Medicines for Self Care (Over the Counter Medicines)




Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group supports any GP practice that decides to reduce their prescribing of medicines which have limited clinical value or are more suitable for patients to buy for themselves

  • Ibuprofen/Paracetamol tablets Painkillers for minor aches and pains
  • Soluble pain killers (because of high salt content)
  • Hay fever preparations
  • Cough and cold remedies
  • Nasal decongestants(and sterimar)
  • Tonic, vitamin and health supplements
  • Antiperspirants
  • Homeopathic remedies
  • Treatments for non-serious constipation or diarrhoea
  • Ear was removers(few drops of olive oil are just as good as anything on prescription)
  • Treatments for minor facial spots
  • Threadworm tablets
  • Lozenges, throat sprays, mouthwashes, gargles and toothpastes
  • Slimming preparations(except within national guidelines)
  • Creams, gels,oils and dressings for minor sprains, sports injuries and scars
  • Nappy rash barrier cream
  • Hair removing creams
  • Head Lice lotions and shampoos(wet combing recommended)
  • Athletes foot creams and powders
  • Topical treatments for vaginal thrush
  • Treatments for fungal nail infections
  • Moisturisers and bath additives for minor dry skin conditions
  • Travel medicines
  • Foods and toilet preparations except where clinically indicated e.g. gluten-free cakes,cake mixes & luxury biscuits; sip feeds; readymade thickened juices; soya milk and sun creams

WHY? This decision has been taken because:

  • Many of these products are cheap to buy and are readily available along with advice from the pharmacies, aswell as shops supermarkets(which are often open until late)
  • Some of them do not actually work very well, e.g. cough syrups
  • In Somerset we spent almost £4million last year on these medicines. This money could be better spent on treating more serious conditions such as cancer and heart disease.

In some circumstances your doctor can still prescribe these medicines on the NHS if they believe a true clinical need exists. 

Find Out More

For more information from the national health service on conditions, treatments, local services and healthy living please visit the NHS choices website: 

Find Out More

Updated Oct 2015