Free OTC medicine program saves money, time
Rufus Daniels, a pharmacist at Winn Army Community Hospital, explains an OTC medication at the pharmacy window to Alice Maniece, Oct. 19. Servicemembers and their beneficiaries can now receive free OTC medications.

<b>FORT STEWART, Ga. </b>- A viable benefit for servicemembers and their Family Members has gone unnoticed or forgotten by many.

The Over-The-Counter Self Care Program offered at Winn Army Community Hospital and Tuttle Army Health Clinic is designed for active or retired servicemembers and their beneficiaries to receive free over-the-counter medications without a prescription or having to see a health care provider.

"Any beneficiary with a valid ID card can participate," said Theola Ball, lead pharmacy technician at Winn Army Community Hospital. Ball added, for safety concerns, children less than two years of age are not eligible to participate in the OTC and are encouraged to be seen by a healthcare provider before being given any medications.

For many people, wandering the drug aisle in search of an over-the-counter medicine can be confusing and quickly emulate a "Seinfeld" television episode.

"What we try to do is treat the symptoms when someone comes to the pharmacy window," said Ball. "This ensures the member receives what they need and also affords us the opportunity to check the person's records for allergies and possible prescriptions that may be a conflict with an over-the-counter medication."

It also lets the pharmacist document the medical records for the over-the-counter medications used so a provider can have better knowledge of what med's the patients are taking, said Capt. Taft-Ellington, Officer in-charge of outpatient pharmacy at Winn Army Community Hospital.

Now, before you run out the door and grab a cart to load up on freebies, there are a few guidelines in place to prevent those die-hard hoarders out there from stocking up.

"All self-care requests are limited to five self-care items per month per member and is documented in the Composite Health Care System," said Capt Taft-Ellington.

The program is also at the discretion of the pharmacist to curb abuse.

The limit set in place is not only to curb abuse but also to serve as a warning sign for possible medical issues.

"When a member has reached his or her limit for an over-the-counter medication, it could be a sign of an underlying medical issue and may need to see a provider," said Capt. Taft-Ellington.

Some Family Members are already aware of the OTC program and are making use of their well-earned benefit.

"The program is very helpful," said Rosa Bradley spouse of a retired Soldier. "I like interacting with the pharmacist. I tell him what my symptoms are and he tells me what I need. The financial aspect outweighs everything; however, I never think of it as free. This is a benefit that my husband and I earned while serving 20 years in the military."

Eligible members may receive OTC medications at Winn ACH main Outpatient Pharmacy, Fort Stewart PX Refill Pharmacy, Lloyd C. HawksTroop Medical Clinic Pharmacy (active duty only) or Tuttle AHC Pharmacy. For addresses and hours, check out the Web site:
<i>www.winn.amedd.army.mil/default/index.cfm/medical-services/pharmacy/</i> or call 912-435-6040 (WINN Pharmacy) or 912-315-3004 (Tuttle Army Health Clinic).

OTC medications available (free) are:
<b>SYMPTOM/CONDITION PACKAGE SIZE NOTES</b>
<b>PAIN/FEVER</b>
Acetaminophen Drops 80mg/0.8 ml 15ml bottle 2 years or older
Acetaminophen Suspension 160 mg/5 ml 120 ml bottle 2 years or older
Acetaminophen Tablets 325 mg Bottle of 100 tabs 12 years or older
Ibuprofen Suspension 100 mg/5 ml 120 ml bottle 2 years or older
<b>COUGH/COLD</b>
Guaifenesin Syrup 100 mg/5 ml 120 ml bottle 2 years or older
Guaifenesin DM Syrup 120 ml bottle 2 years or older
Pseudoephedrine 30 mg tablets Box of 24 tabs 6 years or older
Pseudoephedrine Liquid 30 mg/5 ml 120 ml bottle 2 years or older
Diphenhydramine 25 mg Capsules Box of 24 caps 6 years or older
Diphenhydramine 12.5 mg/5 ml Liquid 120 ml bottle 6 years or older
Dimetapp Elixir 120 ml bottle 6 years or older
<b>GI</b>
Bismuth Subsalicylate 262 mg chewable tabs Box of 30 tabs 12 years or older
Maalox Plus suspension 150 ml bottle 12 years or older
Loperamide 2 mg tabs Box of 12 caps 6 years or older
<b>TOPICALS</b>
Single antibiotic ointment 30 gram tube Antimicrobial
Miconazole 2% cream 30 gram tube 2 years or older
Hydrocortisone 1% cream 15 gram tube 2 years or older
<b>EENT</b>
Artificial Tears 15 ml bottle
Saline nasal spray 45 ml bottle
Oxymetazoline nasal spray 15 ml bottle 6 years or older
(3 day limit)
<b>OB/GYN</b>
Miconazole vaginal cream 7 day treatment pack 12 years or older
Condoms Pkg of 12 12 years or older
PlanB Pkg of 2 tabs 18 years or older
(under 18 requires prescription)

Page last updated Thu October 21st, 2010 at 15:51