OTC Items

Extracted from:

 Conditions for which over the counter items should not routinely be prescribed in primary care:  Guidance for CCGs

Published March 2018


Appendix 1 -Conditions for which prescribing should be restricted


  1. Probiotics
  2. Vitamins and minerals
  3. Acute Sore Throat
  4. Infrequent Cold Sores of the lip.
  5. Conjunctivitis
  6. Coughs and colds and nasal congestion
  7. Cradle Cap (Seborrhoeic dermatitis – infants)
  8. Haemorrhoids
  9. Infant Colic
  10. Mild Cystitis
  11. Mild Irritant Dermatitis
  12. Dandruff
  13. Diarrhoea (Adults)
  14. Dry Eyes/Sore (tired) Eyes
  15. Earwax
  16. Excessive sweating (Hyperhidrosis)
  17. Head Lice
  18. Indigestion and Heartburn
  19. Infrequent Constipation
  20. Infrequent Migraine
  21. Insect bites and stings
  22. Mild Acne
  23. Mild Dry Skin
  24. Sunburn
  25. Sun Protection
  26. Mild to Moderate Hay fever/Seasonal Rhinitis
  27. Minor burns and scalds
  28. Minor conditions associated with pain, discomfort and/fever. (e.g. aches and sprains, headache, period pain, back pain)
  29. Mouth ulcers
  30. Nappy Rash
  31. Oral Thrush
  32. Prevention of dental caries
  33. Ringworm/Athletes foot
  34. Teething/Mild toothache
  35. Threadworms
  36. Travel Sickness
  37. Warts and Verrucae

Appendix 2–Example products for conditions or over the counter items that could be restricted.

NB the products highlighted below are included for illustration purposes only. This guidance focuses on prescribing restrictions for the conditions identified. Condition/Item

Example products


Probiotic sachets

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamin B compound tablets, Vitamin C effervescent 1g tablets,

Multivitamin preparations.

Acute Sore Throat

Lozenges or throat sprays

Cold Sores

Antiviral cold sore cream


Antimicrobial eye drops and eye ointment.

Coughs and Colds and Nasal Congestion

Cough mixtures or linctus,

Saline nose drops,

Menthol vapour rubs,

Cold and flu capsules or sachets.

Cradle Cap

Emulsifying ointment,



Haemorrhoid creams, ointments and suppositories.

Infant Colic

Simethicone suspensions

lactase drops

Mild Cystitis

Sodium bicarbonate or potassium citrate granules

Contact Dermatitis


Steroid creams.


Antidandruff shampoos

Antifungal shampoos

Diarrhoea (Adults)

Loperamide 2mg capsules

Rehydration sachets,

Dry Eyes/Sore(tired) eyes

Eye drops for sore tired eyes

Hypromellose 0.3% eye drops


Drops containing sodium bicarbonate, hydrogen peroxide, olive oil or almond oil.

Excessive sweating (mild – moderate hyperhidrosis)

Aluminium chloride sprays, roll-ons, solutions.

Head Lice

Creams or lotions for head lice

Indigestion and Heartburn

Antacid tablets or liquids

Ranitidine 150mg Tablets

OTC proton pump inhibitors e.g. omeprazole 10mg capsules.

Sodium alginate, calcium carbonate or sodium bicarbonate liquids.

Infrequent Constipation

Bisacodyl tablets 5mg

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