Need quick relief from pain and other symptoms? Most of the time, health symptoms can be relieved by using over the counter medicines or OTC medicines. Minor pain, allergies and wounds can all be treated using a specific over the counter drug that does not require any prescriptions from a doctor. In order to help you find a good medicine for your specific symptoms, we will provide you with a list of drugs that are commonly bought by people from pharmacies without the need of a physician’s prescription.
Disclaimer: Most of the medicines listed on this article are available over the counter (OTC drugs) which means no prescriptions may be needed. However, be warned that any medicines and drugs could have adverse side effects. Always consult with a professional or ask a pharmacist about the components of the medicines that you will buy if you are unsure.
Over the counter medicine for general pain
Over the counter medicine for general pain is usually in the form of Mefenamic Acid, Ibuprofen and Paracetamol. If you have minor headaches that come from muscle tension, stress or strain, Paracetamol can be a very effective medicine for you. On the other hand, if you wish to get muscle pain relief which may include the arms, hands, legs and thighs, Ibuprofen can be used. Meanwhile, Mefenamic Acid is very effective in treating pain from dysmenorrhea, headache and toothache in general.
Here is a list of OTC medicines that you can buy and use for specific symptoms:
Over the counter medicine for:
Allergy over the counter medicine – Medicines that are identified as antihistamines are used to treat and relieve allergic reactions. Be careful with using such drugs to children as they can affect learning abilities especially among kids below 6 years old. For older people, some possible side effects of antihistamines are drowsiness and sleepiness.
Common Antihistamine medicines include:
- diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
- clemastine (Tavist)
- loratadine (Claritin)
- chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton)
Acne – Any topical medications that fight off bacteria can be used for Acne. Usually, there are antibiotics that can be taken orally to treat acne and pimples. However, common products are in the form of creams, ointments and even soaps. Some of the most popular OTC medicines for acne are salicylic acid, tretinoin and benzoyl peroxide. An oral medication such as clindamycin may require prescriptions especially if you have liver problems.
Back pain – Paracetamol and Ibuprofen are good for general back pain caused by muscle strains and spasms. Usually, when the pain involves only the muscles and ligaments, these two medicines are used without that need for prescription. However, if you have chronic back pain that runs for more than a week, you need to consult a doctor.
Boils – As of the moment, boils medication are only available when prescribed by a doctor. You need to consult a physician so you can purchase the right medicine for your condition. Some of the most common medicines that doctors prescribe for boils are bactroban, gentamicin (gentamycin) and mupirucin. Do not attempt to use any of these medicines without a doctor’s prescription.
Bacterial infection – Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections. However, each infection involve unique bacterial strains. One needs prescription from a doctor.
Blood pressure, High blood pressure or Hypertension – There are so many medicines used to treat hypertension and high blood pressure but they all require prescriptions from physicians. You should always ask a doctor for a prescription and the possible side effects of such drugs. Here is a list of the most common hypertension medicines prescribed by doctors:
- Losartan (oral)
- Lisinopril (oral)
- Lopressor (oral)
- Atacand (oral)
- Atenolol (oral)
Bladder, Gall bladder infections – If the infection involves bacteria, a prescription drug is necessary coming from a doctor.
Burns (skin burns) – Treating burns can be done at home using over the counter creams and ointments. For minor burns you may use any of the following:
- Caladryl clear top
- Calamine lotion with antihistamine
Bronchitis – Bronchitis is a condition that includes irritation in the bronchial tube. The irritation and inflammation are usually caused by bacterial infections. Therefore, all medications for bronchitis should have a doctor’s prescription. Do not attempt to do self-treatment using bronchitis drugs as it may worsen your condition due to wrongly used antibacterial formula. Some of the most common bronchitis drugs prescribed by doctors are methylprednisolone, tetracycline Oral and doxycycline calcium Oral.
Bed sores – Antibacterial creams and ointments are available for bed sores. However, it is possible to use natural treatments for bed sores like using a salt and water solution. One should also frequently change the position of the patient to prevent any bed sores from worsening. Ask a pharmacist on the available over the counter medicines for bed sores.
Bells palsy – Bells palsy is a nerve condition that is usually a result of bacterial infection. One needs to consult a doctor for treatment.
Belching – Frequent belching could be due several causes. One possible cause is hyperacidity in which you can take antacids to reduce acid build up. On the other hand, frequent belching could also mean gastro-intestinal infections by bacteria or fungus. Antacids are widely available OTC but for bacterial and fungal causes, one needs to get a prescription drug from a physician. In most cases, a fecal laboratory test is required.
Bleeding gums – Oral antiseptics from mouthwashes are enough to prevent any infections caused by bleeding gums. However, one should also consult a dentist in order to get the best toothpaste for bleeding gums.
Bloating – Antacids and anti-motility medicines could help. Some of the most common OTC medicines are Domperidone and Simethicone.
Body ache – Paracetamol and ibuprofen are two of the most widely used treatment drugs for body aches. These medicines can treat body aches caused by muscle strains and muscle spasms due to strenuous activities. If you have any other symptoms like numbness, painful joints or muscle weakness, consult your doctor.
Body odor – Germicidal soaps are best used for body odors. Soaps that contain Triclosan and Triclocarban are good for treating body odors. Sulfur soaps are also good for fungus related body odors.
Bowel movement (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)- Loperamide is one of the widely used medicines for irritable bowel syndrome. It is used to calm the intestinal organs by reducing movements. If you have frequent bowel movements, make sure to rehydrate.
Bruises – Anti-bacterial ointment or creams can be used to prevent infections. Terramycin is an example.
Bug bites – Any creams or ointments for bug bites can be used.
Burning stomach – Burning stomach is a sign of hyperacidity or Acid reflux. Antacids are used to treat this condition. If you have chronic hyperacidity, a consultation with a doctor is warranted.
Cough – A general cough with phlegm can be treated by taking Carbocisteine. In some cases, medicines that contain Bromhexine is used to treat allergy related coughs. Dry coughs can be treated using Guaifenesin.
Colds – Common colds can be treated using a combination of paracetamol and phenylpropanolamine. These medicines are effective for clogged nose, runny nose and headache associated with colds.
Canker Sores – Cancer sores in the mouth are usually caused by herpes simplex virus. A consultation with a doctor is necessary
Constipation – Constipation happens when there virtually no movement inside the intestines. However, a good overt the counter medicine for constipation is widely available. One example is Dulcolax (Bisacodyl). It promotes regular bowel movement. You may also take supplements for constipation like Fibrosine and drink plenty of water.
Chicken Pox – Chicken Pox is caused by a Varicella virus. It can go on its own and you may fully recover. However, Chicken Pox is worse in adults age 20 and up. Therefore, a doctor may recommend antiviral medicines to limit the extent of the symptom. You may need to get a prescription drug for chickenpox as there are reported side effects using chickenpox antiviral drugs.
Candida – Candida is a form of fungal infection. You may find overt the counter medicines for candida but it is best to first consult a doctor. There are some strains that do not react to certain anti fungal medicines and a doctor must first evaluate your overall health before you can take such medication.
Carpal Tunnel – Carpal tunnel syndrome is a result of nerve irritation in the wrist. Vitamins B1, B6 and B12 can help in nerve regeneration. However, physical therapy and minor surgery are the two most common treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome.
Cholesterol – High cholesterol in the blood can be reduced by eating high fiber foods. There are many fiber supplements that you can buy over the counter. Make sure to also do exercises daily to prevent heart attacks and stroke.
Chlamydia – Chlamydia requires treatment of drugs only prescribed by a doctor.
Circulation – Poor blood circulation can cause many problems like lack of oxygen, stroke or numbness. Many dietary supplements are available over the counter. Ask a pharmacist.
Cluster headaches – Cluster headaches are easily relieved using pain killers. All pain killers are available over the counter. You may take Mefenamic Acid, Paracetamol or Ibuprofen.
Clogged Nose – Clogged nose is treated using Phenylpropanolamine medicines. You can but common colds medicine over the counter.
Conjunctivitis – Bacterial infections can cause eye redness. You can purchase anti-bacterial drops for the eyes to cure conjunctivitis. For conjunctivitis asthma conditions, a doctor prescribed drops will be useful.
Cramps – Muscle cramps can be relieved easily by massaging the affected area. No additional medications are required.
Cystic Acne – Benzoyl Peroxide works best for cystic acne. This kills bacteria that causes inflammation and pus.
Diarrhea – Diarrhea can be treated with anti-motility medicines like Loperamide. It is also best to take Oral Rehydration Salts to replenish lost electrolytes.
Dandruff – Ketoconazole is best to treat any types of fungal infections. One can also use any over the counter shampoos that contain zinc to kill fungus.
Dental Pain – Mefenamic Acid is a good over the counter medicine for toothache. It can take effect in as little as three hours.
Dry Skin – Dry skin is easily treated with moisturizing lotions. One can also use bottled virgin coconut oil available from OTC pharmacies.
Flu – Flu can be treated with a combination of Phenylpropanolamine and Paracetamol. There are available brands that do not need prescription from the doctor. Ask your pharmacist about it.
Fever – Paracetamol and Ibuprofen are two known effective medicines for ordinary fever. They are used as analgesic and anti-inflammatory for high temperatures.
GERD – Any antacids can be taken for GERD. One can take those that contain aluminum hydroxide with simethicone for anti-bloating.
High blood/Hypertension – The hypertension over the counter medicine may be available for some cases. Losartan is the most trusted drug for hypertension and high blood pressure. It serves as maintenance drug.
Hyperacidity – OTC drugs for hyperacidity are usually composed of antacid substance like Aluminum Hydroxide and part Simeticone. Depending on the brand, there may be variations of the Hydroxide part. Still, over the counter medicines for Hyperacidity are very easy to get.
Headache – Headaches are easy to treat with the use of Aspirin, Paracetamol, Mefenamic acid and Ibuprofen.
HIV – Over the counter HIV drugs may not be found from your local pharmacies as there are specific medications involved. You can ask your doctor on where to buy HIV drugs which are called anti-retroviral drugs.
Runny Nose – A runny nose is a sure sign of colds. Common colds can be treated using overt the counter medicines. Usually, they contain phenylpropanolamine which is best for treating colds. You also need to take vitamin supplements like vitamin C to help you recover fast.
Seborrheic Dermatitis – For seborrheic dermatitis, creams are available. You can purchase OTC creams for seborrhea in the form of Hydrocortisone cream. However, make sure that you are not allergic to such substance. Ask a pharmacist on the possible side effects of Hydrocortisone cream.
Sleep Trouble – There are over the counter sleep supplements that you can buy. They are usually composed of herbs and natural plants like Chamomile which can help you relax and get a good night sleep. You may also ask a pharmacist about over the counter sleeping pills which do not require prescriptions.
Sore throat – For sore throat, regular gargles and mouthwash can be used. They are widely available over the counter. In some instance, you can get quick sore throat relief by using natural throat sprays such as Kamilosan.
Toothache – OTC medicine for toothache is very common but you can treat it using a single generic medicine. Mefenamic Acid is the most recommended toothache drug by dentists.
Weight Loss – There are many dietary supplements to improve weight. You may ask a pharmacist on what weight gain product is good for you. If you are looking for something to lose weight, over the counter products like Orlistat is a good choice.
Yeast Infection – Yeast infections are caused by a strain of fungus. One needs to consult a doctor to get prescription for an anti-fungal drug.
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