Essential Over-the-Counter Medications to Stockpile for Emergencies

In the past, the availability of over-the-counter (OTC) medications was a luxury we often took for granted. A century ago, people had no choice but to endure their ailments without the convenience of quick relief. If you ever find yourself in a prolonged disaster situation without access to OTC medications, you’ll come to appreciate the value of these remedies.

Below is a selection of popular OTC medications that can be taken orally or topically to address common health issues such as allergies, congestion, headaches, digestive discomfort, and more. Please note that this list is not exhaustive and does not encompass all necessary medical supplies. For a comprehensive list, you may refer to other sources.

It’s essential to be prepared for potential health challenges during emergencies, as stress and weakened immunity can make you susceptible to illnesses. Additionally, having surplus medication might serve as a valuable commodity for bartering with others in need.

Before building your stockpile, consider your own needs and usage patterns. Focus on items that you use frequently, and don’t forget to check expiration dates regularly as medications may lose potency over time.

Allergy Relief:

  1. Allegra (Fexofenadine) – Addresses classic allergy symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes.
  2. Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) – A versatile antihistamine effective against various allergy symptoms and aids in sleep.
  3. Claritin (Loratadine) – Treats allergies and cold symptoms without causing drowsiness.
  4. Zyrtec (Cetirizine) – An alternative option for severe allergy sufferers.

Cold and Flu Remedies:

  1. Dayquil (Acetaminophen, Dextromethorphan, Phenylephrine) – Eases cold symptoms, except runny nose.
  2. Mucinex DM (Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin) – Ideal for coughs and chest congestion.
  3. Nyquil (Acetaminophen, Doxylamine, Dextromethorphan) – Relieves cold and flu symptoms, but may cause drowsiness.
  4. Robitussin (Guaifenesin) – Recommended for chest mucus without cough suppression.
  5. Sudafed PE (Phenylephrine) – Effective for sinus pressure and pain.

Digestive Comfort:

  1. Alka-Seltzer (Citric Acid, Sodium Bicarbonate) – Suitable for indigestion, stomach aches, and minor aches.
  2. Dulcolax (Bisacodyl) – Provides relief from constipation.
  3. Imodium (Loperamide) – Counteracts diarrhea and helps prevent dehydration.
  4. Milk of Magnesia (Magnesium Hydroxide) – Combats indigestion and constipation.
  5. Nexium or Prilosec (Esomeprazole) – Effective for heartburn relief on a short-term basis.
  6. Pepcid AC (Famotidine) – Quick relief for heartburn triggered by specific foods.
  7. Pepto-Bismol (Bismuth Subsalicylate) – Versatile remedy for various stomach discomforts.
  8. Tagamet (Cimetidine) – A fast-acting acid reducer for heartburn.
  9. Tums (Calcium Carbonate) – Useful for heartburn relief and treating calcium deficiencies.
  10. Zantac (Ranitidine) – Potent heartburn relief for those who need more than Tums.

General Pain Relief:

  1. Advil or Motrin (Ibuprofen) – Anti-inflammatory pain reliever suitable for various conditions.
  2. Aleve (Naproxen Sodium) – Similar to Advil, effective for relieving inflammation and pain.
  3. Aspirin (Aspirin) – Provides mild pain relief and can aid in heart attack recovery.
  4. Excedrin (Acetaminophen and Aspirin) – Effective for migraines and headaches with caffeine content.
  5. Orajel (Benzocaine) – Useful for toothache relief and other minor skin irritations.
  6. Tylenol (Acetaminophen) – A widely used pain reliever and fever reducer.

Skin Itching and Wound Care:

  1. Aspercreme (Lidocaine) – Addresses itching, sunburns, and minor burns by numbing the skin and tissue.
  2. Cortizone 10 (Hydrocortisone) – Excellent for itch relief and beneficial for eczema and psoriasis.
  3. Lotrimin (Clotrimazole) – Treats itching caused by bacteria, such as jock itch and athlete’s foot.
  4. Neosporin (Bacitracin, Neomycin, and Polymyxin B) – Prevents infection and accelerates wound healing.
  5. QuikClot Sponge (Zeolite) – An essential item for stopping severe bleeding in emergencies.


  1. Activated Charcoal (Charcoal) – Useful for absorbing poisons and treating various gastrointestinal issues.
  2. Dramamine (Dimenhydrinate) – Effective against dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
  3. Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulfate) – Soothes sore muscles, reduces inflammation, and serves as a laxative.

Proper storage is crucial for maintaining the effectiveness of medications. Keep them in a cool, dry, and dark place, avoiding the bathroom due to moisture. Always store them in their original containers and out of children’s reach. It’s essential to do your research and consult with a healthcare professional to ensure these medications are suitable for your needs and health condition. Please remember that the information provided here is not medical advice, and individual reactions to medications can vary.