Useful drugs in Japanese pharmacies ドラッグストアで買える基本的な常備薬
A headache spoiling your trip? No worries! Here are some of the common over-the-counter drugs in Japan for relief.
In Japan, there are OTC drugs in pharmacies, drugstores, and some konbini. You can easily spot these drugstores, often around stations or in shopping centers, because their facades are extremely bright and garish. These stores are generally open 7 days a week, and sometimes 24 hours a day, like Welcia or Matsumotokiyoshi, in large cities throughout the country.
You'll also find home products, cosmetics, hygiene, baby goods, and even food. There are always pharmacists on hand to help you, but very often only in Japanese...
WARNING: these drugs are only intended to treat small everyday maladies, if you have a severe health problem, it is imperative you call the emergency services or see a doctor. The number to call in case of fire or if you need an ambulance in Japan is 119 (speak in Japanese if possible, otherwise you can speak slowly and clearly in English).
Do not take these drugs if you have any kind of drug allergy, and always check the ingredients on the label.
Pain relief drugs (recommended for those age 15 and over):
- 鎮痛剤 (Chintzu zai): for headaches or toothache, menstrual pain, and fever.
- バファリン (Bufferin): aspirin tablets.
- タイレノール (Tylenol): paracetamol tablets.
- イブ (Eve): ibuprofen tablets. The "Eve A" version is suitable for colds and flu.
- リングル (Ringl): ibuprofen capsules.
- 胃腸薬 (Icho yaku): recommended for stomach pain or bloating.
- ガスター10 (Gasta 10): available in tablets and is especially suitable for stomach ailments.
- 大正漢方 (Taisho Kampo): a natural medicine including herbal licorice, fennel, and oyster shells.
- 下痢止め (Geridome): taken for diarrhea.
- ストッパ (Stoppa): an orodispersible (orally disintegrating) tablet for acute diarrhea.
- ビオフェルミン (Biofemurin): an intestinal remedy with a lactic bacteria-based tablet. If experiencing gastroenteritis, consult a specialist.
Cold and flu medicine
- パブロン (Paburon): a medicine that contains paracetamol and is an anti-inflammatory and for colds.
- 葛根湯 (Kakkonto): a type of Japanese herbal medicine called kampo (漢方, derived from Traditional Chinese Medicine) notably containing the root of Pueraria Montana, available in tablet, granule, or liquid form.
- かゆみどめ (Kayumidome): a gel used to soothe insect bites. It is very popular with the Japanese. The medicine tube is fitted with a sponge for easy application.
- ムヒアルファ (Muhi Alfa): contains diphenhydramine in cream or liquid form to be applied to the affected area.
- For children, you will find ムヒパッチ (Muhi Pacchi) for ages 1 and over in the form of an enjoyable sticker for application, practical for the parents, and fun for the kids.
- よいどめ (Yoidome): medication against motion sickness.
- アネロン (Aneron): a capsule effective for 24 hours.
- トラベルミン (Travelmin): a tablet used to quell motion sickness.
- トラベルミンジュニア (Travelmin Junior): for children 5 years and over, in tablet or candy form.
Minor Eye Issues
- 目薬 (Megusuri): eye drops for eye problems such as styes or dry eyes due to contact lenses.
All these drugs should be taken according to instructions indicated on the packaging. In any circumstance, if the problem persists or worsens, see a doctor right away.