Fact Sheet: Over-the-Counter Medicine

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are those that can be sold directly to people without a prescription. OTC medicines treat a variety of illnesses and their symptoms including pain, coughs and colds, diarrhea, constipation, acne, and others. Some OTC medicines have active ingredients with the potential for misuse at higher-than-recommended dosages.

Misuse of an OTC medicine means taking medicine in a way or dose other than directed on the package, taking medicine for the effect it causes— for example, to get high, or mixing OTC medicines together to create new products.

View the fact sheet from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.