OTC Medication Guide


Selection Guide

(check with your physician first before taking if you
have any ongoing health problem/condition)

“I have pain and/or fever”

Pain reliever and fever reducers are used to relieve mild to moderate pain and to reduce fever.
Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen

“I have allergy symptoms”

An antihistamine helps relieve red irritated, itchy, watery eyes; sneezing; and runny nose caused by hay fever, allergies, and the common cold. It can also be used to help relieve coughing caused by minor throat or airway irritation.
Diphenhydramine (Benadryl), Loratadine (Claritin),
Chlorpheniramine, Doxylamine succinate

“I have a dry cough”

Cough suppressant medication is used to help relieve coughs due to cold.
Dextromethorphan HBr

“I have a runny nose / head congestion”

Nasal decongestants are used for the temporary relief of congestion or stuffiness in the nose caused by hay fever or other allergies, colds, or sinus trouble. It may also be used in ear infection to relieve congestion.
Phenylephrine (typically for mild symptoms),
Pseudoephedrine (typically for severe symptoms– obtain from pharmacist)

“My congestion is really thick”

Expectorants help to thin mucus in the air passages and makes it easier to cough up mucus to clear the airways, allowing you to breathe easier.


Points to Remember

  1. OTC cold medications provide symptom relief only

  2. Beware of duplicate active ingredients if using multiple OTC medications

  3. Take medications that treat only your symptoms

  4. “Over-the-counter” does not necessarily mean it is safe for you

  5. Always read directions before taking

  6. Buy generic to save money

  7. When in doubt ask a health care provider / pharmacist