Over-the-counter medications; Safe or dangerous according to the NY Times.

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ibuprofen Many of us have taken over-the-counter medications, that are supposed to be safe and effective for what ails us.   Over the past few years, the media has made us aware of some of the dangers of over utilizing some medications such as pain relievers which can affect kidney function. Others simply do not do what the manufacturers say they do. How as a consumer are you supposed to know what symptom-relieving over-the-counter medication to take.  Are the ones that previously required prescriptions riskier? Check out this NY Times article to find out

Over-the-Counter Medicines Benefits and Dangers

By Jane E. Brody Four out of five American adults commonly take over-the-counter medications, most often to treat ailments like aches and pains, coughs and colds, fever, allergies, skin disorders, and heartburn and other digestive problems. The reasons are easy to understand. O.T.C.s are convenient, readily available in groceries and big box stores as well as pharmacies, and they are less expensive than going to the doctor and perhaps paying for a costly prescription. According to the Food and Drug Administration, there are more than 300,000 over-the-counter drug products on the market, a number that continues to grow as an increasing number of medications move from prescription to O.T.C. status. According to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, an industry trade group, since 1975, more than 100 ingredients, indications or dosage strengths have transitioned from prescription to O.T.C. status. Last year, Americans spent about $44 billion on O.T.C. drugs which, the industry claims, saved the health care system about $102 billion in doctor visits, diagnostic tests and prescription medications. In addition to saving consumers time and money, O.T.C.s give many people a sense of self-control over their health and well-being. Read more