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What habits can make over-the-counter medicine use unsafe?

Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines can be harmful if misused or not used responsibly. Problems can arise if people:

  • Fail to read and follow the entire Drug Facts label
  • Take more than the labeled dose
  • Take the medicine more frequently than directed on the label
  • Use more than one medicine with the same active ingredient at the same time, which can lead to an overdose
  • Take medicines for longer than directed on the label
  • Take medicines for reasons or symptoms other than the uses directed on the label (sometimes referred to as off-label use)
  • Use a different dosing device than the one that came with the medicine
  • Take expired medication

This content originally appeared on HealthyWomen.org.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.