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      FDA considers certain prescription drugs for over the counter

      Make an appointment, go to the doctor, get a prescription, go to pharmacy, get it filled -- it's a process those with cholesterol and high blood pressure have to go through frequently.

      B ut maybe not anymore.

      "The FDA is considering some cholesterol lowing medicines that we call statins and certain blood pressure medicines that are commonly used and safe for release for over the counter use," said Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Professor of Internal Medicine, Dr. Steve Urban. "You wouldn't have to have a prescription from your doctor to get those kinds of medications."

      The Food and Drug Administration has made other prescription drugs available over the counter in the past like Motrin, Ibuprofen and Prilosec. Now it's considering doing to the same for cholesterol and high blood pressure medications to give patients easier access to them, hopefully at a lower cost.

      "Most of the time when something goes over the counter they're able to market directly to the patients and the prices comes down a little bit," added Dr. Urban.

      Of course, one of the main concerns of the proposal is safety. Both types of medications have potential side effects like affecting muscle performance, increased muscle enzymes and even affect your liver.

      "If you don't monitor your liver enzymes then it can do some liver damage and it could be very dangerous," said Canyon resident, Amy Evans, whose husband has high cholesterol.

      "You need to know that they're working, that your blood pressure is below 140, below 90," said Dr. Urban. "You need to make sure you monitor these kinds of things."

      Dr. Urban said should the FDA move forward with making those medications over the counter, patients would still most likely need to get them prescribed to them by their doctor at first until they become stable over a certain period of time. Also, as with all medicines, it's important to monitor your own condition, the possible side effects and check back in with your doctor often.