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Manag Care Interface. 2007 Jan;20(1):42-7.

Switching from prescription to over-the counter medications: a consumer and managed care perspective.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacy Practice and Administration, College of Pharmacy, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


An extensive literature review using databases, such as MEDLINE, Cochrane Collaboration, and ScienceDirect, provided information on the current trends, benefits, risks, and effects of switched medications on consumers MCOs. More than 80 ingredients or 700 medications have been changed from prescription (Rx) to over-the-counter (OTC) status. Although the Rx-to-OTC switch has resulted in significant cost savings for consumers (13 billion dollars) and MCOs (20 million dollars), the misuse of medications can cause side effects, hospitalizations, and even death. In conclusion, a balance must be struck between the increasing demand for these switched medications and their safety risks. In addition, the long-term benefits of many of these medications are still uncertain and need further exploration.

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[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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