Medicine Cabinet

Dr Law's Medicine Cabinet Tips

Here are some of my top tips about medicines that you can buy from the chemist and have available for minor illnesses.

Always read the labels and discuss any concerns or problems with a pharmacist.

Another excellent source of information about medical problems and common treatment options are the patient information leaflets on www.patient.info  

Pain and Temperature Relievers

Paracetamol

Available in tablets, caplets and liquid this is a cheap medicine with relatively few side effects.

Ibuprofen - an anti-inflammatory pain reliever

Available in tablets and liquid. This is particularly useful for injuries such as sprains and strains - taking it regularly with food over the course of a week will often settle things down and allow you to continue normal activities. Side effects to watch for are indigestion (reduced if taken with food) and a flare up of asthma for those affected (approximately 1 in 10 asthmatics are affected).

Antihistamines

Cetirizine - once daily, non-drowsy

Available in tablets and liquid. Pharmacists can help to advise you whether an antihistamine might be helpful for your hayfever, itchy rash or insect bites.

Chlorphenamine (Piriton) - multiple doses per day, increased drowsiness

Available in tablets and liquid. Pharmacists can help to advise you whether an antihistamine might be helpful for your hayfever, itchy rash or insect bites.

Anti-sickness / Anti-dizziness Tablets

Prochlorperazine (Buccastem M)

Available as dissolve in the mouth tablets. A Pharmacist can advise whether this tablet, which is the same strength as those that might be prescribed, is suitable.

Headlice

Malathion liquid (Derbac M)

My currently preferred chemical treatment. Read the product leaflet and advice sheet on www.patient.info to be sure to apply the treatment effectively as this will make a big difference to your chances of success.

Creams

E45 / Aqueous / Emulsifying Ointment / Others

Dry and itchy skin is greatly improved with using a good "emollient" moisturiser cream. Aqueous is cheap but may produce more reactions that some of the other proprietary preparations. Theses creams are best applied liberally and twice daily.

Steroids - Hydrocortisone / Clobetasone (Eumovate)

Areas of eczema will often respond well to a short course of a reasonable amount of steroid. Eumovate is the strongest option available without prescription and will suffice for many conditions. Always ask the pharmacist for advice and read the pack leaflets for directions.

Antifungals - Clotrimazole / Miconazole

These creams are frequently prescribed for fungal conditions and can be bought from the chemist. Your Pharmacist should be able to advise on sensible preparations and amounts for problems such as thrush and Athlete's foot.

Indigestion

Gaviscon / Rennies / etc.

Simple but often effective treatments. Don't forget to plan changes to any lifestyle factors that make acid worse like smoking, excess alcohol and being overweight. See www.patient.info for further advice.

Ranitidine

The World's favourite excess acid treatment until the newer medications came along.

Omeprazole (Zanprol)

One of a group of medicines that are now very commonly prescribed for the relief of indigestion / acid and heartburn. Not cheap to buy but can be very effective and rapidly acting to bring welcome relief.