Reading the fine print on medicine labels can be daunting, especially when you or someone you love is in pain. Here’s a guide to help you make sense of it all. Be sure to compare labels if you’re taking more than one over-the-counter medication at a time. Taking multiple medicines with the same active ingredient can be harmful.
The parts of the medicine that make it work.
Describes the symptoms that the medicine treats.
Indicates the amount or dose of medicine to take, how often to take it, and how much you can take in one day.
Ingredients not intended to treat your symptoms (e.g., preservatives, flavorings).
Safety information including side effects, the questions you should ask a doctor before taking the medicine, and which medicines to avoid using at the same time. You can also find the Poison Control Center phone number here.
How to store the medicine.
Call the company if you have questions about a specific medicine.