This article is within the scope of WikiProject Pharmacology, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Pharmacology on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
"over-the-counter" is somewhat confusing to some, since these items can be found on the shelves of stores and bought like any other packaged product in some countries or in others may be bought "over the counter" from the pharmacy, while prescription drugs are sold at a pharmacy counter. The term likely dates back to before self service shopping became common, when most goods were obtained by requesting them from a clerk at a sales counter; while prescription drugs required a visit to the doctor first, these drugs could be purchased "over the (sales) counter" just like other goods.
This whole paragraph seems very POV to me. Couldn't 'over the counter' just as easily mean that the drugs are stored 'over the counter' meaning on a shelf on the other side of the counter with which you *can* self-serve rather than being stored "behind the counter"? Nagelfar (talk) 01:04, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
OTC products cannot be self-served. They must be sold by a trained healthcare assistant. Such as myself, haha. :) That's why no more than 16 paracetamol can be sold as a general sale. Josh 17:32, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Using Over-the-Counter Medicines with Children
Removed from article body by Fvasconcellos (t·c) 16:12, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
Using Over-the-Counter Medicines with Children
Over-the-counter medicines have been used to treat cold symptoms in children for many years, but they are beginning to be studied due to their potentially adverse side effects. In the fall of 2008, pediatricians along with the FDA took a united stand in recommending that cold medicines not be used for children under the age of two. This is a reversal of the previous recommended age of 4. There is a general consensus that these medicines do not help alleviate the symptoms brought on by colds enough to outweigh their risks. However, cold medicines are believed to be effective in relieving the symptoms that accompany the cold and flu when their children are miserable, most parents are willing to try anything. Currently, there is no evidence to prove that cold medicines treat symptoms any better than waiting them out. If you are looking to purchase a cold medicine for your sick child, it’s important to understand what aspects of the colds and flu they are able to treat and what symptoms they may be effective for.
There are several common over the counter medicines, each with a specific symptom it is designed to relieve: • Cough Syrups - These are used to help ease a cough and allow the child to rest more effectively. Few studies have been conducted that show they are effective. • Oral Decongestants - Decongestants are used to help with stuffy noses. They can offer some relief, but have more serious side effects, so weigh your options carefully. • Antihistamines - These medicines are developed to stop runny noses associated with allergies. They will not help a child with a cold. • Nasal Drops/Sprays- A mild saline solution is an active ingredient in these products. They can be effective in loosening mucus to aid in easier removal. DO NOT give a child any nasal spray/drops that contain drugs as they can cause very serious side effects affecting the central nervous system and cardiovascular system, especially in small children. Inhaling these active medicines is only intended for adult use and can be fatal to a small child. • Pain Relievers - This is a common OTC medicine and usually comes in two forms, either acetaminophen or ibuprofen. It is used to help lower fevers and reduce general aches from the cold/flu. It is also a common ingredient in many cold medicines, so be careful not to give it separately as well.
It is best to use your good judgment and caution when giving your child cold medicines. Review the side effects and make an informed decision. There is a wide variety of medicines on the shelf these days and its crucial that parents be informed.
The main component that the cold medicines cannot treat is the virus itself. Common colds are caused by viruses. While some viruses are treated using anti-viral drugs, there aren’t any currently available for the common cold. Cold viruses usually last about a week and simply need to run their course. While cold medicines may help to relieve some of the annoyances of the symptoms, they cannot stop the cold or help the child to recover faster. A typical cold virus takes about a week to get better and the best thing you can do is make sure your child stays well hydrated and gets plenty of rest. If your child’s sickness does not appear to be getting better, or worsens, contact your pediatrician as something more serious may be developing.
In October, 2008, the FDA warned against giving over-the-counter cold medicine to children under the age of 4, reversing the previous warning for those under the age of 2. Studies have found that cold medicines marketed for kids are ineffective and can be linked to serious side effects, including convulsions, breathing difficulties, rapid heart rates, and decreased levels of consciousness. In 2004 and 2005, the negative effects of cold medicines sent more than 1,500 children to the hospital. Major drug manufacturers agreed to either pull medicines or label them as unsafe for those under the age of 4. The best advice is to always seek the advice of your pediatrician and pharmacist.
This article either needs a new section about (or at least more coverage of) "behind-the-counter drugs" ("Prescription Only Medicines"), or a new article for them should be spun off. I may do this myself if I have the time. Some info on the topic can be found at these pages:  --Wulf (talk) 07:08, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
I just created a section on this with to cover restricted OTC drugs in the US and moved the pseudoephedrine discussion into there, though I didn't see your great citations first. By all means, feel free to enhance it with some of these citations. In particular, more details on the actual legal status of these drugs would be nice. Zachlipton (talk) 02:46, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
united kingdom category 3 (general sales list)
I think that "nurofen" should be replaced with Ibuprofen as Nurofen can easily be confused with Nurofen plus, which pharmacy only medication compared to Ibuprofen which is on the General Sales list.
It said "FREE software to better understand OTC drug and drug interaction. Consumer can freely download software in smart phone or use web widget to check drug-drug interaction.". That's just way too spammy.
I'm making this entry to alert people to this and keep an eye out in case the link reappears. Also comments on whether medilyzer in general could actually be a sensible external link is welcome. (I can't be bothered to test their app, I don't trust it anyway)W3ird N3rd (talk) 11:08, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
Why did the FDA take quinine off the market? It is an ingredient in Tonic Water. I have been told by doctors to drink Tonic Water when I get leg cramps. It does help and does so quickly. Is this not a good idea? If so, why not? What else can I take to relieve leg cramps?18.104.22.168 (talk) 16:03, 4 March 2014 (UTC)