If you've ever felt overwhelmed at the local pharmacy while searching for an over-the-counter medication, you're not alone. Pharmacists say there are more than 100,000 different over-the-counter medications on the market.
"There are aisles and aisles of over-the-counter medications to choose from, and sometimes it can be difficult to know which can be the best for your symptoms or what would be the safest for you to take," said Mckaya Kastner, a pharmacist from Allina Health.
It's Kastner's job to help patients find a medication that not only treats their symptoms, but that's also safe and affordable.
"I think one of the biggest things to remember is that these are still medications, so there can still be side effects from these and still have interactions with other over-the-counter medications or prescription medications, and so we still have to use them with some caution," she said.
That was one of the messages Kastner shared at Plymouth's monthly "Walk with a Doc" event, where people came to hear her speak and share their concerns about over-the-counter medications.
"What concerns me most is blood-thinning medications," said Joe Faltesek of Plymouth.
"My foremost concern is that my prescriptions won't interact," said Mary Faltesek of Plymouth. "That there won't be side effects that will affect the use of other medications."
Avoiding negative side effects is one of the primary reasons why Kastner recommends reading the info on a package.
"When you look at a package, always make sure you're reading the directions so you know what dose to take, especially for liquid medications, it's super important to have a proper dosing instrument," she said. "You can get that from your pharmacy or your pharmacist."
And if you're still in doubt, don't be afraid to ask questions.
"They put the over-the-counter aisles really close to the pharmacy for a certain reason, and it's so you can ask your pharmacist questions," she said.
March 7, 2017