Must-Haves: Medicines at the Drugstore

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When it comes to first aid in the home, it’s always best to be prepared with a well-stocked medicine cabinet. This way if you need to treat an illness or injury, you’ll have all the common medications and first aid supplies on hand to help yourself or others.

In Japan, there are many over-the-counter drugs in pharmacies, drugstores and some convenience stores. You can easily find such stores around stations or in shopping centers. These stores are generally open 7 days a week, and sometimes 24 hours a day, like Welcia or Matsumotokiyoshi.

Buying medicine in Japan can be a daunting task for first-timers, so here’s a brief guide to some basic must-haves for common ailments. When in doubt though, it never hurts to ask what the best medication for you may be.


• バファリン (Bufferin)
Pain relieving effect on headache, pain due to stiff shoulders, menstrual pain, back pain, joint pain, neuralgia, muscle pain, sore throat, toothache, pain after tooth extraction, pain from bruising, pain from sprains, pain from bone fractures, pain from trauma and earache. Reducing effect on chills and fevers

Dosage: Avoid taking on an empty stomach and wait at least four hours between doses.
Take the following amount with lukewarm or cold water.

Age /Amount per 1 dose / Doses per day
Adults (15 years and up) / 2 tablets / No more than 3
Children under 15 years / Do not use / Do not use

• イブ (Eve)
Relief of pain associated with headache, stiff-shoulders, toothache, menstruation, sore throat, joints, muscles, neuralgia, lower-back, tooth extraction, bruising, earache, bone fracture, sprains and wounds. Fever reduction, relief from chills due to fever.

Dosage: Take the following dose up to 2 times a day, at intervals of at least 6 hours, avoid taking on an empty stomach. This drug should be taken with either cold or lukewarm water.

Age /Amount per 1 dose / Doses per day
Adults (15 years and over): 2 tablets
Children under 15 years of age: DO NOT TAKE.


• 胃腸薬 (Icho yaku)
Stomach pain, bloating, heartburn, gastric hyperacidity, belching, feeling of heaviness in the stomach, feeling of excessive fullness in the stomach, stomach discomfort, esophageal discomfort, stomach trouble caused by excessive alcohol consumption, nausea (queasiness, nausea due to hangover or alcohol consumption, upset stomach, retching, feeling of sickness), vomiting

Dosage: Take the following amount between meals* and before bed with warm or cold water.
*2 to 3 hours after eating, when most food has left the stomach.

Age /Amount per 1 dose / Doses per day
Adults (15 years and over): 1 sachet
Children under 15 years of age: DO NOT TAKE.

• 下痢止め (Geridome)
Relief of the following symptoms: diarrhea, food poisoning, water poisoning, loose stool, abdominal pain.

Dosage: The maximum dose frequency is 3 times a day at intervals of 4 hours or longer.

Adults (15 years and over): Take 1 tablet at a time by chewing or by dissolving in the mouth.


• パブロン (Paburon)
Relief of various symptoms of a common cold: running nose, stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat, cough, phlegm (sputum), chills (feeling cold due to fever), fever, headache, joint pain, and muscle pain.

Take the following dose with cold or lukewarm water within 30 minutes after a meal whenever possible.

15 years or over: 3 tablets per dose, 3 times daily
Children aged 12~14 years old: 2 tablets, 3 times a day
Children under 12 years old: Do not take this drug.
Comply with the prescribed dosage and administration instructions.
The use of the drug in children should be supervised by a parent.
Do not return the tablets touched by wet fingers into the jar. (It will cause discoloration and may deteriorate the quality.)


• ムヒアルファ (Muhi Alfa)
Contains diphenhydramine in cream or liquid form to be applied to the area of the bite.


• トラベルミン Travelmin
If you suffer from motion sickness, take a medicine 30 minutes before travel to prevent sickness symptoms. If you already got sick, you can alleviate such symptoms as dizziness, nausea, headache by taking the medicine and enjoy your trip.

WARNING: Make sure to read important reference information. In rare cases the following serious symptoms could occur. In such an event, immediately consult a doctor.

Photos provided by Kristine Mayor. Additional photos provided by



Kristine Mayor

From the Philippines
Has 3 years of life experience in Western Japan!