With so many over-the-counter drugs and supplements, it could be difficult to figure out what actually works. You may be inclined to trust advertisements that you see on television or you may just ask your doctor for prescription medication. However, for some illnesses, prescription medications are not usually necessary.
While there is no cure for the common cold, you can definitely treat the frustrating congestion that it might cause. Guaifenesin is the drug that is usually used to thin mucus and clear you up. However, most FDA approved medications with guaifenesin are prescription brands. The one real exception in Mucinex, which is an FDA approved version of guaifenesin.
To treat acid reflux, you need proton pump inhibitors (PPP). Luckily, plenty of over-the-counter medications have PPIs that can treat acid reflux. A good example of a PPI is omeprazole, which is found in both prescription medication and OTC medication. Prescription medications usually have higher doses of omeprazole, but Prilosec is an OTC drug that contains 20 milligrams of omeprazole, which is about the same dosage that you would see in prescription drugs. You should just note taking too many medications for acid reflux can increase your risk of getting a heart attack. Therefore, if you think you might be taking too many heartburn drugs, then you might want to talk to your doctor about getting a more powerful prescription drug.
Mucinex can also treat your coughs, but a cough suppressant might work a little better. One of the better cough suppressants is dextromethorphan, which works make your cough reflexes less sensitive. The OTC version of dextromethorphan is delsym and it works pretty well. It can suppress your cough for about twelve hours, which is enough to get you through an entire day.
Adults do not normally get acne, so if acne is a problem for you, then you probably want to address the root cause of it, which is likely going to be stress. However, until you get your stress under control, there is no reason why you should suffer through breakouts. Antibiotics such as benzoyl peroxide that can kill off all the bacteria that is responsible for acne. Plenty of OTC medications contain this antibiotic as is active ingredient, but you do not want too much of it because it is not always so gentle on your skin. Creams and gels like Neutrogena will have benzoyl peroxide at a low enough concentration that it will not irritate your skin. AcneFree Cleanser also has a 2.5% percent concentration, which is relatively low.
You have probably seen all the commercials on Allegra, Claritin, and Zyrtec. In truth, they all work. Allegra is probably the strongest OTC allergy medication, but it is more expensive than Zyrtec and Claritin. Claritin is probably the weakest, but it does not make you feel drowsy the way that Zyrtec does. Zyrtec is both cheap and effective, but it does have some side effects. If you have a sudden non-serious allergic reaction, you can try Benadryl, which works quickly, but it can dry you out and make you feel very tired.
Halitosis, or bad breath, is not going to kill you, but it is a sign of an unhealthy mouth. The best way to deal with bad breath is to brush better. However, if you also try some mouthwash with antimicrobial cetylpyridinium (CPC), which will kill off some of the foul smelling bacteria in your mouth. Most mouthwashes have CPC, but ACT also contains fluoride, which will make your teeth and gums stronger in order to protect you from getting cavities.
Canker sores tend to go away quickly, but they can still be incredibly irritating while they last. Orabase can work to prevent further infection. It also contains benzocaine to numb the pain. Orabase will not make the infection go away, so if it persists for a while, you can also try Peroxyl, which contains hydrogen peroxide to clear up the infection within about 24 hours.
The difference between cold sores and canker sores are that cold sores are contagious. They also come and go because they cannot normally completely get rid of the virus that causes it. Therefore, if you know that you get cold sores, you might want antiviral OTC medication like docasonal. The brand form is Abreva. Additionally, to numb the pain and prevent bleeding, Anbesol cold sore medication is OTC and usually works well.
Diarrhea can sometimes be a sign of something serious. However, if you already know the cause, then you can stick to OTC medication to help you manage it. You definitely want loperamide to stop diarrhea, but some loperamide brands also contain simethicone, which reduces your diarrhea even more. Imodium is an OTC brand that contains both loperamide and simethicone. Remember that if you are not sure what is causing your diarrhea and the symptoms persist, then you might want to talk to a doctor.
If the melatonin supplements are not working, then it might be time for something more powerful. Luckily, OTC antihistamines do not just treat allergies and congestion. They can also knock you out at night if you are having trouble sleeping. OTC diphenhydramine is probably your best bet for managing your insomnia if you are under 65 years old. It comes in many brand forms, including Simply Sleep and ZzzQuil. Start with a lower dosage, but you can try higher doses if it is not working as well as you like.
You probably knew that OTC pain relievers can help you out and they are much less addicting than prescription painkillers. Brands like Advil that use ibuprofen will definitely work well. Ibuprofen lasts for longer than acetaminophen and it works faster than naproxen.
It might be tough to figure out when you need to see a doctor about any of your health concerns. However, oftentimes, you can start with OTC drugs to manage many of your symptoms. Of course, if you are worried about your health and you do not know what is causing your symptoms, then you can always talk to a healthcare provider to help you get to the root of the problem.