The Common Over-The-Counter Medicine Tourists Won't Find Anywhere In Italy

Whether your body aches after surviving a long-haul flight or you've come down with a fever on vacation, over-the-counter remedies can help you recover quickly. However, drugstore pain relievers look different in Italy compared to the U.S., according to individuals familiar with the European destination. TikToker @chiara_in_italy, an American living in Italy, shared in a video that she bought Advil during a trip back to the States, as the boot-shaped nation doesn't stock the popular brand.


American snacks I can't get in Italy ❤️🇮🇹🇺🇸 I love my life in Italy and Italian food, but sometimes you just need to bring back some things you miss from childhood 😂 What are your favorite things from the US? 🫶🏼 #italyvsusa #italianamerican #americansabroad #americansinitaly #cucinaamericana #expatsinitaly

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Standard Advil contains ibuprofen, an ingredient that you can find in Italy, @chiara_in_italy noted. In fact, Italian pharmacies offer ibuprofen in the same dosage and strength as the Advil you'd buy in the U.S. Still, you might not find the range of ibuprofen-based products that you can get in a CVS or Walgreens. If Advil is your go-to brand, or if you rely on a special formulation such as Advil PM or Advil Cold and Sinus, stock up before you travel to Italy (and be sure to follow local laws in Italy and the European Union when traveling with your medication!).

Italian alternatives to American Advil

If you go to an Italian pharmacy looking for familiar ibuprofen brands, you might walk out empty-handed. But if you know what to look for at the local farmacia, you'll get what you need much more easily. First, be aware that painkillers and other non-prescription medicines are often kept behind the counter, so don't get discouraged if you don't see them on a shelf. Simply tell the pharmacist what item you're looking for and they'll grab it for you.

Chances are they won't know what Advil is, but they'll have another ibuprofen product on hand. Some examples of Advil alternatives include the brands Moment, Nurofen, and Brufen. Specify if you need the medicine for an adult or a child, and the pharmacist will provide the proper strength.

Liquid capsules, which @chiara_in_italy purchased in the U.S., aren't as common in Italy, though you can find replacements. For instance, you can ask for MomentAct Liquid Ibuprofen packs or MomentAct molli (soft) capsules. Keep in mind that each package tends to contain fewer doses than large American bottles, and they'll likely be priced higher than what you'd pay in the States.

Treat your ailments the traditional Italian way

Sometimes, an ache or pain is just too bad and warrants a couple of ibuprofen capsules to keep under control. But if you experience milder ailments while in Italy, why not try some local natural remedies to start feeling better? If you notice a headache after drinking a little too much of Italy's iconic limoncello drink, head to a grocery store or vegetable stand and pick up some potatoes. Slice them, lie down, and place the potato pieces on your forehead and temples. There's little scientific evidence that the method works, but some locals swear by it, and you'll at least feel a little more Italian by giving it a shot.

If you experience cold symptoms, try a natural herbal tea. Steep your beverage using herbs found in most Italian kitchens: thyme, sage, and rosemary, for example. Content creator @AnnalisaJ also shared a tea recipe from her Italian grandmother using chamomile, oregano oil, raw honey, and lemon juice. Hot herbal teas are thought to soothe cold symptoms, such as a sore throat and congestion.

Finally, take a cue from Italian culture when you experience pain or illness and allow yourself to rest. Many people in Italy live life slowly, taking time to nap in the afternoons or wind down in the evenings. Even if you're on vacation, give yourself a chance to rest and recover, rather than packing your travel itinerary with tons of activities.