Common Over-the-Counter or OTC Drugs and Side Effects of Abused

Tanuja Bisht

, Health A2Z

Over the counter or OTC drugs are medications that are available without prescription from drugstores, medical stores, and healthcare providers.


OTC drugs are typically safe if you use the recommended doses. Like prescription and illegal drugs, they can also be abused. Although less potent than other substances, OTC drugs still pose a risk of developing an addiction.



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Abusing OTC drugs can lead to dangerous health problems such as memory loss, heart problems, kidney failure, and sometimes death.


Some commonly abused OTC drugs include:

  • Cough Medicines
  • Cold Medicines
  • Pain Relievers
  • Motion Sickness Pills
  • Caffeine Pills
  • Laxatives
  • Diet Pills




What is OTC Drug Abuse?

The drugs have different medical uses and effects, treating medium pain to motion sickness. Some abuse OTC drugs to self-medicate for mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Abusing these drugs or medications can also give users a euphoric hallucination. Any use of drugs outside of what’s recommended is considered as abuse.



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What is OTC Drug Addiction?

Recreational OTC drug use can also change your brain’s chemistry over time. Eventually, the user establishes a tolerance to the drugs, needing more of the substance to get the previous effects. Those addicted to OTC drugs may also develop withdrawal symptoms when the user stops using it.


Common symptoms of OTC drug withdrawal include:

  • Confusion
  • Hostility
  • Mood changes
  • Anxiety


Learning to spot the drug addiction or abuse can be difficult. OTC drugs and various cough medicines don’t carry the same dangerous form as illicit drugs. People don’t always see them as addictive as but so many loved ones of people addicted to OTC drugs and don’t even know that they are addictive with these drugs.




What are the Treatments Available for OTC Drug Addiction?

Those people who are suffering from the drug addiction may have many treatment options. Group and individual therapies, psychotherapies, and mental health counseling such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are all effective treatment methods for addictive once.


Outpatient and inpatient rehab programs allow patients recovering from OTC drug addiction the resources to get and stay sober. Enrolling such patients in a drug rehab program can also significantly reduce the drug addiction.



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What Are the Other Health Effects of OTC Drugs?

The are several other health effects of the drugs such as its harmful effect on the cardiovascular system. Taking high doses of drugs can increase the body temperature as well as cause irregular heartbeat or even heart failure.


The contentious taking of a high dose of these medicines or drugs can also lead to hostility or feelings of paranoia.





Looking at all the possible health effects of OTC drugs, I conclude that you should never take any medicine without prescription because of it not only affect your physical health but as well as your mental health.



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