Paracetamol, one of the most prescribed drugs in the UK, and probably the most popular over the counter medicine has been recently subject to shortages due to increased demand in recent months. In the last 1-2 years, surgeries across the countries advised many patients to purchase paracetamol over the counter to reduce the cost of drugs prescribed on the NHS. In today’s post, I will discuss drugs alternative to paracetamol. Firstly, I will list some common combination of drugs, which contain paracetamol, which may be used if standard paracetamol tablets or capsules. Secondly, I will review alternative to paracetamol analgesics which are commonly available in the UK. 


  • Paracetamol: licensed use and limit on the sale 
  • Forms of paracetamol 
  • Analgesic drugs alternative to paracetamol  
  • Combination products containing paracetamol

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What is the best over the counter migraine medication?

Migraine is a common condition affecting an estimated 6 million people in the UK. With approximate 190,000 migraine attacks experienced by people in the UK (NICE, 2012), pharmacies are among the first points of call to find over the counter migraine medication. What is the best painkiller for migraine? Today I will review common over the counter migraine medication. Where possible, I will review the evidence to answer what the best over the counter migraine medicine is. The following will be addressed:

  • What is the recommended management of migraine attack?
  • Over the counter painkillers for migraine: simple analgesics
  • Over the counter codeine-based medicines
  • Over the counter sumatriptan for migraine
  • What is the best pain killer for migraine in pregnancy?
  • What is the best painkiller for migraine?

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Flucloxacillin vs Amoxicillin: 2 most POPULAR antibiotics

Amoxicillin is the most commonly prescribed antibiotic in the UK, with over 6 mln prescriptions issued in the last 12 months. Flucloxacillin is less popular with around 3.6 mln prescriptions issued during the same time (OpenPrescribing.net, 2021). Both antibiotics’ distinct popularity comes mainly from different recommended use in the treatment of bacterial infections, even though both drugs belong to the same class of antibiotics: penicillins. This post focuses on highlighting the main differences between drugs. Flucloxacillin vs amoxicillin, a summary of the post:

  • The legal classification of flucloxacillin and amoxicillin
  • Licensed use of flucloxacillin and amoxicillin
  • Forms available
  • Child formulations for flucloxacillin and amoxicillin
  • Differences in administration 
  • Common side effects
  • Seasonality in prescribing

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Vibegron (Gemtesa) – a new drug for overactive bladder

Vibegron (brand name: Gemtesa) is the latest drug used to treat overactive bladder that has been approved by the FDA in the USA. Gemtesa will be available in the US as prescription-only medication from April 2021. In this post, I will summarise:  

  • Licensed use and legal status of vibegron (US)
  • It’s a mechanism of action 
  • The effectiveness of vibegron: summary of clinical trial 
  • vibegron vs mirabegron: what is the difference?
  • Alternative drugs used in the treatment of overactive bladder in the UK 

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Codeine over the counter – 17 OTC products

Without a doubt, codeine-containing products are one of the most commonly sold medicines in the UK. Codeine can be purchased over the counter in the UK. Most codeine products are combination products of codeine and another drug. Codeine over the counter can only be purchased on its own in one form; please read on. I will list most of the codeine over the counter product in the UK; specifically, I will talk about:

  • Forms of codeine available over the counter in the UK
  • Where to buy over the counter codeine from?
  • Restrictions on the supply of codeine-containing products
  • Is codeine over the counter the best pain killer?
  • Codeine over the counter: UK list of products.
  • Prescription-only codeine

The main focus of this post is to introduce the most common over the counter codeine-containing products in the UK and review their codeine content. For more details, such as dosage instructions, warnings, possible side effects please refer to product information leaflet(s) or speak to the pharmacist.

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Amitriptyline for NERVE PAIN (REVIEWED)

Amitriptyline is one of the most popular antidepressants in the UK. Its use is not just restricted to the treatment of depression. Amitriptyline is one of the first options considered when a drug treatment is needed to help manage neuropathic pain. This post focuses on the use of amitriptyline for nerve pain. Summary of the post:

  • What is amitriptyline?
  • What is nerve pain (neuropathic pain)?
  • Nerve pain – recommended pharmacological treatment
  • Is amitriptyline good (effective) for nerve pain?
  • How does amitriptyline work in the management of neuropathic pain?
  • Amitriptyline: common side effects
  • Amitriptyline for nerve pain & weight gain
  • Is paracetamol or ibuprofen good for nerve pain?
  • Nerve pain – alternatives to amitriptyline

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17 creams to STOP ITCHING FAST

Several factors can cause skin itchiness (also known as pruritus). Skin itch is commonly associated with eczema (dermatitis), psoriasis, chickenpox, insect bites, hives and other conditions. Several effective creams to stop itching can be purchased from supermarkets, pharmacies and online. Sale of some anti-itch creams is restricted to pharmacies only. This post summarises the use, availability and effectiveness of different anti-itch creams. I reviewed anti-itch creams based mainly on two factors: short terms management of skin itchiness for example, with the use of steroid, antihistamine and local anaesthetic creams. I also reviewed creams with and without an active ingredient(s), which are usually recommended for long-term management of skin itchiness. Lastly, I touch on the management of skin itchiness with a combination treatment of a topical product(s) and oral antihistamines. Continue reading “17 creams to STOP ITCHING FAST”

(BEST) over the counter ANTIBIOTIC cream

In today’s post, I will review over the counter antibiotic creams in the UK. Some over the counter creams, gels and ointments available in the UK, have an ‘antibiotic’ properties however most of them are not genuinely classified as antibiotics, due to their limitations in terms of elimination of infections. The main focus of this post is to review use and the effectiveness of ‘antibiotic’ creams, supported any existing evidence. I will include different formulations not only creams as this broadens your choice and discussion. I will also talk about private services offered by online pharmacies to buy antibiotic creams. Over the counter antibiotic cream -summary of the post: 

  • Can you buy over the counter antibiotic cream? 
  • Antibiotic versus antiseptic cream: what is the difference?
  • Signs and symptoms of bacterial skin infection
  • Over the counter antibiotic creams  (review)
  • Can I use steroid cream to treat skin infection?
  • Prescription-only antibiotic creams

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Escitalopram vs Citalopram – WHAT is the difference?

Citalopram is a popular antidepressant prescribed in the UK. It is also one of the most prescribed medicines in the UK. Although escitalopram is ‘related’ to citalopram, it significantly less prescribed. Today I will review differences between escitalopram and citalopram. Escitalopram vs citalopram, a summary of the post:

  • Escitalopram vs citalopram: legal status
  • Escitalopram vs citalopram: licensed use
  • Prescribing statistics for escitalopram and citalopram
  • Depression: what is the recommended drug treatment?
  • Comparison of side effects between escitalopram and citalopram
  • Which drug is better? Comparison of the effectiveness
  • Why is escitalopram less commonly prescribed?

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FOSTAIR inhaler – TOP questions & ANSWERS

Fostair inhaler is a popular combination inhaler used in the management of asthma and COPD. In asthma, Fostair is usually recommended when a condition is not well controlled with the use of inhaled steroid and short-acting beta2-agonist (like Ventolin) or condition is controlled with two separate inhalers (corticosteroid and long-acting beta2-agonists). Patients with severe COPD are usually prescribed Fostair. In this case, Fostair is used to help manage COPD symptoms. 

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