As mentioned in our previous blog, choosing which over-the-counter medications to reduce cold symptoms can be overwhelming. Many cold relief products include a variety of medications in order to fight symptoms with one dose. The convenience of this product comes with risks to medication safety.
ConsumerMedSafety.org, published by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, specifies two problems with multiple active-ingredient medicines: taking unnecessary medication and double dosing medication ingredients in combination products. This blog will focus on double dosing ingredients.
Duplicate or double dosing is an issue. With cold relief products that contain more than one active-ingredient, users can commonly be unaware of what they are taking. Inadvertent use of another medication containing the same medication or class of medication is a known problem. As mentioned in PharmacistConsult.org, ‘Often, individuals take combination products alongside other combination products or stand-alone products. Without paying close attention to ingredients that are contained within each product, it is easy to duplicate active ingredients needlessly.’ For example, in combination products that use ibuprofen (a commonly used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, NSAID), users may take another ibuprofen-containing product such as brand name Advil or another NSAID such as naproxen sodium or brand name Aleve. Overdosing can have negative consequences on the kidney, stomach, heart, and vascular system, in particular.
The Mayo Clinic suggests that one selects relief products based on the symptoms you are experiencing. By limiting excess medications, there is a lower safety risk. Consult a pharmacist if you have any questions about what to take. Consumer MedicationSafety.org advises to review these steps when exploring over-the-counter (OTC) medications.
- ‘Read the Active Ingredients section of the Drug Facts label on all OTC medicines, and be sure each active ingredient is not being taken in more than one product.
- Read the Uses section of the Drug Facts label on all OTC medicines, and use multi-symptom products that only treat the actual symptoms you have (e.g., cough, fever, congestion, discomfort).
- If taking OTC and prescription medicines at the same time, be sure the prescription medicine does not contain one of the same active ingredients as the OTC medicine.
- If you are unsure of the active ingredients in either OTC or prescription medicines, contact your local pharmacist for assistance.’
- antihistamine: Chlorpheniramine Maleate;
- decongestant: Phenylephrine HCl,
- anti-inflammatory (NSAID): Naproxen Sodium.
Additionally, the Cold FAid® app allows you to track your medications and receive reminders for each dose.You will be in charge knowing what medications you to take, when and how to appropriately consume them.
We, at Cold FAid®, advise you to always check medical labels in order to ensure your and your family’s safety. Stay healthy!