If you are unfamiliar with the various treatment options for irritable bowel syndrome then check out our self-help page. Remember to always discuss over-the-counter treatment with your local pharmacist so they can check if it is suitable for your condition and safe for you to take.

The following IBS treatments are available over the counter from your pharmacist


What are antispasmodics?

Antispasmodics work by helping to relax the muscles in your digestive system and reduce abdominal pain or cramps. They have few side effects including occasional heartburn and irritation on the skin around the bottom.

Below is a list of antispasmodics you could obtain without a prescription from your local pharmacy.

Active ingredient Brand
Hyoscine ButylbromideBuscopan Cramps
  Buscopan IBS Relief
Peppermint Oil Colpermin IBS relief
  Mintec 0.2ml gastro-resistant capsules

Anti-motility drugs

What are anti-motility drugs?

If you have diarrhea or loose stool as a result of IBS, you may benefit from an anti-motility drug. These work by slowing contractions of the muscles in the bowel, which slows down the speed at which food passes through your gut. It therefore allows more time for your stools to harden and form.

Loperamide is a commonly used drug for this purpose, which you could obtain without a prescription from your local pharmacy. Side effects can include stomach cramps, bloating, dizziness, drowsiness and rashes.

Active ingredient Brand
Loperamide Immodium
  Care Loperamide hydrochloride capsules 2mg


What are laxatives?

Laxatives are a type of medication that can help you empty your bowels if you are having trouble going to the toilet.

It is recommended that you start with a low dose and increase as necessary of the next few days. If you are unable to relieve constipation symptoms with laxatives and dietary changes, it is important to seek advice from your GP.

Below are list of laxatives that you can obtain from your pharmacy without a prescription.

Bulk forming laxatives

Bulk-forming laxatives are usually recommended for people with IBS related constipation. They make your stools softer, which results in them being easier to pass. It is important to drink plenty of fluids whilst taking them to avoid the laxative causing an obstruction in your gut.

Active ingredient Brand
Ispaghula Husk Fybogel

Osmotic laxatives

These work by increasing the amount of water in your bowels resulting in your stool becomes softer and easier to pass.

Active ingredient Brand
Lactulose Lactulose solution or syrup

Stimulant laxatives

These work by speeding up the movement of your bowels by stimulating the nerves that control the muscles lining your gut.

Active ingredient Brand
Sennosides Care Senna Laxative tablets
Ex-Lax Senna
Senokot max strength
Potter’s Senna tablets
Senokot dual relief
Bisacodyl Dulcolax
Macrogol Movicol

Stool softener laxatives

These work by increasing the fluid content of hard, dry stools, making them easier to pass

Active ingredient Brand
Sodium picosulfate Dulcolax Pico liquid

Over-the-counter treatments listed on this page are available at your local pharmacy. Find your closest pharmacy below.