medicine cabinet myths
Boost your OTC knowledge with this true-or-false trivia.
1/ You should trash OTC meds the second they expire. // FALSE
Painkillers and cold meds are typically A-OK to take after they’ve expired, says Rahul
Khare, M.D. “They can still be effective a month or two past the date on the box, but I wouldn’t take anything after six months,” he says. The exception: liquid syrups, which can go rancid.
2/ If the recommended dose of a pain reliever doesn’t help, popping lots more of the same medicine will. // FALSE
“OTC drugs like acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen have maximum ‘ceiling doses,’ which means that taking more than what’s on the label won’t add to the drug’s effectiveness; it will only contribute to its toxicity,” says Patrick J. McDonnell, Pharm.D., professor of clinical pharmacy practice at Temple University School of Pharmacy. If you need a boatload of relief, talk to your doctor about other options.
3/ You should replace your toothbrush every three months. // TRUE
Even if you regularly sanitize your brush, you can’t repair worn-down bristles, says Nicole
Holland, D.D.S., a dentist in Boston. When those begin to fray, your toothbrush becomes less
effective. Make sure the brush you’re using has intact, straight bristles.
4/ It’s fine to keep all of your OTC meds in the bathroom. // FALSE
Turns out, you might be better off storing medicine in your bedroom. “A bathroom’s moist air and warm temperatures can make medicine expire faster,” says McDonnell. Always keep your drugs in a dry, controlled environment.
5/ The FDA monitors the safety of all drugstore meds. // TRUE (but be careful!)
Anything labeled as a medical drug is backed by studies and safety data, but OTC products classified as dietary supplements (like herbal or botanical remedies)
aren’t government vetted for effectiveness, says McDonnell.
All Fitness ____