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Pharmacists Reveal Top Over-The-Counter Product Recommendations

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and Pharmacy Today recently published the results of the 2012 Pharmacy Today Over-the-Counter Product Survey. The survey reveals the over-the-counter (OTC) products pharmacists are recommending most often to their patients. Because there are over 300,000 marketed OTC drug products, it is critical that patients consult their pharmacist to maximize the benefits from these medications and minimize the potential for harmful drug interaction and/or side effects.

Recipients of the 2012 survey were asked to write in approximately how many times per week they had recommended each OTC product. A series of 77 product categories were divided into three groups of questions, each of which was sent to one-third of participants. The survey was conducted in September and October 2012 and published as a supplement to the March 2013 edition of Pharmacy Today. It was completed by over 1,000 practicing community pharmacists who are recipients of Pharmacy Today.

The March 2013 Pharmacy Today OTC Supplement provides the results from the 2012 OTC Survey and a selection of articles and editorial on recent OTC product studies and data about the safe-use of these medications. This information helps pharmacists recommend the best OTC products to optimize patient health outcomes. The recent supplement contained articles on emerging data on the benefits of aspirin therapy; the public health benefits and appropriate use guidelines for at-home HIV tests; the potential of adverse effects from OTC eye drop and nasal spray usage in children; and information about fruit juice interactions with OTC and prescription medications.

Pharmacists work with doctors and other health care providers to optimize care, improve medication use and to prevent disease. To achieve the best outcomes for their condition, patients should maintain regular visits with all of their health care providers. APhA encourages patients to fill all their prescriptions with one pharmacy, get to know their pharmacist on a first name basis, discuss their medications with their pharmacist, carry an up-to-date medication and vaccination list and share all medical information with each of their health care providers.

Optimizing Your Pharmacist's Over-The-Counter Medication Suggestions:

  • Discuss the symptoms you are trying to treat, and the duration of those symptoms, with your pharmacist.
  • Provide the age and weight of the patient to your pharmacist. This is especially important with children's products or if you are caring for an elderly family member, as formulations may differ depending on weight.
  • Read product labeling, take the medication exactly as directed, learn of possible side effects, and ask your pharmacist what should be avoided while taking the medication.
  • Watch for duplicate ingredients. If you are taking or giving more than one OTC medication check the active ingredient(s) used in each medication to make sure you are not using more than one product with the same active ingredient.
  • Do not use a kitchen spoon to measure liquid medications. Obtain appropriate medication administration aids (i.e. droppers, syringes, spoons, etc.) and ask the pharmacist how to use them properly.
  • Do not give medications in the dark. Turn on the lights if your child or family member needs medication at night. Do not give medication to anyone who is not fully awake.
  • Follow good health practices to prevent the spread of contagious illnesses. Cover the mouth and nose during a cough or sneeze, avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth and wash the hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer frequently.
  • Remember, most OTC medications are for temporary relief of minor symptoms. Contact your pharmacist or health care provider if your condition persists or gets worse.

The Pharmacy Today OTC Product Survey and OTC Supplement is available at

** Being a #1 recommended product in the Pharmacy Today OTC Product Survey does not indicate Pharmacy Today or APhA endorsement of any product or service.

About the American Pharmacists Association
The American Pharmacists Association, founded in 1852 as the American Pharmaceutical Association, is a 501 (c)(6) organization, representing more than 62,000 practicing pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and others interested in advancing the profession. APhA, dedicated to helping all pharmacists improve medication use and advance patient care, is the first-established and largest association of pharmacists in the United States. For more information, please visit

About Pharmacy Today
Pharmacy Today is the monthly medication therapy management (MTM) magazine of the American Pharmacists Association, offering readers profiles of practices that employ unique MTM techniques to effectively serve their patients. Readers can use these profiles as models to develop and improve their own MTM practice, increase patient adherence, and build patient loyalty. For more information, please visit

SOURCE American Pharmacists Association
Copyright©2012 PR Newswire.
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