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Recommending over-the-counter medications

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It’s been a couple months sinceworking at a community pharmacy and so far I have found recommending over-the-countermedications to be quite a challenging task. I have tried my best to step out ofthe dispensary whenever required to advise patients about over-the-countermedications.  

When it comes to recommendingover-the-counter medications, differential diagnosis is a vital method used.The WWHAM questioning technique can aid differential diagnosis and is just oneof the many mnemonics used to guide appropriate questioning. Questioning helps elicitrelevant information which is then used to make decisions. A lot of pharmacyknowledge is required in order to offer better advice, which is important when patientsare on other medications. Many resourcesare available; including training modules for common ailments and guidebooks;however I find that real life practice is the best way to gain experience.

There are large numbers ofmedications available over-the-counter especially due to a rise in drugs beingderegulated from a POM to a P status. Usually medications available forover-the-counter sale are not associated with a high potential of side effects;however there is a risk of harm if no form of counselling is in place. 

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