Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are those that can be sold directly to people without a prescription. OTC medicines treat a variety of illnesses and their symptoms including pain, coughs and colds, diarrhea, constipation, acne, and others. Some OTC medicines have active ingredients with the potential for misuse at higher-than-recommended dosages. Read the DrugFacts
- Emerging Trends - "Sizzurp", "Purple Drank"
- Over-the-Counter Medicines—Dextromethorphan (DMX) Health Effects
- Over-the-Counter Medicines—Loperamide Health Effects
Swipe left or right to scroll.
|Drug||Time Period||8th Graders||10th Graders||12th Graders|
|Cough Medicine (non-prescription)||Past Year||2.80||3.30||3.40|
- MEDLINEplus Health Information on Drug Abuse - National Library of Medicine, NIH
- www.abovetheinfluence.com - Office of National Drug Control Policy
- healthfinder.gov - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Past information on many drugs of abuse is available on our Archives site.
Clinical trials are research studies in human volunteers conducted to answer specific health questions. Learn about the NIH-sponsored clinical trials available to you.
- NIDA Clinical Trial Locator - answer a few simple questions and get contact information for Clinical Trials near you.
Other Clinical Trials information sources:
- NIH Clinical Trials and You - NIH site that helps explain about clinical trials and why people participate.
- NIDA Trials at ClinicalTrials.gov - a resource of federally and privately supported clinical trials.
- Clinical Research Studies from the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network (CTN) - a NIDA coordinated network of research institutions conducting human trials on drug abuse solutions.
- Research Studies at NIDA Intramural Research Program - located in Baltimore, Maryland.
Emerging Trends & Alerts
Get more information on Emerging Trends and Alerts, we will update this page with the latest research findings as they develop.
Get this Publication
Cite this article
NIDA. (). Over-the-Counter Medicines. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/over-counter-medicines
New Opioid Overdose Materials for Patients
Safe Disposal of Medicines
Examines the non-medical use of prescription drugs-opioids, central nervous system depressants, and stimulants-describing adverse health effects of their use and the prevention and treatment of addiction.
Find information about addiction and mental health services in your area. You can search by state or zip code online or call the number. (SAMHSA)
Prescription Drug Abuse
Learn what you can do to
prevent medicine abuse at