Discussion- Over-the-Counter Drugs Assignment Paper

Discussion- Over-the-Counter Drugs Assignment Paper

Discussion -Over-the-Counter Drugs is part of NURS 6540 Week 4 Discussion. Here we wil choose one OTC drug from the following list:Antacids or acid suppressants, Antimalarial, Antihistamines, Antimicrobial ointments, Antispasmodics for the bladder, Cough suppressants, Laxatives, Neutraceuticals (choose one; e.g., ginseng, St. John’s wart, etc.),Discussion- Over-the-Counter Drugs Assignment Paper Pain medications (choose one; e.g., acetaminophen, ibuprofen, rub-on pain ointments/patches, etc.), Supplements (choose one; e.g., calcium, iron, etc.) and Vaginal creams and discuss various aspects of the same in relation to the provided instructions below:


Discussion -Over-the-Counter Drugs

Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic processes differ among patients across their life spans. For geriatric patients, alterations due to aging make them especially prone to adverse drug reactions.Discussion- Over-the-Counter Drugs Assignment Paper The various health issues that affect many geriatric patients further complicate this, as the need to treat these multiple health issues often results in polypharmacy. Although treatments are frequently drugs prescribed by the health care provider, many geriatric patients also take over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. While the provider sometimes recommends these OTC drugs, patients often select the drugs on their own. This makes patient education on pharmacology key when caring for geriatric patients. Many patients assume that if drugs are available over the counter, then they are safe to take. However, due to issues related to polypharmacy and how their aging bodies process drugs, OTC drugs may have serious implications for patients.Discussion- Over-the-Counter Drugs Assignment Paper

To prepare for Discussion -Over-the-Counter Drugs:

Review the American Geriatrics Society article and interactive media piece in this week’s Learning Resources.

Select one of the following over-the-counter drugs commonly used by geriatric patients:Discussion- Over-the-Counter Drugs Assignment Paper

  • Antidiarrheal
  • Antacids or acid suppressants
  • Antihistamines
  • Antimicrobial ointments
  • Cough suppressants
  • Antispasmodics for the bladder
  • Laxatives
  • Neutraceuticals (choose one; e.g., ginseng, St. John’s wart, etc.)Discussion- Over-the-Counter Drugs Assignment Paper
  • Pain medications (choose one; e.g., acetaminophen, ibuprofen, rub-on pain ointments/patches, etc.)
  • Supplements (choose one; e.g., calcium, iron, etc.)
  • Vaginal creams

Research the over-the-counter drug you selected. Visit a local pharmacy and explore the types/varieties of the drug that are available. Discussion- Over-the-Counter Drugs Assignment Paper Reflect on the ingredients in each type/variety, including additional active ingredients.

Consult with the pharmacist about the ingredients in each type/variety, including how to make safe and effective clinical decisions in relation to this drug. Discuss potential interactions in frail elders and precautions related to the drug based on Beers Criteria.Discussion- Over-the-Counter Drugs Assignment Paper If one is available, you may consult with a pharmacist at your practicum site as an alternative to visiting a pharmacy.

Consider ways to educate elders about the OTC drug you selected.

Post on or before Day 5 a PowerPoint presentation that addresses the following:

  • Describe the over-the-counter drug that you selected.
  • Identify the types/varieties of the drug that are available. Describe the ingredients in each type/variety including additional active ingredients.
  • Explain the key information that you need to know about this OTC drug to make safe and effective clinical decisions. Include potential interactions in frail elders and describe any precautions related to the drug based on Beers Criteria.
  • Explain how you would educate elders about the OTC drug you selected.Discussion- Over-the-Counter Drugs Assignment Paper

Read a selection of your colleagues’ responses to Discussion -Over-the-Counter Drugs.

Respond on or before Day 7 to at least two of your colleagues on two different days in one or more of the ways listed below. Respond to colleagues who selected a different drug than you did.

Suggest additional interactions in frail elders that may be caused by the ingredients in your colleagues’ drugs.

Provide insights to drug-drug interactions between the drug you selected and the drugs your colleagues selected.

Validate an idea with your own clinical experiences and additional literature search.Discussion- Over-the-Counter Drugs Assignment Paper

Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are medicines sold directly to a consumer without a prescription from a healthcare professional,[1] as opposed to prescription drugs, which may be sold only to consumers possessing a valid prescription. In many countries, OTC drugs are selected by a regulatory agency to ensure that they contain ingredients that are safe and effective when used without a physician’s care.Discussion- Over-the-Counter Drugs Assignment Paper OTC drugs are usually regulated according to their active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) rather than final products. By regulating APIs instead of specific drug formulations, governments allow manufacturers the freedom to formulate ingredients, or combinations of ingredients, into proprietary mixtures.[2]

The term over-the-counter may be somewhat counterintuitive, since, in many countries, these drugs are often placed on shelves in self-service areas of stores, like any other packaged products.[1] In contrast, prescription drugs are almost always passed over a counter from the pharmacist to the customer.Discussion- Over-the-Counter Drugs Assignment Paper Some drugs may be legally classified as over-the-counter (i.e. no prescription is required), but may only be dispensed by a pharmacist after an assessment of the patient’s needs or the provision of patient education. In many countries, a number of OTC drugs are available in establishments without a pharmacy, such as general stores, supermarkets, and gas stations. Regulations detailing the establishments where drugs may be sold, who is authorized to dispense them, and whether a prescription is required vary considerably from country to country.[3]Discussion- Over-the-Counter Drugs Assignment Paper

OTC drugs enable people to relieve many annoying symptoms and to cure some diseases simply and without the cost of seeing a doctor. However, safe use of these drugs requires knowledge, common sense, and responsibility.

In addition to the substances such as aspirin and acetaminophen that people typically think of as OTC drugs, many other commonly available products are considered OTC drugs by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA).Discussion- Over-the-Counter Drugs Assignment Paper Some toothpastes, some mouthwashes, some types of eye drops, wart removers, first aid creams and ointments that contain antibiotics, and even dandruff shampoos are considered OTC drugs.

Some OTC drugs were originally available only by prescription. After many years of use under prescription regulation, drugs with excellent safety records may be approved by the FDA for over-the-counter sale. The analgesic ibuprofen and the indigestion remedy famotidine are examples of such drugs.Discussion- Over-the-Counter Drugs Assignment Paper Often, the OTC version has a substantially lower amount of active ingredient in each tablet, capsule, or caplet than does the prescription drug. When establishing appropriate doses of OTC drugs, manufacturers and the FDA try to balance safety and effectiveness.

OTC drugs are not always better tolerated than similar prescription drugs. For example, the OTC sleep aid diphenhydramine can cause just as serious adverse effects as many prescription sleep aids, especially in older people.Discussion- Over-the-Counter Drugs Assignment Paper

Historical Background

At one time, most drugs were available without a prescription. Before the FDA existed, just about anything could be put in a bottle and sold as a sure-fire cure. Alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, and opium were included in some OTC products without notification to users. The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act, enacted in 1938, gave the FDA some authority to issue regulations, but the act did not provide clear guidelines as to which drugs could be sold by prescription only and which could be sold over the counter.Discussion- Over-the-Counter Drugs Assignment Paper


An amendment to the FD&C Act in 1951 attempted to clarify the difference between OTC and prescription drugs and to deal with issues of drug safety. Prescription drugs were defined as compounds that could be habit forming, toxic, or unsafe for use except under a doctor’s supervision. Anything else could be sold over the counter.

As noted by an amendment to the FD&C Act of 1962, OTC drugs were required to be both effective and safe. However, determining effectiveness and safety can be difficult.Discussion- Over-the-Counter Drugs Assignment Paper What is effective for one person may not be for another, and any drug may cause unwanted side effects (also called adverse effects, adverse events, or adverse drug reactions). There was no organized system in the United States for reporting the adverse effects of OTC drugs until 2007, when a new law became effective that required companies to report serious adverse events associated with OTC drugs (see OTC Products and Dietary Supplements).

Safety Considerations

Safety is a major concern when the FDA considers reclassifying a prescription drug as OTC. Most OTC drugs—unlike health foods, dietary supplements (including medicinal herbs) and complementary therapies—have been studied scientifically and extensively. However, all drugs have benefits and risks, and some degree of risk has to be tolerated if people are to receive a drug’s benefits.Discussion- Over-the-Counter Drugs Assignment Paper Defining an acceptable degree of risk is a judgment call.

Reclassifying drugs as over-the-counter

The following questions can help determine whether a drug is safe enough to be made available over the counter:

  • Has the drug been used for a long enough time so that any harmful effects are fully understood?

    What harmful effects (including those from misuse) may the drug cause?Discussion- Over-the-Counter Drugs Assignment Paper

    Is the drug habit forming?

    Do the benefits of over-the-counter status outweigh the risks?

Other questions help determine the ease with which a disease can be diagnosed and then treated outside of a health care setting:

  • Can the average person self-diagnose the condition that calls for the drug?

    Can the average person treat the condition without the help of a doctor or other health care practitioner?

Finally, people need to understand how to use the drug, so labeling on the outside and inside the package are important considerations:

  • Can adequate directions for use be written?Discussion- Over-the-Counter Drugs Assignment Paper

    Can warnings against unsafe use be written?

    Can the average person understand the information on the label?

Choosing and using over-the-counter drugs

Safety depends on using a drug properly. For OTC drugs, proper use often relies on consumer self-diagnosis, which leaves room for error. For example, most headaches are not dangerous, but in rare cases, a headache is an early warning of a brain tumor or hemorrhage. Similarly, what seems like severe heartburn may signal an impending heart attack.Discussion- Over-the-Counter Drugs Assignment Paper Ultimately, people must use common sense in determining when a symptom or ailment is minor and when it requires medical attention and consult a doctor if they are unsure.Discussion- Over-the-Counter Drugs Assignment Paper