You possibly can fortunately lose your self in a French pharmacy for hours, perusing all of the fascinating cures with colourful packing containers and new-to-you labels. However if you’re not feeling effectively, the very last thing you need to do is spend lots of time in a pharmacy since you’re confused about what drugs to purchase in France. This goes double when you don’t communicate French very effectively. If you wish to get out and in of the pharmacy and again to your mattress very quickly, learn on for the French equivalents of widespread American medicines you may get with out a prescription.
Frequent over-the-counter American medicines and their French equivalents
Be aware: Please seek the advice of a health care provider or pharmacist for all medical recommendation earlier than taking any treatment in France. This put up shouldn’t be an alternative choice to medical recommendation.
There are few issues worse than getting sick abroad. On prime of being sick, you’re not in your personal mattress, you aren’t conversant in the tradition and language, and also you undoubtedly aren’t in any form to analysis what drugs you want. I used to be hospitalized on account of meals poisoning two months aside in Rwanda after which once more in Kyrgyzstan, however these are tales for an additional day. Belief me once I say that getting sick overseas could be hell.
Transferring on… so what can you purchase over-the-counter in France if you’re sick?
Let’s speak a number of the hottest over-the-counter medicines you’ll discover at French pharmacies. As a vacationer, you’ll need to be ready in case you get sick in France, so let’s get into what the French equivalents are for widespread U.S. medicines. That means, the subsequent time you’re not feeling effectively, you’ll know precisely what French drugs you want. Even higher, when you stay in France, get your drugs cupboard prepared now so that you’re ready and don’t even have to depart your residence.
I must also level out that in case you are severely sick, the French equal of 911 is 112. Dial 112 from wherever within the European Union for emergency providers. You may as well dial 15 from inside France for an ambulance (SAMU) to deal with a medical emergency.
I’ll say proper off the bat that France has a top quality healthcare system. French pharmacists’ experience is prime notch, as is the care they supply and the collection of merchandise out there, so go to one with confidence. After all I hope you don’t get sick in France in any respect, however when you do, don’t stress. They’ve acquired you and may counsel you on precisely what drugs to purchase in France.
Alright, let’s get into a number of the most typical over-the-counter medicines you’ll discover within the U.S. and what the French treatment equal is known as. Needless to say all the pieces beneath is over-the-counter and doesn’t require a prescription. Additionally, I’m mentioning a number of the hottest choices, however this isn’t an all-inclusive listing.
🎧 Lastly, make sure you hearken to the audio information (search for the headphones emoji in every part and click on the little play button above every set of phrases) which have a number of key phrases and the pronunciation of the French medicines pictured.
U.S. drugs names: Advil/Motrin, Tylenol, Excedrin Migraine
Energetic components: Ibuprofen (Advil), acetaminophen/paracetamol (Tylenol), acetaminophen/aspirin/caffeine (Excedrin Migraine)
French drugs names: Advil, Doliprane, Efferalgan (effervescent formulation), Algodol Caféine (Excedrin Migraine equal, simply with out the aspirin)
French vocab to know for ache:
(Be aware: My French husband Tom is the French voice you’re listening to for the audio element. Thanks on your assist, Tom!!) For every French phrase, he says them 3 instances whole — first at common velocity, then slowly so you’ll be able to hear the phrases higher, and once more at common velocity.)
🎧 Press play to listen to the best way to pronounce every phrase in French:
⦿ I’ve a headache: J’ai mal à la tete.⦿ I’ve a migraine: J’ai une migraine.⦿ I’ve a toothache: J’ai mal aux dents.⦿ I’ve a fever: J’ai de la fièvre.⦿ I’d like a field of Doliprane, please: Je voudrais une boîte de Doliprane, s’il vous plait.
Complications aren’t any joke and also you’ll need to have the best meds available the subsequent time one strikes. Fortunately, French pharmacies have every kind of over-the-counter medicines for complications and basic ache from backaches, toothaches, and many others.
Within the U.S., Tylenol is made up of the lively ingredient acetaminophen, which is known as paracetamol in lots of different elements of the world, together with right here in France. Acetaminophen and paracetamol are the identical chemical compound, C8H9NO2. The most typical one in France is the model Doliprane, which is available in a number of dosage choices. Aspégic is one other in style ache/fever treatment in France.
Turning to ibuprofen, the model Advil is out there right here and there’s additionally a model referred to as Nurofen, which is an ibuprofen equal in France. You may as well get generic ibuprofen. Within the case of migraines, an Excedrin Migraine equal is Algodol Caféine, nevertheless it doesn’t include the aspirin element — simply the paracetamol and caffeine.
In case you’re in want of an Aleve equal in France, you received’t discover one over-the-counter. The lively ingredient of this anti-inflammatory –naproxen sodium — is by prescription solely.
Lastly, on the subject of ache… whereas there’s no French equal for Midol, which is marketed for menstrual cramps within the U.S., the French anti-spasm treatment Spasfon will do the trick. It’s for belly cramping of every kind and there’s no precise American equal to Spasfon.
Chilly & congestion
U.S. drugs title: Sudafed
Energetic ingredient: Pseudoephedrine Hcl
French drugs title: Actifed Rhume
🎧 French vocab to know for colds:
⦿ I’ve a chilly: J’ai un rhume.⦿ My nostril is stuffed up: Mon nez est bouché.
As a child, Sudafed was my go-to, however in France, there’s no Sudafed. Many over-the-counter chilly meds do include pseudoephedrine, although. As a substitute, go along with a field of Actifed Rhume, which incorporates capsules for each the daytime and the nighttime hours (with the nighttime formulation containing the addition of diphénhydramine). There are a bunch of chilly drugs choices in France that eliminate congestion, cough, and fever so that you’ll haven’t any drawback discovering one which fixes you up very quickly. Different chilly medicines in France are Humex Rhume, Fervex, and Advil Rhume.
One last item, something with dextromethorphan (DXM), the lively ingredient in Nyquil, appears to solely be out there with a prescription. You received’t discover an actual Nyquil equal in France as an over-the-counter possibility. How are you going to get a prescription for Nyquil in France, you ask? You can also make an appointment with any physician and pay the identical fee as a French individual.
U.S. drugs names: Dramamine Unique or Bonine
Energetic components: Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine Unique), meclizine (Bonine)
French drugs names for movement illness: Nausicalm (Dramamine Unique), Agyrax (Bonine), Mercalm (Dimenhydrinate & caffeine)
🎧 French vocab to know for movement illness:
⦿ I really feel movement sick: J’ai le mal des transports.⦿ I really feel dizzy: J’ai des vertiges.⦿ I really feel nauseous: J’ai la nausée.
Journey isn’t at all times comfy and for these of us susceptible to movement illness, a practice experience the place we’re dealing with backwards or seated in the back of a bus isn’t superb. However haven’t any concern, France has a bunch of meds for movement illness.
Dimenhydrinate is an antihistamine — mostly often called Dramamine — that stops and treats nausea, vomiting, and dizziness attributable to movement illness. You will discover Dramamine at some French pharmacies however the different French model movement illness meds talked about above are extra widespread. In case you’re happening a ship or a street journey and are susceptible to movement illness, make sure you fill up on one of many French movement illness choices earlier than you go.
U.S. drugs title: Imodium
Energetic ingredient: Loperamide
French drugs names: Imodium, Diaretyl
🎧 French vocab to know for diarrhea:
⦿ I’ve diarrhea: J’ai de la diarrhée.
Fortunately, Imodium is out there in France, so that you don’t must look a lot additional than that. Diaretyl is one other in style drugs in case you get a case of the runs. Docs and pharmacists typically advocate Smecta as effectively, which will help with diarrhea within the case of gastroenteritis or comparable.
For a humorous Instagram reel Tom and I did on the subject of diarrhea and the way it’s dealt with at a French pharmacy, click on right here.
U.S. drugs title: Ex-Lax
Energetic ingredient: Sennosides
French drugs title: Pursennide
🎧 French vocab to know for constipation:
⦿ I’m constipated: Je suis constipé(e).
Nobody desires to be constipated on trip but when it occurs, the French pharmacy has you coated. The French Ex-Lax equal for constipation with sennosides because the lively ingredient is Pursennide. If an oral remedy isn’t reducing it and also you need to handle your constipation from the opposite finish, one other good possibility is Microlax.
U.S. drugs: Fuel-X
Energetic ingredient: Simeticone
French drugs title for gasoline: Imonogas
🎧 French vocab for gasoline:
⦿ I’ve gasoline: J’ai des gaz.⦿ I’m bloated: Je suis ballonné(e)
Nobody likes feeling gassy and bloated, particularly in public, so for the French equal of Fuel-X, decide your self up a field of Imonogas. There are a bunch of comparable medicines that include different lively components aimed toward decreasing gasoline and bloating as effectively, so lean in your pharmacist for the most suitable choice on your explicit signs.
U.S. drugs: Tums
Energetic ingredient: Calcium carbonate
French drugs for heartburn: Rennie
🎧 French vocab to know for heartburn:
⦿ I’ve heartburn: J’ai des brûlures d’estomac.
⦿ I’ve indigestion: J’ai une indigestion.
⦿ My abdomen is upset: J’ai mal au ventre.
In case your dinner gave you a case of heartburn, indigestion, and associated abdomen discomfort, decide up some Rennie out of your native French pharmacy. Rennie is the closest Tums equal in France when you’re in want of an antacid. Caltrate is one other good Tums various in France.
In case you’re searching for a Pepto Bismol equal in France, you received’t discover it, as bismuth subsalicylate is prohibited right here. A great France Pepto Bismol equal for heartburn and acid reflux disorder is Gaviscon. You may as well discover Maalox in France, each a chewable formulation and a gel packet possibility. Lemon and mint are the 2 most typical flavors.
U.S. drugs: Benadryl Gel
Energetic ingredient: Diphenhydramine hydrochloride
French drugs for insect bites: Butix
🎧 French vocab for an insect chunk:
⦿ An insect bit me: Un insecte m’a piqué.⦿ I believe this chunk is contaminated: Je pense que cette piqûre est infectée.⦿ It itches like loopy: Ça me gratte beaucoup.
Past the gel possibility, my go-to for bug bites is Synthol. It’s a liquid you apply to a cotton spherical after which swab onto the affected space. I swear by it and speak extra about Synthol on this put up.
In case you’re searching for a daily Benadryl equal in France for allergic reactions, there’s no precise equal. Nautamine, which is marketed for movement illness, incorporates Diphenhydramine Hcl, the lively ingredient in Benadryl.
U.S. drugs names: Zyrtec, Claritin
Energetic components: Cetirizine (Zyrtec), Loratadine (Claritin)
French drugs names for allergic reactions: Alairgix, Zyrtec, Clarityne
🎧 French vocab for allergic reactions:
⦿ I’m allergic to pollen: Je suis allergique au pollen.⦿ I can’t cease sneezing due to my allergic reactions: Je n’arrete pas d’eternuer à trigger de mes allergic reactions.⦿ Do you might have Clarityne for my allergy signs?: Est-ce que vous avez du Clarityne pour les allergic reactions ?
You probably have itchy, watery eyes and may’t cease sneezing, you’ll be glad to know that France has the manufacturers Claritin and Zyrtec. The 2 model names have popped up lately so you’ll be able to ask for them straight (Claritin is spelled Clarityne in France) in most pharmacies to deal with allergic rhinitis, dermatitis, and urticaria.
What you may see extra generally is the Zyrtec equal in France referred to as Alairgix. It has 10 mg of cetirizine identical to Zyrtec does. You may as well get the generic cetirizine and loratadine in France.
U.S. treatment title: Lactaid drugs
Energetic ingredient: Lactase enzyme
French drugs title for lactose intolerance: Vitaflor Lactase
🎧 French vocab for lactose intolerance:
⦿ I’m lactose illiberal: Je suis intolérant(e) au lactose.⦿ I don’t digest dairy merchandise effectively: Je ne digère pas bien les produits laitiers.⦿ Do you might have lactase enzyme drugs?: Est-ce que vous avez des comprimés d’enzymes lactase ?
You’d assume that in a land that’s identified for its cheese that you simply’d discover Lactaid drugs just about in all places, however that’s not the case. I typically should organize them at my pharmacy as a result of they aren’t in inventory. I’ve even needed to clarify intimately what they’re for.
It stunned me to study that lactaid drugs in France aren’t an excellent widespread merchandise. Individuals are lactose illiberal, however I really feel just like the lactase enzyme drugs are means much less mainstream in France and never all pharmacy workers are conversant in them.
And get this, French lactose-intolerance drugs my pharmacist ordered for me have been about 2.5 instances the worth of the U.S. equal (and that’s with the euro at an all-time low towards the USD!). DOH!
A field of 60 Lactaid drugs was $11.99 at Walgreen’s in Florida and a field of the French equal lactase enzyme drugs was 26€. Loopy costly! I believe there could be cheaper ones on the market, so I’ll should maintain an eye fixed out.
One factor to notice is that there are lots of totally different manufacturers and formulations for this drugs in France, so be sure you’re evaluating apples to apples or the French one won’t be just right for you the best way the U.S. model does.
French pharmacy tricks to know earlier than you go
–Needless to say when you see a health care provider who prescribes you treatment — both over-the-counter or one which requires a prescription — you’ll pay the French worth, whilst a customer. You received’t be reimbursed any a part of it by the French authorities like French residents and residents are because you aren’t paying into the system, however the full worth of meds or a health care provider’s go to, even with out reimbursement, is usually lower than what you’d pay in america. I made an entire video the place I went behind the scenes at a busy French pharmacy, so test it out for extra.
–In case you’re uncertain about whether or not or not a French pharmacy has your treatment, be aware the lively ingredient and the pharmacist can look it up for you. You may as well convey your precise U.S. treatment and/or prescription and the pharmacist will help you look it up that means.
—Pharmacy workers are there to assist, so lean on them for his or her experience. They do an awesome job! It’s typically finest to elucidate what’s unsuitable and listing out your signs so the pharmacist can then select a drugs that’s finest suited to no matter ailment you might have. After all, when you simply want some ibuprofen for a headache, undoubtedly simply ask for it. However when you’re undecided what could be finest, don’t assume twice about laying out your signs and asking for assist. I discover French pharmacies to be very hands-on on this regard.
–In case you don’t communicate French, remember the fact that most pharmacy workers don’t communicate conversational English and this goes double outdoors of main cities. That’s to not say that you simply received’t ever discover anybody who speaks English — you’ll, it’s simply not the norm like it’s in different European nations. The factor to recollect is to not count on the French to talk English. All the time begin any interplay with a bonjour and do your finest in French. I like to recommend utilizing a on-line translator to jot down down what you need to say earlier than you go.
—For many over-the-counter treatment, you’ll must method the register, wait in line, and communicate to one of many workers to get it and pay. Medicine is just bought at pharmacies in France and never grocery shops. Private care gadgets, skincare, and different parapharmacy gadgets like toothpaste and Band-Aids shall be on the cabinets so that you can seize by yourself, however for any kind of capsule or treatment, you’ll should ask for it. That is very totally different from how we store within the U.S. the place you’ll be able to simply decide up a field of Advil on the grocery store and be in your means on the self-checkout. In some bigger pharmacies, you may discover a number of medicines close to the checkout line like Maalox, however be able to ask for what you want and don’t count on a self-checkout line.
–Together with that, be prepared for the questions, “C’est pour vous ?” (Is it for you?) and “Est-ce que vous connaissez le medicament ?” (Are you aware the treatment?) In case you’re not conversant in the product, the pharmacist is completely happy to go over the best way to use it. They’ll even handwrite the treatment dosage directions on the aspect of the field for you.
–Have a bruise or swelling? Arnica gel, a homeopathic treatment, for any kind of bruising or swelling is a godsend. You will get it in gel and rollerball type for after the actual fact as soon as you have already got a bruise, in addition to homeopathic pellets for preventive care earlier than a surgical process. Whereas arnica is rising in popularity within the U.S., the French appear to like homeopathic cures and also you’ll discover lots of French homeopathic drugs choices on the pharmacy for nearly each ailment.
–In case you’re questioning, “Are pharmacies in France open on Sundays,” the reply is sure however typically just one is open in every city on Sundays and after hours. The on-call pharmacy, which is known as la pharmacie de garde, adjustments day by day so it’s not at all times the identical pharmacy that’s on-call after hours. In Paris, you’ll haven’t any drawback discovering a pharmacy open on Sundays, however in small cities, simply google the title of the city and “pharmacie de garde” to get the handle of the one which’s open.
Have you ever ever been sick in France? Hope my information to over-the-counter drugs in France and their American equivalents was useful and that you’ve got an awesome sickness-free journey!
For extra on French pharmacies, what to purchase in a French pharmacy, and the healthcare system in France, try these posts: Variations between French and American pharmacies, why French pharmacies rule, unusual French pharmacy merchandise, the perfect treatment for bug bites, what to learn about going to the physician in France, French vs. American physician variations, and French healthcare myths to cease believing.
***For extra France journey tricks to put together you on your journey, seize my France journey information priced at just some bucks!***
PIN my American medicines equivalents in France pharmacies put up:
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