Over-the-counter drugs: Prescription for confusion?

At Able Care Pharmacy & Medical Supplies in Enfield, Ashraf Moustafa, the pharmacy manager, often tries to avert disasters involving drugs displayed on his store’s shelves.

Moustafa recently spoke to an elderly woman seeking ways to treat dark blue patches on her arms. Instead of suggesting any remedies, he asked the woman what medicines she was taking and discovered that she was dangerously mixing over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs with aspirin and the prescription blood thinner, Plavix. He sent the woman to the hospital, fearing that she was suffering from internal bleeding.

“People have the impression that if a drug is approved for over-the-counter use, then it must be much safer than prescription medicine,” Moustafa says. “That’s when trouble happens.”

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