How to Unlock the Power of Over-the-Counter Health Products

How to Unlock the Power of Over-the-Counter Health Products
January 6, 2023
RxLocal Team

There’s a medication for just about everything. Have a headache? Take an Advil. Got a case of the sniffles? Claritin and Flonase are your best friends.

Maybe you need a nice pick-me-up before a workout or run. Your independent pharmacy’s workout aisle likely has some pre-workout supplements ready at a moment’s notice.  

In fact, your local pharmacy’s over-the-counter health products are full of helpful and healthy medications.

And what do these medications have in common? They don’t require a prescription. In many cases, OTC products are more than enough to relieve you of a seasonal ailment — and they save you a doctor’s visit, too.

Here are some ways you can harness the power of your local pharmacy’s over-the-counter health products.

Keep Your Favorite OTCs With You

Whether you’re carrying a purse or a good ol’ school backpack, it never hurts to pack some essentials. You have your phone and laptop chargers. Make sure you take a book with you before you leave for the day.

The day ahead brings an unknown amount of challenges. You might have a headache or your eye becomes itchy after an unexpected encounter with a cat. No matter your pain threshold, always pack some travel-sized medications.

Over-the-counter health products are available at a moment’s notice, so use that to your advantage. You might develop a headache after a dodgy work presentation or a not-so-great lunch. Don’t let minor discomfort spoil the remainder of your day.

Packing up some over-the-counter health products also helps those around you. Maybe a coworker has an ache or pain in the middle of the day and their productivity grinds to a halt.

No need to fret: you got them covered and that promotion or raise might come sooner than expected.

Skip the Prescription Process

As we mentioned earlier, over-the-counter health products can expedite your health’s recovery process. They are extremely effective in relieving you of many ailments such as allergies, cold and cough, inflammation, and dry eyes.

Over-the-counter health products help you save time and money. Prescription medications usually cost much more than their over-the-counter counterparts, especially when you’re paying your deductible at the first of the year.

Per Pfizer, $1 spent on over-the-counter health products equals $6-7 for the U.S. health system “due to fewer physician visits and reduced spending on more expensive care.”

Not only are you getting healthier quicker but you’re also helping the financial state of the health industry. In essence, both you and the U.S. economy are achieving a clean bill of health, all thanks to your local pharmacy’s over-the-counter health products.

Though OTC products are extremely helpful in curing certain ailments, they do not take the place of several prescription medications.

Antibiotics, blood sugar medications, and other maintenance medications all require a prescription, and for good reason. Talk to your primary care physician or local pharmacist as to what medications are best for you.

Take OTC Products the Right Way

While over-the-counter health products can help you skip the line at the doctor’s office or urgent care, you will also be without your doctor’s consultation.

OTC products can be a double-edged sword. Their benefits and convenience are well-documented, but they have their fair share of setbacks.  

As we previously mentioned, your pharmacy’s over-the-counter health products can’t cure all ailments. Major health scares will almost always require professional help and prescription medications.

Over-the-counter health products are not regulated. Though some products like cough syrup are age-restricted, they are largely free to purchase whenever and however one wants.

While over-the-counter medications aren’t necessarily addictive, they are prone to misuse and even abuse.

In a study published by Oxford Academic, nearly a third of participants encountered cases of OTC abuse. The study attributed this figure to the then-lack of awareness of OTC medication abuse.

As is the case with prescription medications, misusing or abusing over-the-counter health products can lead to serious health problems.

Though medications like pseudoephedrine — which used to be over-the-counter — are now federally regulated, restrictions on OTC products are hardly the answer.

The best way to prevent misuse and abuse is to be informed. One of the best ways to be informed is to, well, read the label.

Read the Label

The saying goes “never forget to read the fine print.” That applies to all sorts of situations, like when buying a house or signing a contract for your new job.

The little, hard-to-read print on medication levels serves a purpose, whether it’s for prescription medications or over-the-counter health products. The labels on OTC medications give you specific instructions and doses for you to safely digest.

The amount and frequency are specific for a reason. They are to help you effectively take the medication without risking overdose or other adverse reactions.

The “OTC Drug Facts Label” page on the FDA’s website details how labels are written. The “Drug Facts” label is designed for you to easily read and understand what exactly you’re taking.

If you’ve read a medicine label and still have questions, contact your primary care physician or pharmacist.


Not every miracle medicine requires a prescription. The best medicines aren’t always hidden within a pharmacy shelf. The solution to your latest cold, headache, or set of dry eyes is right there as you enter your local pharmacy.

Over-the-counter health products can help treat your latest ailment, free of urgent care visits or long lines at the pharmacy. Whether it’s those spring sniffles or the chili flu season, OTC products have your back.

They will always have your back if you use them responsibly, whether according to the medicine label or from professional consultation. Being informed has never been easier, so use that to your advantage.

Read the fine print and you’ll achieve an easier path on your health journey.

Visit our Pharmacy Finder page to find a healthcare destination near you.