Local News

Don't Forget To Read Fine Print On Over-The-Counter Medication

Posted December 26, 2002

— When you are sick, all you want is to find something that makes you feel better. But how carefully do you look at a label when you buy the product?

A recent study from N.C. State shows that 85 percent of people throw away the medicine box and information packet after the first use.

Kroger Pharmacy manager Joe Adams said that can cause problems the next time you need to take the medication.

"It's extremely important to keep it all," he said. "When this time arrives in the future, you don't have adequate information because you've thrown most of the information away."

Consumers may think all the information they need is on the bottle, but there may be something in the fine print on the box that is important to know. Sometimes, one little piece of obscure information on that leaflet may be the important tidbit you need.

Space constraints can also be a problem. Some experts suggest that a fold-out or expandable label on the container would provide plenty of room for instructions and warnings. Others recommend a toll-free number or a Web site with the information.

Adams said over the years, he has noticed companies are putting more information on the labels.

"You can tell by (my) lack of hair over the years, I've seen lots of changes," he said.

All medications include the phrase, "Call your doctor if you have questions," but N.C. State researchers say only one in five of those questioned said they would do so. According to them, the most common reasons for not calling are because they do not have a regular physician.

The study also suggested that those who do have a doctor do not believe that they would actually speak with their doctor if they called.

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