5 Over-the-counter medicines you should NEVER buy

1. Mucous and phlegm cough syrup

The active medicinal ingredient is Guaifenesin. It claims to loosen or thin the mucous making it easier to expectorate. Even at higher than recommended doses, it does not thin sputum or increase sputum volume. Tip: See a healthcare professional when you can, stay hydrated and use a humidifier

2. Antihistamine itch cream

The active medicinal ingredient is Diphenhydramine (e.g. Benadryl). Oral antihistamines are effective at relieving itch caused by a mild allergic reaction. BUT the same cannot be said about antihistamines creams which are strong sensitizers. It can actually worsen an itchy rash or cause an allergic reaction. There are way better alternatives for itch relief.

3. Lanolin containing products

Lanolin is used as an emollient (i.e. oily moisturizer) in eyedrops and skin care products. Just like antihistamine itch creams, lanolin is known to irritate the skin or eye. Avoid these products especially if you have an allergy to wool

4. Enteric coated iron

This also applies to “time-release” or “slow-release” iron. Iron is well known to cause an upset stomach and you need to take it on an empty stomach. Although better tolerated than immediate release, enteric coated iron is much less effective. Your body cannot absorb very much and it’s a waste of money. Tip: if iron is bothering your stomach, speak to your pharmacist about a slow titration which works your way up to taking iron on an empty stomach:
– Take iron after a meal for 3 days then,
– Take iron during a meal for 3 days then,
– Take iron right before a meal for 3 days and eventually on an empty stomach

5. Baby powder for diaper rash

The biggest concern with baby powder is your baby accidentally inhaling it. Baby powder is not very effective for diaper rash anyways. The cornstarch in baby powder does a poor job of wicking away moisture from the skin. If you apply it to broken or oozing skin, the powder can actually form crust and bleed upon removal or lead to infection.