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Prescribing of over the counter medicines is changing Posted on 11 Jan 2022

Your GP, nurse or pharmacist will not generally give you a prescription for over the counter medicines for a range of minor health concerns, even if you qualify for free prescriptions.

Instead, over the counter medicines are available to buy in a pharmacy or supermarket in your local community.

The team of health professionals at your local pharmacy can offer help and clinical advice to manage minor health concerns and if your symptoms suggest it’s more serious, they’ll ensure you get the care you need.

This applies to treatments for these conditions:

  • Acute sore throat
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Coughs, colds and nasal congestion
  • Cradle cap
  • Diarrhoea (adults)
  • Dry eyes / sore tired eyes
  • Earwax
  • Excessive sweating
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Head lice
  • Indigestion and heartburn
  • Infant colic
  • Infrequent cold sores of the lip
  • Infrequent constipation
  • Infrequent migraine
  • Minor burns and scalds
  • Mild acne
  • Mild cystitis
  • Mild dry skin
  • Mild irritant dermatitis
  • Mild to moderate hay fever
  • Minor pain, discomfort and fever (e.g. aches and sprains, headache, period pain, back pain)
  1. Mouth ulcers
  2. Nappy rash
  3. Oral thrush
  4. Prevention of tooth decay
  5. Ringworm / athletes foot
  6. Sunburn
  7. Sun protection
  8. Teething / mild toothache
  9. Threadworms
  10. Travel sickness
  11. Warts and verrucae


GPs, nurses or pharmacists will also generally no longer prescribe probiotics and some vitamins and minerals. You can get these from eating a healthy, varied and balanced diet, or buy them at your pharmacy or supermarket.

Click here for the Prescribing of over the counter medicines is changing leaflet

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