Self-care is becoming increasingly popular among health care consumers. The availability of over-the-counter medications makes it possible for consumers to treat numerous ailments without the supervision of a health care professional. Many of the medications now available without a prescription were previously classified as prescription-only products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has procedures in place that allow prescription products to be reclassified as over-the-counter medications if certain criteria are met. Reclassified products have had clinical and economic effects on the U.S. health care system and have led to concerns among health care professionals. Patient education and counseling are particularly important to promote safe and effective use of over-the-counter products.