Prescription medication is specially ordered for one person by a doctor and is only available from a pharmacist. Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines can be purchased from a store without a doctor’s prescription, but they still need to be treated with the same amount of care!

Best Practices for OTC Medicine

Know Your Labels

The Drug Facts label appears on all over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, which can be purchased from stores without a doctor’s prescription, from mouthwash to pain medicines to sunscreen. Drug Facts is a standardized label on OTC medicines required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It helps you understand the purpose of the OTC medicines that your family members take, who should take these medicines, and how these medicines should be taken safely.

Use Proper Dosing Tools

Accuracy is important when it comes to taking medicine, or when you’re giving medicine to family members. When the recommended dose is not followed, medicines may not work the way they are meant to or may result in an overdose. Measure carefully. Keep the medicine and the dosing device it comes with together. Never use household spoons to measure medicine.

Safely Store Your Medicine

To prevent medicine poisoning, store medicines up, away, and out of sight: When you’re storing overthe-counter (OTC) and prescription medicines and vitamins and supplements, select a spot that’s high and out of the reach of children. Safe storage applies to both adult and children’s medicines.

The Over The Counter Medicine Program

The Over-the-Counter Medicine Safety program aims to keep our youth safe and healthy. This program trains youth to recognize a medication’s uses, active ingredients, directions, and warnings. This program is an evidence-based, comprehensive educational program on the safe use of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. Learn more about applying this program to your school or community on our Prevention Education Page.