Tag Archives: pharmacy

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


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


  • Imodium pills –> Immodium Tabletten 


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


  • 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

Emergency care in Vienna

This past weekend, I paid my first visit to the ER in Vienna after my daughter got bitten by a mosquito on her eye lid (you read that correctly, beware of the mosquitos this season!). We’re all good now but the process of finding emergency care was a bit confusing so here’s a quick guide as to where to go and what to expect.

In our case, I took my daughter to AKH’s emergency room as it was the easiest hospital for me to get to (U6 stop: AKH) and has a broad range of specialties (I wasn’t sure if she needed an eye specialist and/or a pediatrician – her eye was swollen shut).

One thing to keep in mind is that AKH is a huge complex so finding the right signs to follow can be a bit overwhelming. If you are looking for emergency care,   follow signs specifying “Notfall” (emergency) and/or “Unfall” (accident/trauma). There are a number of information booths and staff  speak English.

Once you arrive in the ER, your case will be assessed (triage) by a physician who will hand you paperwork to complete (asking for your contact information) that you then bring to the “Leitstelle” (think administrative nurses’ station). You will need photo ID (passport or red legit card) and be charged 150 Euros (yes, before you see anyone). You can pay in cash or with Austrian bankomat/debit and international and Austrian credit card. A few weeks later, you will receive a bill from AKH with the remaining balance (or in case you overpaid,  you will receive instructions how to collect your money).

You will then be directed in which waiting area to sit before you are called. Please note that privacy is very limited here.

Emergency phone numbers (medical):

  • Ambulance (die Rettung): 144
  • Call the ambulance in case of true emergency and when you need help transporting a patient. Note that the ambulance will determine upon assessment where to take the patient for the appropriate care (they will be in  radio contact with the appropriate hospital).
  • Pharmacy service: 1455 ( In each district pharmacies take turns staying open during lunch, overnight and at weekends. See also our pharmacy post)
  • 24-hour emergency psychiatric support: 31330 (see also the brochure)

Additional emergency phone numbers:

  • Fire department (die Feuerwehr): 122
  • Police (die Polizei): 133
  • Vienna poison control: 406-4343

Hospitals with a trauma center:

  • Allgemeine Krankenhaus/pediatric clinic                                       Währinger Gürtel 18720, 1090 Vienna, Tel: 404-0019-64
  • Krankenanstalt Rudolfstiftung                                                            Juchgasse 25, 1030 Vienna, Tel: 711-65-0
  • Wilhelminenspital                                                                      Montleartstrasse 37, 1160 Vienna, Tel: 491-50-0
  • St. Anna Kinderspital / pediatric hospital                                                             Kinderspitalgasse 6, 1090 Vienna, Tel: 40170


Thanks to all the TriMission people who provided their valuable input – particularly Sina!