Home pharmacy; Medications to have at home
For common minor symptoms and illnesses, over-the-counter medicines are available. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions and warnings when using these products. If you have any questions, consult with your doctor before starting a new over-the-counter drug. All medications lose their effectiveness (expire) over time and eventually should be replaced.
Check the expiration date before using any product.
Remember that storing medicines improperly shortens their “shelf life.” Store medicines in a cool, dry area. The heat from kitchens and the moisture from bathrooms decrease the effectiveness of a medication. (See storing medicine.) Store all medications out of reach of children.
Do Not give aspirin to children under 12. Consult your health care provider before giving aspirin, ibuprofen, or similar medicines to children. Pepto-Bismol contains aspirin-like salicylates, so talk with your doctor before using it in children.
Women should consult their doctor before taking over-the-counter medicines while pregnant or breastfeeding.
The following list includes some examples of over-the-counter medicines for common symptoms. This list is not comprehensive, nor does it imply an endorsement of some brands over others. Many of these have less expensive “store brand” equivalents. Always look at the ingredients. There are many “multi-symptom” combination versions - you should select products with the fewest ingredients needed to address your actual symptoms.
Aches and pains
Stuffy nose/ congestion
Cough with sputum or phlegm
Skin rashes and itching
|Cuts and scrapes|
by Martin A. Harms, M.D.
All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.