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OTC drugs in the USA

Chan Ag
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Joined: Sep 06, 2012
Posts: 1021
    
  15
Hi,

First of all I'm not sure where this question fits ( or if it fits anywhere at all ) - as it's not entirely meaningless, so my apologies in advance, if this is not the right forum.

Basically I was looking online for information on the availability of the OTC ( Over The Counter ) drugs in the USA ( California, if the state matters ). In India drugs like Crocin, antibiotic drugs like Roxid 150 mg, cough syrups etc. are available for purchase OTC. So you don't need a medical prescription to purchase those medicines though that is not a recommended practice. Ideally the drugs are supposed to be classified as the ones that should be available for purchase OTC and the ones that should strictly require a prescription. But I'm not too sure if it is strictly followed in India cause I can get the cough syrup like benadryl from my pharmacist without a medical prescription.

Would anyone know how it works in the USA?

How about things like contact lenses and spectacles? Would those also require a medical prescription from an ophthalmologist?

I have already referred to the wikipedia about this, but it doesn't give much information.

Thanks,
Chan.

Maneesh Godbole
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jul 26, 2007
Posts: 10451
    
    8

Looks like an 'Onsite' for someone!

On a more serious note, I always carry the 'standard' medicines.
Combiflam: Fever, corcin substitute.
Brufen: Pain killer
Owa: Upset stomach*

Frankly speaking there is no more 'self treatment' one can do besides these.

*One needs to respect the local laws of whatever country/region you are visiting. I did not know is NOT a valid reason and can land yourself in jail. Out of all my visits, I have been asked twice if I was carrying eatables (I was not) and cumin seeds (again, no). Since cumin seeds look very similar to Ajwain, I was mentally prepared to try and explain the difference (hoping the customs official would be trained enough to get it). But it turned out, it was never required.


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J. Kevin Robbins
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Joined: Dec 16, 2010
Posts: 998
    
  13

I'd start with the Physicians Desk Reference. I didn't find Crocid in there and had to search Google to learn that it's a brand name for aluminum hydroxide. I then checked the PDR and aluminum hydroxide is an antacid and the DEA Class is OTC.

As a general rule, there are no antibiotics available in the U.S. without a prescription.


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Joe Ess
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Joined: Oct 29, 2001
Posts: 8924
    
    9

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the bureaucracy tasked with making sure drugs are "safe". There is an online reference where you can look up if a particular name brand or ingredient is regulated, and to what extent it is regulated. For example, benadryl is OTC for many concentrations. Sudafed ( PSEUDOEPHEDRINE HYDROCHLORIDE ) is OTC at the federal level, but many states have additional regulations that require either ID or a prescription to purchase. Other drugs with a high potential for abuse (narcotics, for example) are tightly regulated whereas other drugs (antibiotics) may be more readily available. Both require a prescription but the more regulated drugs will require extra measures (limited doses per month, present ID when picking up script, etc.). To make things even more interesting, some states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes but it is still considered to have "no accepted medical use" at the federal level. It will be interesting to see how that plays out in the future.


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Chan Ag
Bartender

Joined: Sep 06, 2012
Posts: 1021
    
  15
Thanks for responding. Those links posted by Kevin and Joe were really helpful.

I have also spoken to a few American friends who said that generally we can get OTC medicines easily if they are of that category which mild cold and fever medicines are. So I think I'm good.




Henry Wong
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Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18896
    
  40

Joe Ess wrote:Sudafed ( PSEUDOEPHEDRINE HYDROCHLORIDE ) is OTC at the federal level, but many states have additional regulations that require either ID or a prescription to purchase.


I always found Sudafed interesting. It's a cold medicine. It's taken to help with a stuffy nose.

Who would think that you can use it to cook "meth" ?!?!?...

Henry


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Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
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Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 61413
    
  67

You have no idea how tired I am of hearing the same "you look like Walter White" jokes I get almost every time I buy Sudafed at the pharmacy.

OK, yes, I'm bald. Yes, I have facial fur. But beyond that, there's really no resemblance -- I'm clearly much better looking!


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Jeanne Boyarsky
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Joined: May 26, 2003
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156

Chan Ag wrote:How about things like contact lenses and spectacles? Would those also require a medical prescription from an ophthalmologist?

The drug store (like a convenience store) sells "reading glasses" that you can buy without a prescription. Beyond that, you need to know what your prescription IS in order to get the right ones. But you can use it as many times as you want unlike a medicine prescription.


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Chan Ag
Bartender

Joined: Sep 06, 2012
Posts: 1021
    
  15
Thank you, Jeanne.
 
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