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The Flexible Spending Account Administration Solution

Over-the-counter medications

Q.  Which  OVER-THE-COUNTER MEDICATIONS are eligible for reimbursement from my Healthcare spending account?


A.  Due to legislative changes, most over-the-counter (OTC) drugs will not be eligible for reimbursement after Dec. 31, 2010, unless you can provide proof of a doctor's prescription.


Q.  Which OVER-THE-COUNTER MEDICATIONS are eligible for flex-plan reimbursement prior to Dec. 31, 2010?

A.  The IRS defines eligible Over-The-Counter Drugs as pain relievers, antacids, cold remedies and allergy medication.  To help define each of the categories, we have established a list of examples.

(This is not an all-inclusive list.)

This material is intended solely for information and education.  It is not to be used as the basis for legal or tax advice.  For advice on your situation, you must seek out and rely on the counsel of your own attorneys or tax advisors.


OTC Drugs Used Primarily for Medical Care.  These are reimbursable only with a third-party receipt.  A health care provider recommendation is not required. 

Type of Drug:

Pain relievers  (Advil, Aleve, Motrin, Bayer, Excedrin, Tylenol, Nuprin)        

Diaper rash ointment  (Desitin, Balmax)

Liniments  (BenGay, Tiger Balm, Flexall, Absorbine Junior)

Menstrual cycle medication  (Midol, Pamprin, Premysyn PM)

Migraine  (Advil Migraine, Excedrin Migraine, Motrin Migraine)

Toothache and teething pain relievers  (Orajel, Little Teethers)

Anti-itch lotions and creams  (Bactine, Cortaid, Hydrocortisone, Calamine Lotion,
Benadryl Cream, Lanacort, Lamisil AT, Micatin)

Allergy prevention & treatment  (Benadryl, Sudafed, Actifed, Claritin)

Antihistamines (Actidil, Actifed, Allerest, Benadryl, Claritin, Chlor-Trimeton, Contac, Dimetapp, Drixoral)

Anti-fungal  (Lamisil AT, Lotramin AF, Micatin)

Asthma  (Primatene Mist)

Eye drops for allergy/cold relief  (Ocu-Hist, Clear Eyes, Visine)

Cold sore/fever blister  (Abreva Cream, Blistex, Carmex)

Cough suppressants  (Robitussin, Vicks 44, Chloraseptic)

Decongestant/nasal decongestant/cold remedies  (Advil Cold and Sinus, Afrin, Aleve Cold, Children's Advil Cold, Duration, Dristan, Neo-Synephrine, Nyquil, Tylenol Cold and Flu, Allerest, Alka Seltzer)

Antacids and acid reducers  (Gas-X, Maaloz, Mylanta, Tums, Rolaids, Pepsid AC, Prilosec OTC, Tagamet HB, Zantac 75)

Antidiarrhea and laxatives  (Ex-Lax, Pepto-Bismol, Imodium A.D., Kaopectate)

Condoms and other contraceptive devices  (Trojans, VGF Film, Delfen Contraceptive Foam)

Contact lens solution  (Bausch & Lomb, Boston, Opti-free, Allergan, Renu)

First aid supplies  (Ace Bandages, Band-aids, Bandage Tape, Thermometers, Medical Gloves, Rubbing Alcohol)

Medical products and devices  (HIV Test, Cholesterol Test, Diabetic Supplies)

Motion sickness medicine  (Dramamine, Marizine)

Pediculicide (head lice)  (Nix, RID)

Pregnancy test or ovulation test kits  (Clear Blue Easy, EPT, Clear Plan, First Response)

Smoking cessation aids  (Nicotine Gum, Nicorette, Nicoderm CQ, Nicotrol)

Wart removal medication  (Tinamed, Compound W)

Dual Purpose OTC Drugs.  These require a third-party receipt and a note from a health care provider listing the diagnosis of the medical condition and the OTC drug recommendation:

Fiber supplements such as Benefiber and Metamucil

Glucosamine/chondrotin for arthritis of other medical condition (not reimbursable if taken for overall joint health)

Herbal supplements used to treat a specific disease such as St. John's Wort for depression

Hormone therapy drugs



Vitamins are NOT an eligible expense, unless prescribed by a physician to treat a specific medical condition. (i.e. iron to treat, not prevent, anemia; calcium supplements to treat, not prevent, osteoporosis).  A doctor's note detailing the specific medical condition is required for reimbursement.

Weight loss/dietary supplements must be for a specific medical condition such as obesity

Incontinence supplies such as Depends

Blood pressure monitor, glucose tester



OTC Items Not Reimbursable.  These OTC drugs or other products are not considered medical care and are not reimbursable through a flexible spending plan. 
Chapstick or lip balm
Cotton balls
Face creams, moisturizers, eye creams and wrinkle reducers
Feminine hygiene products such as tampons and maxi pads
Food items (i.e. Slim Fast)
Hair removal treatments and waxes
Mouth washes, antiseptics and oral anesthetics
Shaving cream and razors
Teeth whitening kits and powders
Vitamins taken to improve overall-health
Electric toothbrush or Waterpik