Information for Students and Young Adults
The following are suggested medications available
over-the-counter (OTC) that you might want to
consider keeping handy. These fall into three
categories, medications for: minor conditions
that most of us experience at some time; problems
that certain people experience from time to time;
and relief from particular problems likely to
be experienced by students and young adults.
OTC medications for minor conditions experienced
by most people at some time
Oral pain relief
e.g. aspirin, ibuprofen or paracetamol, or any combination product which may
contain any of the above and an opioid analagesic e.g. codeine or dihydrocodeine.
Available in tablet, capsule and effervescent tablet form, all are suitable
for a wide range of aches and pains including migraine, period pain and toothache.
They also have a fever reducing (anti pyretic) fever reducing effect.
Topical/muscular pain relief
Available as creams, ointments, sprays, mousses
and gels, for sporting injuries, sprains and
Available as a liquid or lozenges to stop a cough (suppressants) or loosen
Sore throat medicine
Pastilles, lozenges, sprays or gargles which may contain a local anaesthetic
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.
Creams, solutions and ointments for treating minor cuts, grazes and burns.
If you have suffered from any of the conditions
mentioned below you may want to consider keeping
a small supply of an appropriate self-medication
treatment at home.
Tablets, capsules, powders and suspensions are available. Antacids which neutralise
excess acid, alginates which prevent acid reaching the oesophagus/windpipe
or acid suppressants (H2 antagonists).
Antihistamines are available as tablets and nasal sprays containing corticosteroids.
Suitable for relief of hayfever and other allergies. Antihistamines or hydrocortisone
may be needed for skin allergies such as hives or insect bites. Eye drops
containing either sodium cromoglycate or xylometazoline for itchy, sore eyes
caused by allergies.
Capsules containing loperamide on its own or in combination with other products,
such as oral rehydration solutions, can provide relief or replace lost fluid
Fungals infections - athletes foot
Available as a cream, powder or ointment containing clotrimazole or miconazole
Anti virals to treat the cold sore. Combinations of astringents, antiseptics
and local anaesthetics.
Medicated shampoos containing ketoconazole or selenium sulphide.
OTC medications specific to students and young adults.
Effervescent powders and tablets containing an antacid and aspirin or paracetamol
to settle the stomach and treat the headache.
Gels, creams and ointments containing benzoyl peroxide, sulphur or triclosan
to treat the problem.
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