Importance of Reading Drug Labels

By: Ashley Davidson
By: Ashley Davidson

When you buy over the counter medicine how much do you really know about the product you are taking?

Melinda Joyce is a pharmacist at the Medical Center. She says: "A lot of times there might be a change by the manufacturer that you might not be aware of as a consumer."

That's why it's extremely important for consumers to read the label carefully, particularly if the product is labeled as new or reformulated.

Joyce says: "I have Dimetapp which is a popular cough and cold formula. And it's got new up in the corner. So that could be anything from just a new grape flavor to actually completely changing the ingredients."

If the ingredients in a product change it may be something the user is allergic to or has a problem with. This happened with Kaopectate.

Joyce says: "It went from a product that you could safely give to a child a couple of years ago to a product you would not want to give to a child because it had subsalicylate."

She says now the American Pharmacist Association is looking at ways to keep consumers safe when they buy over the counter medicines.

Joyce says: "This is something the manufacturers should do more about than just putting something in the corner that says new."

The best thing you can do to stay safe is read the label every time you buy. If you see any changes ask the pharmacist to explain how the product is different.


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