Know Labels

Take as Directed

Because OTCs are part of our daily lives, we may disregard or forget about reading the label. However, the label on the OTC pain medicines contains important information to help you take the medicines safely and effectively. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires OTC medicines to have a Drug Facts Label that contains the most important information on how to safely use the medicine. The Drug Facts Labels must all have the same format, look the same on every product, list product information in the same order, use simple language, and be easy to read. The following information will always appear in this order:

Drug label on a pill bottle
  • The product's active ingredients and how much is in each  dosage form.
  • The uses for the product. This is a list of all the symptoms the medicine is approved to treat.
  • Specific warnings, such as when you should consult with a doctor. This is also where possible side effects and activities to avoid are listed.
  • Dosage instructions: information on when, how, and how often to take the medicine.
  • The product's inactive ingredients. This information is important for people who avoid specific ingredients that might give them an allergic reaction.

Look for the Drug Facts Label on the medicine bottle or outer-package. You should never have to open the packaging to find the label.

If you read the Drug Facts Label and still have questions about any of the information listed there, talk to your parent, doctor, pharmacist, school nurse, or other medical professional.

Find out more about the Drug Facts Label in our Resources section .

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