Over the Counter medications

Getting sick abroad in a different culture is always a bit scary so we at TriVienna greatly appreciate the U.S. Embassy’s medical unit’s help in putting together this great  list outlining how and where to find common over the counter (OTC) medications in Vienna.

If you spent some time browsing the drug stores here (e.g., Bipa, DM), you have probably noticed that they don’t stock that many pharmaceuticals (on the other hand, if you are looking for toiletries, cleaning supplies, perfume, make-up etc, this is the place to shop!). In Austria, you have to shop for your medications at the Apotheke – check out our previous post on where to find them.

Inside an Apotheke, you will notice that medications are typically not openly displayed for you to browse. Instead, you  need to consult with a pharmacist (Apotheker) who is trained in advising customers and can provide prescription-free medications to common ailments [s/he can also fill your prescriptions]. In my experience, many Apothekers speak English very well too (and if not, I am sure sign language can go a long way!).

Please note that a number of common U.S. OTC medications are not available without a prescription here in Austria; these include:

  • the decongestant Sudafed (pseudo-ephedrine)
  • 1% hydrocortisone cream
  • motion sickness medication Dramamine (dimenhydrinate known as Vertirosan in Austria); and
  • some anti-histamines require a prescription (Clarityn/loatidine does not)

What follows is a list of typical U.S. brand OTC medications and their Austrian equivalents or Austrian brand suggestions on medications to take for common health problems. Obviously, if you have a serious medical issue or symptoms are dragging on, please consult a physician right away. If you are looking for English-speaking specialists, check our page with some suggestions and feel free to email us if you have others to recommend.

Cold & Cough

  • Robitussin; Mucinex – helps loosen cough –> Wick (Vicks) Formel 44 Hustenlöser
  • Robitussin DM (dextro-methorphan) cough suppressant –> Wick Formel 44 Hustenstiller
  • Nyquil –> Wick Erkältungssirup für die Nacht
  • Neo-synephrine topical decongestant spray (limit to 3 days max.) –> Vibrocil Nasen Spray/Gel
  • Afrin topical decongestant spray, varying strengths –> Nasivin Spray

Pain & Fever

  • Tylenol (infant/child/adult; check dosage carefully) –> Mexalen or Ben-u-ron
  • Motrin –> Ibumetin (adult only)

Seasonal allergies & hives

  • Claritin –> Clarityn or Loratadin
  • Benedryl –> Calmaben Dragees 50 mg (twice as much medication as U.S. 25mg OTC Benedryl!)

Athlete’s foot & skin fungus (ringworm)

  • Mycelex –> Canesten Clotrimazol
  • Desenex; Mictin; Lotrimin –> Daktarin 2% creme

Monilial Vaginitis (Vaginal Yeast Infection)

  • Gyne-Lotrimin –> Canesten Vaginaltabletten or creme

Head Lice

  • Austrian suggestion: A-par Shampoo

Scabies

  • Austrian suggestion: Infectoscab Creme (similar to Kwell in the U.S.)

Diarrhea

  • Imodium pills –> Immodium Tabletten 

Constipation

  • Austrian suggestion: Dulcolax Tabletten (stimulant laxative – use cautiously)
  • Metamucil –> Pascomucil Pulver

Antacids

  • Maalox –> Alucol Tabletten
  • Gaviscon –> Rennie (floats on stomach contents; best for reflux-like symptoms/heartburn)
  • Austrian suggestions: Riopan

Insect Repellant

  • Austrian suggestions: Autan; No Bite
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