Antibiotics are one of the most powerful medications which are being used widely for one reason it helps fight infections. Not only does it kill bacteria but also prevents their further growth. 

Healthcare professionals prescribe these to nearly everyone who has gone through some kind of infection. From UTIs to Stomach infections, antibiotics provide the fastest and easiest cures against bacteria. 

People usually visit healthcare specialists to get prescriptions for the right kind of antibiotics to target and boost treatment. Have you ever wondered about buying over the counter antibiotics? Well, this article will clear all the air regarding the over counter antibiotics and the need for medical aid. 

Can You Get Over The Counter Antibiotics? 

Often regarded as Antibacterials, Antibiotics are an excellent medication that proves effective in keeping a check on bacterial growth. These work by attacking, killing the bacteria, and preventing further growth. However, they are not used for viral infections. 

Although one can buy some antibiotics over the counter, most need a healthcare practitioner’s prescription. 

If you have ever visited a healthcare professional you would know how they examine the whole situation. They start by asking some questions related to the symptoms and your medical history. They might ask you to go for some tests as well. Then, these experts prescribe the antibiotics which would be the most helpful in curing the infection. 

Which Antibiotics Can You Get Over The Counter? 

Some antibiotics can be purchased without any prescription as over the counter (OTC). The available over the counter antibiotics are termed topical antibiotics. One can get them easily through any pharmacy or drugstore. 

Generally, these topical antibiotics are used to cure minor problems such as skin scratches, burns, scrapes, and other wounds. Available in form of cream, powder, ointment, and sprays, they treat topical skin infections. 

The topical over the counter available antibiotics are:

  • Benzoyl Peroxide (Proactiv) 
  • Polymyxin (Polysporin) 
  • Neomycin (Neosporin plus pain relief) 
  • Bacitracin (Neosporin) 

One shouldn’t use these topical antibiotics without necessity as they might cause harmful effects on the skin such as irritation than any good. Nonetheless, it is advisable to consult and get a recommendation from healthcare specialists before going on any medication even if it’s antibiotics over the counter. This will ensure the safety and reliability of the medications. 

Do You Need To Have a Prescription For Antibiotics? 

Purchasing burn creams, and sprays can be done over the counter. However, oral and stronger antibiotics can only be purchased with a prescription from a practitioner. 

In any case, you should consult a doctor and get proper guidance before taking medications or over the counter antibiotics. As we all know that each body reacts differently to medications even if it’s antibiotics. You may experience completely different side effects than others from the same medications. 

Therefore, you should follow the diet and dosage as per the advice of the healthcare professional. Avoid exceeding or forgetting your dose. Do not leave the course of antibiotics halfway as the symptoms might return. It is vital to complete the full course even if you start feeling better. 

Moreover, you should avoid taking antibiotics over the counter without their necessity. Over-usage of antibiotics can build up resistance in your body, thereby, making resistance bacteria more common. Hence, you should use antibiotics only when prescribed by the doctors. 

Most Commonly Prescribed Antibiotics: 

Most Commonly Prescribed Antibiotics

Antibiotics range in hundreds of types. Every antibiotic is designed to provide a cure for a specific illness. Therefore, it is quite important to consult a healthcare provider as they prescribe the most appropriate medication for the ailment. 

Nevertheless, some antibiotics do specialize in treating numerous bacteria at once, thereby, making them one of the most often used antibiotics. Some commonly prescribed antibiotics are as follows:


This is a widely used over the counter antibiotics by both adults and children to treat bacterial infections like ear infections, bone infections, and UTIs. 


This antibiotic is usually prescribed alongside other medications to treat the infection faster. 


Levofloxacin helps to cure many respiratory bacterial infections such as bronchitis. Healthcare providers prescribe this medication only in case of unavailability of alternatives as it has numerous side effects such as numbness, headaches, etc. 


Mostly provided before surgeries these antibiotics help to prevent infections during surgery. It is prescribed for the treatment of pneumonia, and meningitis as well. 


Clindamycin treats many rare and severe infections by stopping bacterial growth. 


This antibiotic helps cure numerous illnesses, including cholera, bacterial pneumonia, Lyme disease, acne, and others. 


Metronidazole antibiotics treat bacterial infections in the digestive and vaginal tracts. It can also be used to cure parasitic STIs (Sexually transmitted diseases). 

Therefore, before taking any antibiotics over the counter one should discuss it with their healthcare provider. One shouldn’t share or take the medication prescribed to someone else. 

For What Purpose Are Antibiotics Used? 

Antibiotics are used to treat various bacterial infections. Some of the most commonly treated ailments are as follows:

  • Strep Throat 
  • Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) 
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) 
  • Acne
  • Sinus Infections
  • Bronchitis 
  • Otitis Media (Ear Infection) 
  • Dental Infections and Gum Disease 
  • Meningitis 
  • Traveler’s Diarrhea 
  • Vaginal Infections (Bacterial Vaginosis) 
  • UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections) 
  • Skin or Soft Tissue Infection 
  • Bacterial Pneumonia 

Is It Necessary To Consult A Doctor Before Taking An Antibiotic? 

Yes, it is necessary to visit a doctor before purchasing most antibiotics. Even if it’s over the counter antibiotics, one should discuss and take guidance from any healthcare professional. A professional will help you diagnose the actual cause of ailments and prescribe the most probable antibiotics for correct treatment. This will ensure a safe and healthy treatment.

How To Get Antibiotics? 

The procedure for getting an antibiotic is quite simple. First, you need to visit any healthcare provider. He/She might ask some questions related to the ailments followed by a physical examination for a better understanding of the infection. Then, after discovering the exact cause, your doctor will provide you with the necessary antibiotics. 

You should not take any antibiotics over the counter without consulting your doctor. They are experts who specialize in that particular area of medicine, so, do not try to force them to take certain antibiotic prescriptions. 

In case of prescribed antibiotics, consult with your insurance provider to get them covered in IfIf, by any chance, it doesn’t, re-consult with your doctor to get another alternative recommendation. Do online research and compare costs before purchasing the medication from any local drug store. 

When To Seek Medical Aid? 

The healthcare professional will prescribe you the most effective medication and antibiotics for your ailment. Most commonly, over the counter antibiotics are not always prescribed for every type of infection. Follow the instructions and dosage advice of your doctor. 

In some rare cases of overuse of antibiotics, they can work otherwise by getting rid of good bacteria instead of bad bacteria from the gut, leading to vomiting or diarrhea. 

If you experience any major side effects or symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or others after going on certain antibiotics, seek medical aid immediately. Do not try to resolve it by yourself; the specialist knows what is best for you in such conditions. 

These are some of the most common questions related to antibiotics over the counter.