Magazine article Drug Topics

NCPIE Launches Campaign to Promote Safe OTC Use

Magazine article Drug Topics

NCPIE Launches Campaign to Promote Safe OTC Use

Article excerpt

Be MedWise

Know Your Medicine

SELF-CARE

The National Council on Patient Information & Education (NC-PIE) is kicking off BeMedWise, a public information campaign about the safe use of overthe-counter medications. The campaign, timed to coincide with the changeover this spring to a standardized "Drug Facts" label on nonprescription drugs, uses the new label as one way to raise awareness that OTC drugs are serious medicines that must be taken with care.

"A key educational point of our campaign is that OTC medicines will have the new drug facts label on them. We want consumers to read the drug facts label and pay particular attention to the active ingredient in their OTC medicines and to the warnings. We want them to be aware of the fact that certain active ingredients may appear in a number of OTC medicine products that they may be taking. The campaign is designed to support the use of that OTC label and to encourage people who can't understand the label or who may have additional questions about their medicine to seek information from their healthcare professional," said Ray Bullman, NCPIE's executive vp.

The national campaign kicked off with a 30-second TV commercial called "Medicines Don't Mix." The commercial, created by advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, features a father and his young son playing outside on a fall day. The man says, "I have to admit I've never given it that much thought-taking different medicines at the same time. But you have to be careful. I had this bad cold, so I started taking this cold medicine and then a pain reliever to bring down my fever-until my wife pointed out that the cold medicine already contained a pain reliever. So, I was actually taking double the dose without realizing it. The best way to be sure is to know your medicines. Always compare labels. Take the time to be careful."

Bullman told Drug Topics, "We certainly are not saving that OTC medicines are not safe. We want to call attention to the fact that all medicines, including OTC medicines, may have some risks. We want people to be aware of the fact that you may be using OTC medicines inappropriately, and we want to provide the awareness so that doesn't happen."

Linda Golodner, president of National Consumers League and NCPIE's chairman, said, "It's very important for consumers to realize that even though these products are available from the shelf, they still have to read labels and be concerned about possible interactions with other medications and also with dietary supplements. …

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