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OTC Drug Addiction
Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are drugs that do not require a prescription. These OTC drugs can simply be bought "over-the-counter", as their name states. Although many people assume that no harm can come from abusing OTC drugs for which a prescription is not needed, many health complications as well as addiction can take place with the abuse of OTC drugs. In some cases, death has been caused by over-the-counter drugs. In fact, actor Heath Ledger died as a result of an overdose of over-the-counter pills. There is still much debate over whether or not his death was accidental or suicide, but it has been widely reported that an overdose of OTC drugs caused his death. Many people do not even read the common side effects on the box of OTC medication, unless an adverse side effect occurs. Because OTC drugs are so easy to obtain, there is a general assumption in many instances that the majority of OTC medications are relatively safe to consume without caution. . Even herbal OTC pills can be dangerous as they are not well regulated by the FDA. Addiction to over-the-counter drugs has occurred in many cases. In many instances, with OTC drugs, a tolerance can be built up to an over-the-counter drug, and accidental addiction can take place. When high doses of OTC drugs are taken many dangerous side effects can occur. OTC drugs are abused when the drug is taken past the recommended dosage. Over-the-counter drugs come in many different shapes and sizes. OTC drugs may come in liquid form (in the case of cough syrup) or as a pill. People choose OTC drugs in an effort to achieve a certain goal. Some abuse these OTC drugs to lose weight, others to create methamphetamine, and others to receive a certain sensation. The following are a few types of over-the-counter drugs which are available.
OTC Sleep Aids Some of the brand names of most common OTC sleep aids include Excedrin PM, Sominex, and Tylenol P.M. These OTC drugs may be harmful in excess as they can cause problems with sleep habits, weaken areas of the body, or create the condition narcolepsy (this condition causes an uncontrollable, unpredictable desire to sleep). OTC Motion Sickness Drugs
One brand name for over-the-counter motion sickness drugs is Dramamine. This OTC drug has been known to cause hallucinations when taken past the recommended dosage.
OTC Cold Medicines (tablets and cough syrups)
Brand names of these OTC drugs include Robitussin, Vicks, Coricidin, and Nyquil. Many different types of OTC cold medicines contain the popular drug dextromethorphan (DXM). Although this OTC drug is not harmful in small amounts, when this over the counter medication taken in excess it can cause hallucinations, numbness, and confusion. Street names for this drug include Skittles, Dex, Tussin, Vitamin D, and Robo. In 2010, there were close to 12,000 documented ER visits due to the abuse of the OTC cold medications containing DXM. In some areas, people who attempt to buy over the counter products containing the drug DXM can buy no more than a certain amount. Other stores have proceeded to change the location of certain OTC drugs containing pseudoephedrine so that they cannot be obtained without the help of an employee. Pseudophedrine is known to be an OTC medication that is used in the making of methamphetamine. According to United States law, identification must be requested and recorded upon purchase of any products containing this OTC drug.
OTC Diet Medications
Over the counter diet medications are most commonly found in tablet form. The most commonly abused OTC diet meds will contain caffeine and ephedrine. Some of the brand names of these OTC diet drugs include Dexatrim, Acutrim and Metabolife. People who use these OTC medications can easily become addicted if they are taking these over the counter diet meds in large doses for long periods of time.
Even with all of the information available about the dangers of over the counter medications, many still consider OTC drugs a safe way to get high.
Overdoses from OTC medications can occur, as well as death, in some instances. If you or someone you know is addicted to OTC drugs, seek drug treatment before serious health complications develop.