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Common Medications

There are thousands upon thousands of prescription medications approved by the Federal Drug Administration.  Most of them must be prescribed by a doctor, and one should be especially careful to follow all instructions recommended by a doctor or pharmacist when taking medication.  Only take medication prescribed for you in the right dosage by a healthcare professional.  Individuals must see a doctor to obtain any kind of prescription medication, so this page will focus on common over-the-counter medications that can help relieve everyday ailments such as headache, stomach pains, fever, etc. It is always important to talk to your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medication, especially if you have any questions or concerns. Always read the warning label and dosing on the packaging to know what to take and how much to take before consuming any over-the-counter medication. Before taking any medication, make sure the medication is not expired, is used for the condition being treated, is taken as advised, is taken in the recommended dose, and that all precautions are fully followed.

Pain Relief and Fever

  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Ibu, Motrin IB)

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Paracetamol, Panadol, Aceta)

  • Naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosyn, Naproxen Sodium DS) 

  • Aspirin (Acetylsalicylic Acid, Aspir 81, Ecotrin, Bayer Aspirin) Warning - Do not give aspirin to children under the age of 16, for it may cause Reye’s Syndrome.

Cough, Cold, and Allergy Relief


  • Phenylephrine (Sudafed PE Congestion, Neo-Synephrine, Nasal Decongestant PE, Biorphen)

  • Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed 12/24 Hour, Sudafed Congestion, SudoGest, Allegra-D (Combination Product)

Cough Suppressants

  • Dextromethorphan (Delsym, Robitussin, Vicks 44)

  • Guaifenesin (Mucinex, Robitussin, Vicks Dayquil) 


  • Brompheniramine (Dimetapp Allergy, P-Tex, Bromaphen, J-Tan PD)

  • Chlorpheniramine (Chlor Trimeton, Aller-Chlor, Allergy Relief, Clorphen)

  • Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine, Driminate, Triptone)

  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl, Banophen, ZzzQuil, Benadryl Allergy)

  • Doxylamine (Sleep Aid, Nighttime Sleep Aid, Unisom Sleep Tabs, Equate Sleep Aid)

  • Loratadine (Claritin, Alavert, Allergy Relief Tablets)

  • Cetirizine (Zyrtec, Children's Zyrtec, Aller-Tec, Equate Allergy Relief)

  • Fexofenadine (Allegra, Allegra Allergy, Allegra Hives, Mucinex Allergy)

Stomach Problems


  • Loperamide (Imodium, Imodium A-D, Anti-Diarrheal, Diamode)

  • Bismuth Subsalicylate (Kaopectate, Pepto-Bismol, Stomach Relief, Bismatrol)

Anti-nausea and vomiting 

  • Bismuth Subsalicylate (Kaopectate, Pepto-Bismol, Stomach Relief, Bismatrol)

  • Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine, Driminate, Triptone)


Austin, M., Crawford, R., & Armstrong, V. J. (2014). First aid manual. (G. M. Piazza, Ed.) (5th ed.). DK Publishing. (n.d.). Acetaminophen. (n.d.). Aspirin. (n.d.). Bismuth Subsalicylate. (n.d.). Brompheniramine. (n.d.). Cetirizine. (n.d.). Chlorpheniramine. (n.d.). Dimenhydrinate. (n.d.). Diphenhydramine. (n.d.). Doxylamine. (n.d.). Fexofenadine. (n.d.). Ibuprofen. (n.d.). Loperamide. (n.d.). Loratadine. (n.d.). Naproxen. (n.d.). Phenylephrine. (n.d.). Pseudoephedrine. Editorial Staff. (2019, July 21). Antihistamines: Understanding your OTC options. Editorial Staff. (2020, April 21). Antiemetic medicines: OTC relief for nausea and vomiting. Editorial Staff. (2020, March 19). Decongestants: OTC relief for congestion. Editorial Staff. (2020, May 18). Anti-diarrheal medicines: OTC relief for diarrhea. Editorial Staff. (2020, September 8). Cough medicine: Understanding your OTC options.

IBM Micromedex. (2021, May 1). Dextromethorphan (oral route). Mayo Clinic.

KnowYourOTCS. (n.d.). Acetaminophen (acetam – APAP).

KnowYourOTCS. (n.d.). Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid – ASA).

KnowYourOTCS. (n.d.). Ibuprofen (Ibuprofen Sodium, Solubilized Ibuprofen).

KnowYourOTCS. (n.d.). Naproxen Sodium (naproxen).

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2018, February 15). Guaifenesin. MedlinePlus.

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2018, February 15). Pseudoephedrine. MedlinePlus.

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2021, August 5). Over-the-counter medicines. MedlinePlus.

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2021, July 2). Cold and cough medicines. MedlinePlus.

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