Date: March 9th, 2016
Every year tens of millions of Americans take over-the-counter (OTC) medication for relief from everyday aches and pain. You are probably one of them.
OTC pain medication may be something that you take for granted. It can usually give you effective relief from your pain, without the need to get a prescription.
But just because OTC pain medications are generally safe and effective when used as directed, you need to remember that they are not harmless. And they should never be taken casually, because they can cause serious injury and even death if not used as directed.
They need to be taken according to the instructions on the Drug Facts Label. They must be safely stored up and away and out of sight of young children. And when you no longer want or need them, they should be disposed of properly.
Choosing a pain medication can be overwhelming with the sheer volume of choices out there. The two main types of OTC pain medications are acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and they are found in more than 1,000 OTC medications.
You want to choose the medication that will do the best job of treating your pain, but you also need to understand the medication’s risks.
The Alliance has launched a campaign to help people like you learn all of this and more! Below are some of the available resources.
The Safe Medication Use Pocket Film Series
This series of three new animated “pocket films” gives you an overview of medication safety.
OTC Pain Medication: What You Need to Know
This film shows you how to choose the medication that’s right for you or your loved one and give tips on taking it safely.
Safely Taking and Storing OTC Pain Medication
This film demonstrates how to store your meds so you can keep them out of the sight of kids and those who might attempt to misuse these medications.
Safe Medication Disposal
This film offers instruction on how to dispose of most medications at home in three simple steps.
On March 23 at 1 p.m. ET, we will host a Twitter chat on how to safely choose, take, store, and dispose of OTC medications. We will host the chat in partnership with the Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition, the American Association of Poison Control Centers, the CHPA Educational Foundation, and the National Council on Patient Information & Education. You can follow the chat @aging_research and use #SafeMedsChat. Join us to learn and share your own thoughts. We’ll be posting questions throughout the hour so that participants can learn from and respond to the experts. Learn more.
National Poison Prevention Week Posts
Throughout National Poison Prevention Week (March 20 – 26), the Alliance blog will feature more content on medication safety, so be sure to check it out daily.
For a complete overview of medication safety and for all of our available resources, visit the Alliance’s Medication Safety page.