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Over the counter medicines Posted or Updated on 6 Jun 2024

Prescribing over the counter medicines

In line with NHS England recommendations, NHS Dorset has asked GP teams to stop prescribing medicine and treatment for 35 minor conditions listed on this page. This allows GPs to focus on caring for people who have more complex needs.

NHS Dorset wants people to have the confidence to look after themselves where they can. This gives people greater control of their health without the need to visit their GP for minor conditions.

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.

  • Acute sore throat
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Coughs, colds and nasal congestion
  • Cradle cap
  • Dandruff
  • 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
  • Insect bites and stings
  • Mild acne
  • Minor burns and scalds
  • Mild cystitis
  • Mild dry skin
  • Mild irritant dermatitis
  • Mild to moderate hay fever
  • Minor conditions associated with pain, discomfort and fever (e.g. aches and sprains, headache, period pain, back pain)
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Nappy rash
  • Oral thrush
  • Prevention of tooth decay
  • Ringworm/athlete’s foot
  • Sunburn
  • Sun protection
  • Teething/mild toothache
  • Threadworms
  • Travel sickness
  • Warts and verrucae

For further information, the NHS has produced a leaflet explaining changes to prescribing over the counter medicines. For more information please read this information leaflet [EXTERNAL PDF LINK]

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