Which OTC Health Products Are Best? New Report Claims to Know


March 28, 2024 — Should you’ve been in a drugstore lately or shopped on-line, you recognize: The quantity and number of over-the-counter well being merchandise in the marketplace — from cough syrups to anti-wrinkle lotions — will be overwhelming. Which to decide on and which to bypass?  Which work finest?

In a brand new report launched in the present day, U.S. Information & World Report has tried to reply these questions. The publication partnered with the Harris Ballot for the second consecutive yr to supply the report, rating merchandise in 132 classes primarily based on enter from pharmacists and dermatologists. Shoppers can access it free of charge.

The listing is powerful, in response to Shanley Chien, senior editor of well being at U.S. Information. It contains greater than 900 manufacturers throughout the 132 product classes. Among the many classes are pimples therapies, sunscreens, sleep aids, blood stress screens, and cough suppressants.

Whereas many merchandise obtained good rankings, the model with probably the most No. 1 merchandise this yr is Nature Made, adopted by CeraVe and Neutrogena. The corporate with probably the most merchandise ranked number one is Kenvue (previously a Johnson & Johnson division) adopted by Haleon (Sensodyne, Advil, Centrum) and Parmavite LLC (Nature Made). 

Find out how to use the listing? “It’s actually primarily based on particular person wants,” Chien mentioned. For example, in the event you’re looking for one of the best multivitamin in your youngster, you’ll be able to consult with the listing for options. (Flintstones obtained the highest spot.) It’s primarily based on signs and what you are attempting to deal with, she mentioned. 


For the rankings, U.S. Information and Harris surveyed 354 pharmacists and 122 dermatologists practising within the U.S. in February. 

These surveyed took into consideration availability, accessibility, prices, affordability, security, efficacy, and high quality when selecting finest manufacturers. For example, Chien mentioned, many specialists mentioned they ranked some migraine medicines increased than others as a result of they have been each efficient and extra accessible — and that accessibility is vital for these with migraine making an attempt to renew their schedule. 

Each pharmacists and dermatologists chosen the highest three manufacturers in every product class assigned to them. A top-ranked model obtained 5 factors, second place, 3, and third place, 1. Unranked obtained no factors. Manufacturers have been ranked by the full variety of factors obtained.  

No compensation or incentives got to the contributors. The pharmacists and dermatologists did touch upon how acquainted they have been with the classes they have been requested to charge, however monetary ties to corporations weren’t tracked. No responses talked about conflicts of curiosity, in response to US Information. 

The Winners

Among the many many merchandise ranked No. 1 in varied classes by pharmacists are:

  • Arthritis lotions: Voltaren
  • Arthritis ache aid: Aleve
  • Again ache: Motrin
  • Blood stress screens: Omron
  • Burn remedy: Neosporin
  • Kids’s cough medication: Kids’s Delsym
  • Kids’s multivitamins: Flintstones
  • Decongestants (Oral): Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine)
  • Diarrhea cures: Imodium
  • Fish oil/omega-3 dietary supplements: Nature Made
  • Males’s multivitamins: Centrum
  • Girls’s multivitamins: One A Day
  • Sore throat sprays: Chloraseptic

Among the many many merchandise evaluated by dermatologists and ranked No. 1: 

  • Child sunscreens: Aveeno Child
  • Child wipes: Aveeno
  • Dandruff shampoos: Head and Shoulders
  • Diaper rash: Desitin
  • Eye lotions (anti-wrinkle): La Roche-Posay
  • Face moisturizers: CeraVe
  • Hand lotions: Neutrogena
  • Moisturizers with SPF, evening lotions: CeraVe
  • Sunscreens (Facial): EltaMD
  • Wrinkle lotions: Neutrogena


A pharmacist and two dermatologists reviewed the brand new report for WebMD and had some extra options on find out how to use it and what different actions are wanted to seek out efficient merchandise.

The specialists see a necessity for steerage. 

“The number of merchandise accessible for related indications marketed by totally different producers will be overwhelming and troublesome for shoppers to navigate,” mentioned Melody Berg, PharmD, editorial director of affected person medicine info for ASHP (the American Society of Well being-System Pharmacists).  “Though this listing makes an attempt to assist make that call extra manageable, it can’t change the medical experience of a pharmacist or different well being care supplier.” 

Moreover encouraging individuals to talk with their pharmacist, she confused the significance of figuring out what the lively ingredient is in a product, not merely the model title.

She advised utilizing the brand new report “as a launching level for dialogue” with one’s pharmacist. The ASHP affected person medicine web site Safe Medication additionally offers legitimate info on OTC merchandise, she mentioned.

When selecting OTC merchandise, particular person wants and private specifics should be thought-about, mentioned John Barbieri, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical Faculty and director of the Superior Zits Therapeutics Clinic at Brigham and Girls’s Hospital in Boston.  “With regards to skincare, it’s vital to contemplate which substances and formulations take advantage of sense for somebody’s pores and skin kind and skincare objectives,” he mentioned. 

He additionally urges individuals to consider an total skincare routine, not simply to concentrate on single merchandise.

For skincare merchandise, “I’d search for merchandise which are dermatologist-approved or really helpful,” mentioned Mamina Turegano, MD, a New Orleans dermatologist. “Oftentimes these are manufacturers which have rigorous analysis behind the merchandise and their substances.” 

These merchandise typically keep away from the usage of perfume and dyes, she mentioned, that are problematic for some. 

Turegano has been a advisor for Johnson & Johnson, L’Oreal, Estee Lauder, and Dermavent.

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