FDA Home Page | CDER Home Page | CDER Site Info | Contact CDER | What's New @ CDER

Course Description and Objectives

Course Description

Target Audience
Middle school - Grades 6 through 8
Estimated Duration of Lesson
40 – 45 minutes
Lesson Rationale and Goal
Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are commonly found in the home.
Literature suggests that children begin to self-medicate at about 11 or 12 years of age.
The Medicines in My Home lesson emphasizes the importance of reading medicine labels (especially the Drug Facts label) and involving a parent or guardian in medicine decisions.  The program introduces students to information about and an approach to medicine use that may help them with self-medication choices as older adolescents and young adults. The lesson uses scenarios to teach the importance of reading label warnings and not taking two medicines that contain the same active ingredients. Students who share this information with their families may, in turn, teach their family members how to use over-the-counter medicines safely and effectively.

Key Concepts

  • The Drug Facts label tells you what a medicine treats, how to use it, and if the medicine is right for you and your problem.

  • When you use an over-the-counter medicine, READ THE LABEL and follow the label directions carefully and correctly.

  • Medicines should be used only with permission from a parent or guardian.

  • Two medicines that have the same active ingredients should not be used at the same time.

  • Measure your medicines correctly with measuring tools made for medicines.

  • If you or your parent has questions about your medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Learning Objectives

After completing this lesson, students will:

  • Understand similarities and differences between prescription medicines and OTC medicines.

  • Understand that OTC medicines and prescription medicines can be harmful if they are not taken according to the directions

  • Be able to identify the active ingredients in an OTC drug product and what those active ingredients treat (the purposes and uses)

  • Be able to identify the warnings sections on the Drug Facts label and explain why there are warnings on the Drug Facts label

  • Be able to identify the Directions section on the Drug Facts label and know how to measure a dose correctly.

  • Understand that a person should not use two medicines that contain the same ingredient at the same time.

  • Understand how to get more information about their medicines.