Thinking of buying one of the newly available over-the-counter drugs, or buying drugs online? Wondering how to help protect yourself?

We know: Drug Labels: 1 Minute Lesson

Many drugs that used to require a prescription from a doctor are now available over the counter (OTC) and online. One of the best ways to protect yourself when shopping for these new OTC drugs, or any drug, is to know how to read the label.

The Food and Drug Administration has just issued new regulations to make reading the label on an over the counter drug easier. Every item must be listed in the same order. Here’s...

How To Read A Drug Label

Active Ingredient

Must list the therapeutic substance in the product and the amount of ingredient per unit.


Must list the symptoms or diseases the product will treat or prevent.


Must list when not to use the product, conditions that may require advice from a doctor, interactions, side effects and other warnings.

Inactive Ingredients

Must list substances such as colors and flavors.


Must list product action or category, such as antihistamine, antacid etc.


Must list specific age categories, how much to take, how to take, how often and how long to take.

Other information

Must list how to store and required information about certain ingredients, such as the amount of calcium, potassium or sodium the product contains.

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