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General Guidelines for the Use of Over-the-Counter Medications

Reference “Pharmacology for Athletic Trainers - Therapeutic Medications” published by Human Kinetics


The following section should be used as general reminders for student-athletes in regards to over the counter medications and prescription medications.  CCSU's athletic training staff strongly discourages the use of over the counter medications for extended periods of time unless prescribed by an MD.  Student-athletes who exceed the manufactures recommended dosages and time frames do so at the risk of further injury or illness. 


Click Below for General Usage for Over the Counter Medications


Aspirin Products

Ibuprofen Products

Acetaminophen Products


Athletes: Please read the following General Precautions


q       Please follow the label directions for amount and frequency of taking medications and remember, “More is Not Better”.


q       The daily use of ibuprofen or other over the counter medications by student-athletes for the purpose of preventing inflammation is not safe.


q       Using painkillers to offset pain experienced during sport activities and exercise is not wise…. masking the pain may result in further injury.


q       Exercise:

o       Decreases the absorption of medications into the body via the gastrointestinal tract. When necessary, -over the counter medications should be taken 2 – 4 hours prior to exercising in order to obtain the necessary benefits.


o       Results in the blood being sent to the skeletal muscles and away from the GI tact, were medications are absorbed – decreasing the drugs effectiveness.


o       And the use of antihistamines may increase your risk of heat related injuries during hot humid weather.  Please advise the athletic training staff if you are taking medications that may result in dehydration during hot humid weather.  Failure to do so may endanger your life.


q       Signs & symptoms of adverse drug reaction may include less serious responses, such as rash or drowsiness or resemble more severe responses such as anaphylactic shock (breathing difficulty - wheezing) or bronchospasm.


q       Athletes should not share prescribed medications with teammates nor should they take medications prescribed to friends and family.  Sharing of prescription drugs is dangerous and illegal. 


q       Long-term use of aspirin or Ibuprofen is strongly discouraged for athletes.


q       Never use aspirin to treat a head injury. A non-aspirin product such as Tylenol is a safer choice for reducing the symptoms of a mild headache that may result following a head injury.  For your safety, please report all head injuries prior to taking medications.


q       Sharing of eye drops and eardrops may result in cross infection.


q       Antibiotic medications such as amoxicillian may make contraceptives less effective.


q       Do not mix drugs – caution when mixing cold remedies with other medications as you may get a double dose of their active ingredients.


q       Alcohol and medications should never be mixed.


q       Be aware of caffeine products in medications - mixing Anacin and Excedrin may increase the caffeine level such that it would be above the acceptable levels for the NCAA.



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Question/Comments: Kathy Pirog at pirog@ccsu.edu