Drug Facts Chat Day: Over-the-Counter Drugs

Can over-the-counter drugs be as bad as the illegal drugs?

Yes. All drugs have potentially dangerous effects—it depends on how much you take and how you take them. Generally, the amount of over-the-counter drugs you need to take for the intended action (like getting rid of an allergy) is much less than would produce a harmful effect. That is why the U. S. Food and Drug Administration allows these drugs to be sold without a prescription. But if you take a larger amount, the drug could very well cause harmful effects and even death, particularly if combined with other drugs or alcohol.