Don't skip those 'hidden' drug labels

By guest blogger Michael Cohen:

Wednesday I warned about the dangers of not reading the labels on the over-the-counter (OTC) medications. But there's something else to keep in kind about the required "drug facts" labels on such drugs.


For OTC drugs, the list of product ingredients, as well as other safety information is sometimes hidden underneath a label overlay that must be peeled back to expose the information. There is a small icon and the words "peel here" in the far upper right-hand corner of the label. 

Some patients have told us that they failed to recognize they needed to peel off the overlay, and they missed important information. Others have told us they thought they weren't supposed to peel off the overlay without first purchasing the product, because they thought the label might not re-stick. Don't let that concern you. Most times it will re-stick.

We've asked FDA to look into this and we've also encouraged manufacturers to include dosing information on the front panel or, at a minimum, to prominently display the need to peel back the label.

Perhaps there should be a requirement for all products to have a standard minimum amount of information immediately visible.

Meanwhile, be sure not to miss important OTC drug facts!

For information on the Institute for Safe Medication Practices' consumer website go

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