Firstly, and most importantly, I never base any decisions on the front of a package. Drug companies spend a lot of money on “smoke and mirrors” and plenty of that money is in the packaging. However, the people in charge of such things (the FDA) forced them to put all the important information on the back in black and white, literally. These “Drug Facts” labels make things easy as pie. (Mmmm…pie…)
Uses- Pretty basic stuff here, the best part being that every once in a long while they list things you didn’t know it could be used for (bonus!).
Warnings- Things you should worry about before or while taking this medication. Additional categories not included on this particular label include: when not to take the medication at all, possible interactions or side-effects, and signs you should stop taking the medication and/or call your doctor. Oddly enough, this label does not tell pregnant or breast-feeding women to consult with their doctor before using. I thought that was on everything. (Babies are a bit of legal liability every drug company tries to avoid).
Other Information- A random assortment of information that didn’t fit anywhere else.
Inactive Ingredients- My second favorite section. This is one advantage OTC products have over prescription products. While it is very difficult to find the specific inactive ingredients for a given batch of prescription drugs and some of those ingredients can change between batches; OTC labels are much more helpful. Those of you avoiding specific dyes for allergy or side-effect reasons can find them listed out here. Although I’m on the fence about red-40 I still try to avoid red food coloring to reduce the risk of red vomit stains. Yum.
Expiration Date and Lot Number- Believe it or not, the pharmacist behind the counter has very little control over the outer shelves, especially at a grocery store. You would be surprised how many times I was helping someone find a product and had to grab a different bottle because the one I was holding was expired. Do yourself a favor and check before you buy.