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What's In That OTC Drug?

January 7, 2009, 6:16 PM by Kelli Grant

What's In That OTC Drug?
If you've noticed your over-the-counter medication isn't working as well as it used to, it's not you. It may be the medication. That's because it may not be the same one you've always taken.

During the cold and flu season, many of you will run to the drug store to pick up over-the-counter medications you're familiar with. But these drugs may not be what you're used to taking. 

Have you ever stopped to read the active ingredients list on the back of that medication you're about to buy? It's important to know what's in the drug and what that ingredient actually does. 

“The problem is a lot of the products that are out there that people have name recognition to, no longer have the same active ingredients. There's been a lot of products that were available, that were an OTC that no longer are,” Lewis Drug Vice President of Pharmaceutical Services Bill Ladwig said. 

Ladwig says not to get caught up in the name brand, rather turn the box or bottle over. 

“Don't buy into that. You need to look at the active ingredients, know what the active ingredients are, and be cost effective, buy effective,” Ladwig said. 

Know what antihistamines do or what decongestants do and you'll be prepared to use the proper product. 

“Before you use anything you need to make sure you're using it for the right reason. Because you don't want to use too many products called polypharmacy because everything you take has a consequence to it,” Ladwig said. 

And you could be spending more money than you have to. 

“You can prepare your medicine cabinet and have everything you could possibly want for $10 to $12 and save many trips when the kid's sick and you're ready to go,” said Ladwig. 

Ladwig says always have a cough suppressant with dextromethorphan; you'll notice the DM on the label. Also keep sore throat spray, an antihistamine, pain medication like ibuprofen and a decongestant on hand. Just choose your favorite brand and re-stock. 

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