The basics of choosing and using OTC medicines responsibly
GET RELIEF RESPONSIBLY® is an initiative developed by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, to educate consumers about the appropriate use of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and help them safely choose, use, store, and dispose of OTC medicines for themselves and their loved ones.Back to top
When taken as directed, over-the-counter (OTC) medications are safe and can help you treat a wide variety of symptoms and ailments, including pain, fever, colds, cough, allergies, sleeplessness, and many more. However, if OTC medicines are not used as directed, you can increase your chance of harmful side effects. GET RELIEF RESPONSIBLY® aims to increase awareness of OTC medicine safety and reduce OTC medicine-related side effects. The program also addresses child medicine safety. Because more than 67,000 children go to emergency rooms each year for medicine poisoning, GET RELIEF RESPONSIBLY® features information on safe storage and disposal of OTC medicines to help parents protect their children from medicine-related accidents.Back to top
GET RELIEF RESPONSIBLY® provides information and credible resources to help you use, choose, store, and dispose of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines safely. The program also addresses the needs of specific audiences, such as older adults, whose OTC medicine choices may change over time; parents administering OTC medicines to infants and children; and adults who want to teach tweens and teens how to use OTC medicines safely.
GET RELIEF RESPONSIBLY® aims to achieve these goals by:
- Emphasizing the importance of reading and following the entire Drug Facts label on OTC medicines
- Helping people understand the differences among OTC pain medicines so they can safely choose ones appropriate for them
- Creating awareness about safe use of OTC medications, especially the guideline of taking ONLY 1 medicine with the same kind of active ingredient at a time
- Educating parents and caregivers about keeping children safe through proper dosing, storage, and disposal of medicines
- Providing parents and youth influencers with information and tools to educate tweens and teens about using OTC medicines safely
Here’s how to choose and use over-the-counter (OTC) medicines appropriately so you can get effective and safe symptom relief:
Read and follow the entire Drug Facts label on your medicines.
All sections of the medicine label—including the Active Ingredients, Warnings, and Directions—are important to your health. Ignoring the label could lead to unnecessary risks like taking your medicine too soon or taking too much medicine.
Know the active ingredients in your medicines.
Hundreds of OTC and prescription medicines contain the same active ingredients. Taking more than one medicine with the same kind of ingredient at a time can increase your chance of harmful side effects. By checking every label and knowing the active ingredients, you can avoid accidentally taking more than one of the same kind of medicine at a time.
Check every label, every time.
New safety information is regularly added on medicine labels. Even if you use an OTC medicine often, it is important to read the full label.
Follow the dosing directions.
The directions are not just suggestions; they are meant to be followed. The directions tell you how much you can safely take at one time, how long you should wait before taking another dose, and the daily limit (the amount you should not exceed in 24 hours).
If you have any questions about OTC medicines, ask a healthcare professional. Visit GetReliefResponsibly.com for informative and interactive resources, as well as tips and advice from experts on how to use OTC and prescription medicines responsibly.Back to top