Over-the-Counter Drugs



Discussknown benefits and potential dangers of over-the-counter drugs andmedications.

Self-medicationhas been widely integrated into the healthcare system to improvehealth care delivery. The strategy aligns with the improvingeducation among people and the continually growing socio-economicstatus in the society (Hanson, Venturelli &amp Fleckenstein, 2012).Consequently, there is a wide spread of Over-the-Counter drugs (OTC),which do not require a prescription from a medical professionalbecause they are distributed and sold to people at their initiative.OTC drugs and medication offer several advantages to patients. Theyhelp in prevention as well as treatment of ailments and symptoms thatdo not necessarily require consultation with a medical practitioner.Therefore, it has relieved pressure on the healthcare sector.Moreover, for the people living in remote areas where access tomedical services may be difficult, they can control their conditionsthrough responsible self-medication using the OTC drugs (Hanson,Venturelli &amp Fleckenstein, 2012).

Nonetheless,these drugs also have potential dangers to the users. The OTC drugsare known to interact with many elements such as alcohol and foods.Besides, many drug store employees do not inquire whether patientsare using other substances. Consequently, it puts a person’s lifeat risk and sometimes it may have deadly results (Hanson, Venturelli&amp Fleckenstein, 2012). Additionally, the media and the internethas given consumers confidence to purchase these drugs. They conveythe impression that the drugs are just another consumer articlehowever, this should not be the case. Medical reports have alsostated that people are misusing the OTC and to some extent, itresults in drug addiction, which is a major problem in the societytoday (Hanson, Venturelli &amp Fleckenstein, 2012).

Arethere any specific instances where an OTC medication has led toproblems?

Anyself-medication product should be cleared as safe by the relevantauthorities such as the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) before itcan be sold to the consumers (Williams, 2007). Unfortunately,particular problems have been associated with OTC drugs. One of theseproblems is the chronic renal failure that has been mainly blamed onthe heavy over-reliance on OTC analgesics. Since the early 1980s,several case-control studies have reported associations betweenchronic renal failure and use of other forms of OTC such asparacetamol, aspirin, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(NSAIDs). Therefore, the potential effect of these drugs on theemergence of chronic renal failure may be significant. Furthermore,patients may be unaware that several products with different brandnames can contain the active ingredient that can affect them or causeallergic reactions (Hanson, Venturelli &amp Fleckenstein, 2012).

Shouldprivate companies be allowed to regulate their own manufacturingprocess?

Thenagain, the private companies should be allowed to control theirmanufacturing processes because it is effective. The privatecompanies opt to comply with manufacturing requirement without anygovernment orders or statutory mandates as a way to survive in themarketplace (Hanson, Venturelli &amp Fleckenstein, 2012). Therefore,they will ensure that their manufacturing processes meet the FDAregulations because the market will assess them according to thequality of their products, which puts their reputation on the line.Private companies are responsible and responsive to any marketchanges. Accordingly, they are open to suggestions by the consumergroups, industry members, and academic institutions. Hence, thisdynamic relationship ensures that the private companies comply withthe market changes and technological advancements to preserve theirexpert status thus, improve the manufacturing process (Hanson,Venturelli &amp Fleckenstein, 2012).

Isthe FDA overstepping its boundaries if the OTC drug is safe byconventional standards?

TheFDA’s mandate is to ensure that once a new drug application isfilled, the review team evaluates the studies submitted to assesswhether the drug is safe and effective for its intended use.Furthermore, it ensures that these drugs are at same level with theconventional standards (Williams, 2007). However, the FDA’s mandatedoes not require a drug to be superior to what is already availablein the market. Therefore, the FDA is overstepping in its role. Theorganization has failed to authorize the sale of certain drugs ongrounds that there is an already existing drug serving the samepurpose instead of considering the benefits of the new medicines andthe consumers’ safety (Williams, 2007).

Whatcould be done to improve the safety of OTC drugs?

TheOTC drugs should be appropriately labeled to ensure their safety(Hanson, Venturelli &amp Fleckenstein, 2012). The labeling should beuser-friendly and highlight the critical information about themedication that the users should know. Moreover, when labeling thedrug names should be well considered to improve safety because therehave been several cases where the patients use the wrong medicationdue to the confusion of the drugs names. Accordingly, it will ensurethat the OTC drugs are safe, and the consumer will have sufficient,vital information about the drugs before buying them (Hanson,Venturelli &amp Fleckenstein, 2012).


Hanson,G., Venturelli, P. J., &amp Fleckenstein, A. E. (2012). Drugsand Society.Sudbury, MA: Jones &amp Bartlett Learning.

Williams,W. (2007). FDA Overstepping Its Bounds. ColumbiaDaily Tribune.Retrieved fromhttp://archive.columbiatribune.com/2007/Jun/20070613Comm002.asp