"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Which OTC health products are the perfect? New report claims to know

March 28, 2024 – If you've been to a drugstore or shopped online recently, : the number and number of over-the-counter health products in the marketplace – from cough syrups to anti-wrinkle creams – may be overwhelming. Which one to decide on and which one to avoid? Which ones work best?

A brand new report released today says: US News and World Report tried to reply these questions. The publication partnered with Harris Poll for the second yr in a row to supply the report, which rates products in 132 categories based on input from pharmacists and dermatologists. Consumers can access it for free.

According to Shanley Chien, health editor at large, the list is solid US News. It includes greater than 900 brands in 132 product categories. Categories include pimples treatments, sunscreens, sleep aids, blood pressure monitors and cough medicines.

While many products received good reviews, Nature Made is the brand with essentially the most No. 1 products this yr, followed by CeraVe and Neutrogena. The company with essentially the most #1 products is Kenvue (formerly a division of Johnson & Johnson), followed by Haleon (Sensodyne, Advil, Centrum) and Parmavite LLC (Nature Made).

How do I exploit the list? “It really depends on individual needs,” Chien said. For example, for those who are in search of the perfect multivitamin in your child, you'll discover suggestions within the list. (Flintstones took first place.) It depends upon the symptoms and what you're attempting to treat, she said.


For the rankings US News and Harris surveyed 354 pharmacists and 122 dermatologists practicing within the United States in February.

When selecting the perfect brands, respondents considered availability, accessibility, cost, affordability, safety, effectiveness and quality. For example, Chien said many experts said they ranked some migraine medications higher than others because they were each effective and more accessible – and that accessibility was essential for those with migraines attempting to get back on their schedule.

Both pharmacists and dermatologists chosen the highest three brands in each assigned product category. A brand with the best rank received 5 points, second place received 3 and third place received 1. A brand with no rank received no points. The brands were ranked based on overall points.

No compensation or incentives were provided to participants. Although the pharmacists and dermatologists indicated how familiar they were with the categories they were asked to judge, financial ties to corporations weren't recorded. Accordingly, no conflicts of interest were mentioned in any of the answers US News.

The winners

The quite a few products voted #1 by pharmacists in various categories include:

  • Arthritis creams: Voltaren
  • Arthritis Pain Relief: Aleve
  • Back pain: Motrin
  • Blood pressure monitors: Omron
  • Treatment of burns: Neosporin
  • Cough medicine for kids: Delsym for kids
  • Multivitamins for kids: Flint
  • Decongestants (oral): Sudafed (pseudoephedrine)
  • Anti-diarrhea remedies: Imodium
  • Fish oil/omega-3 supplements: Made by nature
  • Multivitamins for men: center
  • Multivitamins for ladies: One a day
  • Sprays for sore throats: Chloraseptic

Among the various products reviewed by dermatologists and ranked #1:

  • Sunscreen for babies: Aveeno baby
  • Baby wipes: Aveeno
  • Dandruff shampoos: Head and shoulders
  • Diaper rash: Desitin
  • Eye creams (anti-wrinkle): La Roche Posay
  • Facial moisturizers: CeraVe
  • Hand creams: Neutrogena
  • Moisturizers with sun protection factor, night creams: CeraVe
  • Sunscreen (face): EltaMD
  • Wrinkle creams: Neutrogena


A pharmacist and two dermatologists reviewed the brand new report for WebMD and had some additional suggestions on usage and further actions needed to seek out effective products.

The experts see a necessity for guidance.

“The variety of products available from different manufacturers for similar indications can be overwhelming and difficult for consumers to navigate,” said Melody Berg, PharmD, editorial director for patient medication information at ASHP (the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists). “While this list is intended to help make this decision more manageable, it cannot replace the medical expertise of a pharmacist or other health care provider.”

In addition to encouraging people to confer with their pharmacist, she emphasized the importance of knowing the lively ingredient in a product, not only the brand name.

She suggested using the brand new report “as a starting point for discussion” with the pharmacist. The ASHP patient medication website Safe medications also provides valid information on OTC products, she said.

When choosing OTC products, individual needs and private characteristics should be taken under consideration, said John Barbieri, MD, Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Advanced Acne Therapeutics Clinic at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. “When it comes to skin care, it's important to consider which ingredients and formulations make the most sense for a person's skin type and skin care goals,” he said.

He also encourages people to take into consideration a comprehensive skincare routine and not only give attention to individual products.

When it involves skincare products, “I would look for products that are dermatologist-approved or recommended,” said Mamina Turegano, MD, a New Orleans dermatologist. “These are often brands that do thorough research behind the products and their ingredients.”

These products often avoid using fragrances and dyes, which is problematic for some, she said.

Turegano has been a consultant for Johnson & Johnson, L'Oreal, Estee Lauder and Dermavent.