Over-the-counter medications are drugs you can buy at a store without a doctor’s prescription. These medications are generally considered safe. However, don’t assume that the pain reliever you buy is without any side effects. Even over-the-counter drugs can cause adverse health problems if misused. Here are some tips for buying medications without prescriptions so you don’t inadvertently compromise your health:

Consult with Your General Practitioner

You may think buying a vitamin, a nutritional supplement, or even a headache pill over-the-counter to be relatively safe. But if you are on other prescription medication, these drugs may adversely interact with the other drugs you are taking. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to consult with a physician or your GP before taking anything OTC when you are on a prescription.

Even if you are not, ask your doctor if a certain OTC medication is safe to take considering your current medical condition. Certain drugs, like aspirin, are easily available, but can make certain diseases worse. You must always consult with a doctor when buying OTC medications if you are pregnant, suspect yourself to be pregnant, or are trying to get pregnant.

Find a Great Local Chemist

The best way to make sure the OTC drugs you are buying is safe is to ask the pharmacist about it. Chemists in Australia are licensed to dispense important information about medications and side effects to customers. But the services you receive at each drug store may vary. Therefore, find a great local pharmacy Heidelberg, or in your area, for the highest quality information for buying OTC drugs. Good pharmacists will help you choose the drug you need and plan how you should take it.

Don’t Browse Shelves for Meds

You can window shop for shoes and clothes, but never window shop for medications of any kind. Do understand that even OTC medications are, in fact, medications. Some may be dangerous for you if you have any health conditions. Don’t buy a pain reliever or an itch relief cream impulsively over the shelves. Ask a doctor or a pharmacist as mentioned above. You can also conduct independent online searches and find out which drugs are best suited for your condition.

Read the Warning Labels before Buying

All medications, OTC drugs included, come with warning labels whenever necessary. You must read the patient information often advertised on external parts of the package. This part would include serious health warnings—such as cautioning taking the drug during pregnancy—and information about severe side effects. One of the foremost steps in buying OTC drugs safely is to read the labels first.

Don’t Buy Combination Drugs

Most doctors and pharmacists advice against buying combination OTC medications. These are drug brands that contain more than one active ingredient. Typically, one active ingredient would treat a single symptom, like a cough, while another would treat something else, like general pain. Combination drugs are problematic because they come with an elevated risk of an overdose compared to single active ingredient drugs. You could also risk ingesting a drug that is harmful to you, even if the rest of the medication is safe to take.

Patients must be very cautious when buying OTC medication on their own. Do your research and follow the advice suggested above to avoid risks and adverse effects on your health.