ingredient in each capsule or tablet.

    Additionally, in the past couple of years, pediatric recommendations have changed greatly, especially for kids younger than two years. Many of these medications for children did not issue these pediatric recommendations.

    Go to the FDA website to find out if your favorite cold medicines are approved.

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