Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Most Typical Prescription Drugs

Over the counter medications can alleviate minor symptoms.

Over the counter drugs are medications you can purchase without a doctor's prescription. These drugs are used for a variety of ailments including pain, fever and smoking cessation as well as for allergies, colds and flu and weight loss. If used correctly, over the counter medications can alleviate symptoms and help a person feel better without having to see a doctor.

Pain Medication

Pain medications are the most common over the counter drug, according to Pain includes muscle and joint pain, headaches and pain from bruises and cuts. There are three types of over the counter pain medications or analgesics. They are salicylates (aspirin), acetaminophen, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDS such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Salicylates and NSAIDS can be helpful in treating inflammation type ailments such as arthritis. Acetaminophen does not contain anti-inflammatory medications. Some pain medications contain caffeine and antihistamines which enhance their effect. Analgesics often are used in conjunction with other types of medication such as decongestants.

Smoking Cessation

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) has been available over the counter since the 1990s. There are three forms of NRT - nicotine transdermal systems or patches, nicotine gum and nicotine lozenges. The patch is applied to the body and slowly releases nicotine through the skin into the bloodstream. Nicotine gum releases nicotine when the user chews and shifts the gum from one side of the mouth to the other. Nicotine lozenges are pieces of hard candy containing nicotine that slowly releases as the candy dissolves. All three types of NRT come in a variety of strengths. The gum is available in more than one flavor.

Colds, Allergies and Sinus

The Canada Drug Center reports that antihistamines and allergy medications are among the most popular over the counter drugs. Allergy medications help treat hay fever, seasonal allergies or allergies caused by upper respiratory issues. Cold and sinus medications combine antihistamines and decongestants to help alleviate sneezing, sore throat, runny nose, sinus pressure and chest congestion.

Cough Medicine

Cough medicine is another popular over the counter drug. Cough medicine is not recommended for children under age six, as they are ineffective, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Cough medicines come in two forms - dextromethorphan which controls the cough, and guaifenesin, an expectorant that loosens mucus in the chest. With guaifenesin, the user may initially experience more coughing as the mucus is released and cleared out of the lungs and bronchial tubes.

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