Menu Close

Build a foundation for lasting recovery from addiction

Which OTC Medications Are Addictive?

Which OTC Medications Are Addictive?

Prescription drugs are not the only addictive drugs, some over-the-counter (OTC) medications can become addictive. Which ones are these?

Over-the-counter drugs, or OTC medications as they are popularly called, include all forms of medicines one can readily obtain from a pharmacy without a prescription. Hence, the name implies that these drugs can be gotten over the counter at the nearest drugstore or supermarket. In addition, these medicines are relatively safe to use and effective once directions given on the label or advised by a healthcare professional are followed. For these reasons, OTC drugs have been popular among the general public for handling minor aches and relief from illnesses. 

However, this ease of access to OTC medicines sponsors abuse and likely addictions. Such cases typically result from using higher dosages or turning to these drugs instead of getting a proper diagnosis for any ache, allergy, or illness.

Which OTC Medications Are Addictive?

Commonly Misused OTC Medications in the United States

Below is a brief look at some of the frequently misused over-the-counter medicines today. Yet, every year, these drugs typically emerge as some of the substances most responsible for chemical dependence amongst teenagers and adults alike.

  • Dextromethorphan: This is just the clinical name given to the usual over-the-counter cough syrup typically used for easing a nasty cough. Despite its effectiveness in stopping the cough, the drug is also well known to make an individual high if consumed in large doses and may even induce hallucinations.
  • Loperamide: This drug is used to treat excessive stooling and is commonly taken for cases of diarrhea. Individuals should maintain extra care with this particular medicine to avoid misuse as an overdose may result in heart disease or even be fatal. In addition, the strengths of the various forms of the drug (chewable tablets or oral suspension) must be appropriately evaluated before it is used. Therefore, label directions must be strictly abided by if any individual is using Loperamide.
  • Analgesics: This category of medicines is used to treat pain and body aches. Typical examples are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Aspirin and acetaminophen-based ones like Tylenol. Generally, addiction likely results from individuals believing that they can only function free from pain by taking these medicines. Thus, a dependency is built, and such a person may begin to consume higher doses as the body steadily builds tolerance.
  • Antihistamines: These drugs treat allergy symptoms and are usually available as pills, gels, liquids, nasal sprays, and eye drops. Less frequently, they may be used to help people who experience trouble sleeping (insomnia). However, certain conditions like glaucoma, thyroid disease, and heart disease preclude individuals from using antihistamines. Generally, so long as they are taken per label directions, misuse will be nonexistent.

Finding Help for an Addiction to OTC Drugs

OTC medicines pose varying side effects, drug interaction issues, and instances of addiction to using them. Consequently, using OTC medicines requires stronger discretion and discipline than one would need for a prescription drug. Nonetheless, if an addiction arises, comprehensive care for a safe ride back to sobriety is necessary.

Evoke Waltham Drug and Alcohol Rehab Center provides detailed healing and therapy programs to combat addictions to OTC drugs and other substances. Whatever the implicated drug may be, the facility offers personalized rehab plans to help individuals become sober and reclaim their lives. Call today to speak with a recovery advocate and discover more about the treatment packages, admissions process, insurance coverage, and more!