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How to Purchase Over The Counter Drugs

Yes! You don’t need a prescription to buy Over The Counter (OTC) drugs in a pharmacy. That being said, it is of utmost importance that everyone should be acquainted with the regular ethics and practice in the purchase and usage of such drugs.

One fact is that people easily abuse the usage of OTC drugs simply because they can easily walk into any pharmacy and get it on request. Here are 5 rules to follow when buying OTC drugs:

1. Dosage

This is not only the most pronounced misconduct of customers with OTC drugs, it is the most frequent and it is propelled by ignorance and inadequate information or education. This is a serious matter in the medical profession and it is so because an overdose of any drug is hazardous to the health. Wrong dosage of drugs is a risky practice and is also the reason why it is advised that we visit the pharmacist or superintendent pharmacist to ensure a reliable prescription is taken before you step out of the drug store.


2. Prescription

Even when you are sure that a certain drug is okay to cure your illness, still have a word with the superintendent pharmacist before you make your purchase. This removes any doubt you may have regarding your choice of purchase or better still you may be given a more effective drug instead of that which you would have bought. Sometimes, the body develops resistance to a certain type of drug, after using the drug over a long period of time. You may not know this but the professional will know and also know what to do immediately.


3. Professional assessment

It is also a good habit to tell the pharmacist why you want to buy a certain drug or preferably see a doctor before you go to the pharmacy because at times you end up self medicating the wrong illness which might lead to complications. Self medicating to cut medical bills might cost more than you could ever anticipate.


4. Security

OTC drugs are being hawked or sold in road side shops. Please, avoid patronising such products. A product you didn’t find in a pharmacy is most likely substandard and does not meet the criteria put in place by NAFDAC and other drug agencies. Be wary of such products, as there will be no one to report to in case of any problems.


5. Drug abuse

The birth of addiction. The easiest drugs to abuse are those you don’t require prescription to buy. This is a serious public health issue that affects every community. This issue has been pandemic in our country of late with the outbreak of codeine. Codeine is an opiate. An extract of opium has several adverse effects including drowsiness, depression, coughing, vomiting, urine retention, dry mouth, nausea, constipation, itching, respiratory depression etc. Teenagers have adopted the abuse of this drug because it is an OTC drug; easy to get, cheap and legal compared to the higher grade narcotics. They can use it any where because it is a cough syrup and it is “not a narcotic”. The NDLEA is on the lookout for those who abuse drugs like this. So please, stop drug abuse!


CAUTION: Parents and guardians should know that they no longer have to be on the lookout for beer cans, bottles of alcoholic content, cigarette filters or pot. What you have to watch out for now are those innocent syrup bottles lying in the dash boards or in the rooms, those odd coloured La Casera drinks and those foamy and extra sugary plastic cokes. That is the new age narcotic system teenagers have adopted. So the earlier you help them, the better for us all.




About the Writer: Bello Muhammad is a graduate of Biological Sciences. He is passionate about education and personal development. He is also a lover of chess who has featured in the West African University Games for his institution. You can contact him via Google+ and email:, call 08152501891 and twitter @Slimanic.


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