Information for Men
The following are medications available over-the-counter
(OTC) that you might want to consider keeping
handy. They fall into three categories: medications
for problems specific to men; medications for
minor conditions that most of us experience at
some time or that some people experience from
time to time and medicines to help prevent more
OTC medications specific to men
Fungal infection of the groin (Dhobie itch, jock itch)
Creams and paints containing anti-fungals, including clotrimazole, miconazole
Minoxidil lotion stimulates re-growth of hair lost through the natural process
OTC medications for minor conditions experienced
by men and women
Oral pain relief
Aspirin, ibuprofen or paracetamol, which also have a fever reducing (anti pyretic)
effect. For more severe pain, there are combination products containing ibuprofen
or paracetamol together with codeine or dihydrocodeine. Available in tablet,
capsule and effervescent tablet form, all are suitable for a wide range of
aches and pains including migraine, toothache, muscular aches and pains,
and mild rheumatic pain.
Topical pain relief
Available as creams, ointments, sprays, mousses and gels, for sports injuries,
sprains, muscular pains and mild rheumatic pain.
Combination products containing paracetamol or aspirin with antacid ingredients
that make up into a drink are available for treating hangover headache and
the upset stomach that often goes along with it.
Available as a liquid or lozenges to stop a cough (suppressants) or loosen
Sore throat medicines
Pastilles, lozenges, sprays or gargles containing a local anaesthetic, antiseptic
or both. Also, a lozenge containing an anti-inflammatory.
Other cold relief products
Decongestants for blocked noses are available as sprays, drops, capsules or
tablets. Combination remedies containing pain relievers and decongestants
are available in various formulations, including sachets and syrups that
make up into soothing drinks.
Creams, solutions and ointments for treating minor cuts, grazes and burns.
Tablets, capsules, powders and suspensions are available. Antacids, which neutralise
excess acid; alginates, which prevent acid reaching the oesophagus/windpipe;
H2 antagonists, which stop excess acid production in the stomach.
Antihistamines are available as tablets and nasal sprays, and nasal sprays
containing anti-inflammatory corticosteroids are suitable for relief of hayfever
and other allergies. Antihistamine tablets, and creams containing antihistamines
or the anti-inflammatory, hydrocortisone, can be bought for skin allergies
such as hives or insect bites. Eye drops containing either sodium cromoglycate
or an antihistamine for itchy, sore eyes caused by allergies.
Capsules containing loperamide on its own to stop diarrhoea, or with dimeticone
to stop the boating and cramping that often accompany it. Also, oral rehydration
solutions to replace lost fluid and minerals lost through diarrhoea.
Fungal infections - athletes foot
Available as cream, powder or ointment containing antifungals, including clotrimazole,
miconazole and terbinafine.
Acyclovir cream, an anti-viral to treat the infection causing the problem.
Also, combinations of astringents, antiseptics and local anaesthetics in
creams and paints for relief of symptoms.
Anti-inflammatory medication is available in paste, pellet or mouth rinse forms.
Also gels, paints and lozenges containing astringents, antiseptics and local
anaesthetics for relief of symptoms.
Medicines to help prevent serious conditions
Too much cholesterol in the blood is a contributory factor to heart disease.
Simvastatin, a cholesterol reducing agent that has been used successfully
on prescription for several years, can now be bought in pharmacies without
prescription. Before selling it, the pharmacist will make sure that you need
it and that it is suitable for you. Low dose (75mg) aspirin taken regularly
is used to 'thin' the blood and help prevent clotting that can lead to strokes
and heart attack. It can be bought in pharmacies without prescription, but
you should first check with your doctor that it is alright for you to take
Guidelines for everyone
on self-treating safely
- Keep all medicines in a secure place,
out of sight and reach of small children
and preferably where an adult can keep
an eye on them eg the kitchen
- Keep all medicines in their original
container and take precautions to avoid
them being affected by heat and humidity
- Always read and follow the instructions,
do not exceed the stated dose or treatment
- Do not use or keep medicines past their
- Women who are pregnant should consult
their GP before taking OTC medicines
- Always check with your pharmacist or
practice nurse before taking an OTC medicine
if you are already taking any prescription
or complimentary medicines
For more information on which products to buy
for your medicine chest visit