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Therapeutic substitution can be a good thing, but it also poses some risks. The key to making the right decision for you regarding a potential switch is having open lines of communication between patients, doctors, and health insurance plans. It’s important to understand the reason for a switch, and the possible downsides, to make a smart decision.
Therapeutic substitution, known also as drug switching and therapeutic interchange, is the practice of replacing a patient’s prescription drugs with chemically different drugs that are expected to have the same clinical effect. Many times patients switch to a different drug with no problems. However, for certain medications and conditions, therapeutic substitution could cause problems.
NCL has worked for decades to ensure that consumers have the information they need to take their medications safely and effectively, whether over-the-Counter (OTC) or prescription drugs. Through our survey research, we have gained an understanding of consumer behaviors and attitudes toward their medications, including OTC cough and cold medications.
In a public hearing before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on over-the-counter cough and cold medication on October 2, 2008, NCL addressed several of the questions posed in the Federal Register, with an overall emphasis on the need for education of parents and caregivers on the proper use of these medications.