Common Over-The-Counter medications in US

Common OTC medications in US 

Common Over-The-Counter medications in US banner

Before coming to the United States, many international students may have doubts about what kind of medicines and first aid supplies should be brought from their own country to college.

In fact, students don’t need to worry, there are many common over-the-counter (OTC)medicines in the United States that are enough to relieve mild illnesses Such as colds, allergies, bruises, and they are very easy to buy.

This article will focus on introducing common over-the-counter medicines in the United States, and the process of where they are purchased, to ensure that students have a general understanding of over-the-counter drugs in the United States.

Prescription drugs vs. OTC drugs 

  • Over-The-Counter/OTC

The over-the-counter medicines that can be freely purchased on shelves in pharmacies do not require a doctor’s prescription or medical insurance. For example, Emergen-C, Advil and other cold medicines and pain relievers

  • Prescription drugs/Rx

You must have a valid prescription issued by a qualified medical staff to purchase a finished medicine.

Common OTC drugs purchase locations and procedures

  • Purchase process

Students do not need to see a doctor before buying those common over-the-counter drugs. You can buy it directly by yourself.

  • Where to buy

Drug Store Chain

There are many large drug stores in the United States, Such as Rite Aid, Walgreens, CVS etc. These stores are a bit like small supermarkets. There are not only medicines but also snacks, beauty products, toiletries and daily necessities. Some stores are still open 24 hours.


Many large supermarkets also have pharmacies! Such as Target, Walmart, etc., very convenient.

Online shopping

If you don’t want to go out, you can also shop online. In addition to being available on Amazon, the above-mentioned large supermarkets and pharmacies also have their own official websites.

Common OTC Medicines List

a. cold and fever

NyQuil and DayQuil severe combo caplets


This medicine has both day and night versions. It is a must-have medicine for flu and colds in American families. It is very friendly to the students. The day version medicine during the day will not make the students feel drowsy, and the night version at night can help sleep!

The picture shows a pill. There is liquid to choose from for this medicine. The packaging is basically similar and the label (liquid) is very easy to find.



The main ingredient is ibuprofen, which can treat colds and flu as well as relieve pain and clear away heat. Advil also has a stronger medicinal product for reducing fever and pain. When you buy, you must read the text on the package carefully.



The main ingredient is paracetamol, which is the most common antipyretic and analgesic. In addition, Tylenol can also relieve dysmenorrhea, toothache and muscle soreness. Tylenol can also be found in pharmacies in different strength versions, and students can choose according to their needs.

Be Koool Gel Sheets Migraine


Gel-like fever-reducing patch. It can effectively relieve high fever through physical cooling. The texture of the gel is very comfortable and the cooling time can be up to about eight hours. If you have a fever, it is recommended to apply a patch before going to bed, so that you can get a better night’s sleep!

Emergen-C 1000mg Vitamin C Powder


Emergen-C is a pack of vitamin granules that can effectively supplement Vc. Supplementing more Vc can improve immunity, and speed up recovery when you have a cold and fever!

b.  cough  and phlegm



This medicine is very mild. You can use this medicine if you have a sore throat. In fact, there are many adults who buy this cough medicine on Amazon, and the sweet taste has won a lot of praise.



This is a relatively popular antitussive and expectorant medicine, which helps relieve chest tightness, cough and throat inflammation caused by cough. The picture shows the raspberry flavor, and there are many flavors to choose from.

Mucinex DM 12 Hr Max Strength Expectorant & Cough Suppressant Tablets


Students who do not like oral liquid can also choose this tablet. This medicine is aimed at relieving chest tightness, reducing phlegm and relieving cough. If you have a severe cough, you can consider it. This medicine has a strong effect and has immediate effect and lasts for 12 hours to stop coughing.



Ricola is a throat lozenge. There are many flavors to choose from, mint flavor is very cool, recommended in summer!

c. rhinitis and allergies



Many students who are prone to allergies may be familiar with Kairuitan. Many doctors in other countries will also recommend this medicine to relieve allergic symptoms. This medicine mainly targets allergies such as runny nose, sneezing, itchy nose and throat caused by pollen, dust, pets, etc. The main ingredient is loratadine, and the best thing is that you won’t get sleepy after eating it.

Benadryl Allergy Tablets


Special anti-allergic medicine. This medicine can relieve symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose and tearing, and rhinitis caused by allergies. The main ingredient of this medicine is Diphenhydramine, which can also be used specifically for urticaria and skin itching caused by general allergies. It can also be used to prevent motion sickness such as seasickness, motion sickness, and airsickness.

NasalCrom Nasal Allergy Spray


NasalCrom’s spray for treating allergic rhinitis can alleviate the symptoms of allergic rhinitis, including congestion, sneezing, runny nose, and nasal itching, etc. At the same time, this spray can also be used according to the instructions to play a preventive role.

d. bruises and sprains



Penetrex is a drug with a very good reputation. It is mainly effective in relieving muscle pain, pain in ligaments and tendons, sciatica, fibromyalgia, neuralgia and other symptoms. Students who love sports can always keep a bottle



Salonpas’ plasters are specifically designed for sprains and strains. There is a faint mint taste, which can quickly relieve the pain! Very recommended! This plaster does not have a strong smell, so you don’t have to worry about it even if you stick it out!

e. wound treatment



Neosporin is a topical antibiotic first aid ointment, suitable for minor cuts, abrasions and burns. It can effectively accelerate healing and reduce the appearance of scars. A must-have ointment for American families!

Burn Jel Max Emergency Burn Care Pain Relieving Gel


First aid ointment specifically for burns. It is a thick cooling gel with lidocaine that relieves pain. Reminder: Once students accidentally scald, be sure to wash the scalded part with cold water as soon as possible!

f. mouth ulcers

Canker-Rid® – Get Immediate Relief and Heal Canker Sores


Canker is a pure natural propolis ingredient, which can effectively relieve ulcer pain and heal ulcer wounds.

Kanka, Mouth Pain Liquid, Maximum Strength


Kanka is mainly used to relieve pain caused by oral ulcers, and the pain relief effect is very significant. However, be careful not to swallow the medicine during use, it is sprayed on the wound to relieve pain.

g. gastrointestinal disorders

TUMS Antacid Chewable Tablets for Heartburn Relief


TUMS is a star product commonly used in the United States to neutralize gastric acid and relieve stomach pain. It can also be used to relieve bloating, stomach pain after drinking, and stomach acid. It is also very convenient to eat, just chew and swallow like candy.

Nexium 24HR ClearMinis


Nexium is also a common stomach medicine in the United States. It is mainly used to treat stomach ulcers and inflammation caused by stomach acid. Sometimes the doctor will prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs and take them together to relieve the condition.


I hope this article can really help every student when they need it!

The above drug recommendations are based on the personal experience and network knowledge of the seniors in college.If students cannot accurately diagnose their condition, they must seek medical treatment in time.

SM is here to wish everyone health and happiness every day, and welcome the new life of studying abroad with the fullest spirit!



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