Why do we ask you so many questions when purchasing a medication over the counter?

So you get the best from over the counter medicines – whether supplied under the NHS Minor Ailment Scheme or purchased.

When you ask us what medicine you should use for a common ailment, or request a particular product in a pharmacy our staff may ask a number of set questions to help them make the best recommendation for you. The list includes things like who is the medicine for, what are the symptoms, how long have you had the symptoms and are you taking any other medicines for other conditions? Your answers make it easier for our staff to decide what medicine would be best for you and is it safe for you to use, but firstly excluding any worrying symptoms that may hint at a more serious condition.

You may consider over the counter medicines to be less harmful than prescription medicines, however, some OTC preparations contain ingredients that may cause problems in people with certain medical conditions, e.g. diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, or might affect other medicines that you are taking.  They may contain ingredients that might cause problems if you take too many or take them for too long.

So next time you’re visiting us and our staff launch into a list of questions, don’t forget: it’s designed to protect you, ensuring the medicine is right for you, safe to use, and hopefully effective in alleviating your symptoms?