Over-the-counter medicines are those which one can buy without a proper prescription. They aim at treating different aches, pains, and itches. They can be used for both either for the treatment or for managing recurring symptoms.

Many OTC medicines are being used nowadays and they are proving to be essentially helpful but many have some risk factors too. The Food and Drug Administration, in the United States, decides about the safety of a drug.

Even then OTC’s popularity cannot be challenged anyway. They can save a trip to a doctor and can easily and rapidly provide relief. Important OTCs used these days include:




A common drug used for Acid Reflux nowadays is a PPI containing the same amount of 20 milligrams omeprazole that is generally recommended.




Dextromethorphan is very advantageous for Cough Relief for it decreases the sensitivity of cough reflex. Though it takes 12 hours to kick in.




Claritin is used for allergies. According to Joey Mattingly, a pharmacist, at the University of Maryland, Claritin is both safe and cheap.




The cold brings with it the fungal growth especially on the scalp and hair and for that very purpose, Clear is being widely used.




Diarrhea, a very common everyday problem, can be treated by using Loperamide, Imodium. But it is useful only then when there are not many complications involved.


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Ibuprufen is used to provide relief from the pain and fever. It is considered better than Naproxen and works for a longer period too.




When someone is suffering from a sore throat and needs an immediate remedy, these lozenges prove to be very useful. According to Acosta, they increase saliva production which lubricates one’s throat well.




Sleeping pills under various names are available in the market and can thus be easily purchased and used for insomnia. Also, many other medicines, like anti-histamines used for allergies etc, potentially sleep inducers.


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Another common problem, both adults, and young children, the face is Motion Sickness and no matter what they do they still need some medication and what is more effective than “Meclizine” which reduces the uneasy feeling without sending one into unconsciousness.




Toothaches send those extreme waves of pain and to relieve them, Benzocaine is widely used as OTC. It can provide immediate relief.

Though drugs used should always be prescribed by the pharmacist yet FDA was able to give a list of few drugs and they can be used as ‘’over the counter medicines’’. But it also implies the person providing them should assess the patient’s age, education, and condition of his health. Only then they should be sold. Also, these OTCs are always to be used for less major diseases.

Some of the OTCs are also abused by the patients so few were banned whereas others are still in use but in limited proportion.

      Dr. Joey Mattingly, a renowned pharmacist, did a lot of research on OTCs and considered them “safe to use, if used, in a suitable proportion’’

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