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Health Tip: Reading the Label on OTC Medications

Understand what you're reading

(HealthDay News) -- Knowing how to properly use over-the-counter medications can help prevent serious reactions and interactions.

Here's how to read labels, courtesy of the American Academy of Family Physicians:
  • The active ingredient, or ingredients, is the first thing on the label and it is the chemical that works to manage the symptoms.
  • Uses, or indications, explain what conditions this medication can treat.
  • Warnings provide safety information, including whether or not you should consult a doctor, side effects and what to avoid when you take this medication.
  • Directions tell you how often to take a medicine and exactly how much to take.
  • Other information explains other important details, such as storage recommendations.
  • Inactive ingredients explain chemicals included that don't treat symptoms. This includes things such as binding agents or preservatives.
  • Questions and comments provides information should you need to contact the manufacturer.

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