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Japan With Kids - Forums: Shopping in Japan: Medicine
By Gaijinmom on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 7:17 am:

Help! Both my kids have runny, stuffy noses and watery eyes. Is Benadryl sold here in Japan? What does the package look like? Anyone know the Japanese equivalent for cold medications with anti-histamines?

By Cornelia on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 11:55 am:

I don't think they have Benadryl. I stock up on it when I am back in the USA. I can spare you some if you have time to pick some up. I'm on my way over to Ichigaya area now for work. But if you can meet somehow (in central Tokyo) call me at 03-3944-9611.
The over the counter remedies here are very expensive I think and not very strong. I always get meds straight from the hospital/clinic/doctor after a visit there (we have NHI), but I avoid going to the doctor just because of the time loss.

By Jellund on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 12:43 pm:

I dont know if this is any use but I have an unopened box of "Tylenol Infants Drops", the box says it is a fever reducer and pain reliver but says it is not for kids under 2 on the side of the box. I bought this when I was pregnant thinking it would be a good thing to have but it expires next month and my boy is not even 1.5years yet! So if you want it, I can send it to you COD, just email me your address.

When my boy has had colds I have used a Japanese medicine called Arupen, written in Katakana. ƒAƒ‹‚Ψƒ“BIt says it is a childrens cold syrup and seems to work wonderfully. I have also had a cold syrup prescribed from the Dr but it smelt and looked the same as the Arupen one so now I just use that instead of going to the Dr. If you want, I can try and upload a photo of the bottle, I dont have the box anymore.

By Jellund on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 12:44 pm:
I just checked again, it expires in April, not next month.

By Jellund on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 12:48 pm:
Apologies for yet another post but I just found a photo online of the Arupen medicine, there are 3 flavours, chocolate, strawberry and peach.

By Gaijinmom on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 4:01 pm:

Dear Jellund and Cornelia, Thanks very much for your kind offers!!! I also try to stock up on medications when I'm in the States, but I somehow overlooked Benadryl. I've got tons of Sinutab but that doesn't work with watery/itchy eyes. I will try to find the Arupen medicine (the photos really help!) at a pharmacy near me. Thanks again for your generosity.

By Bethan Hutton on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 7:17 pm:

One thing to watch out for in Japanese children's cold remedies is caffeine - I bought one brand a few years ago (can't remember which one, it could have been arupen) and wondered why my son wouldn't go to sleep even though it helped a bit with the runny nose. Then I read the ingredients and discovered that the medicine also contained caffeine.

It's worth checking the ingredient list, or getting someone else to check if you can't read Japanese. Many pharmacists also speak a fair amount of English as a result of their studies, or you could just try asking "ka-fe-in haite imasu ka?" in the pharmacy.

By Kit on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 8:43 pm:

To add to Bethan's note, I've
found that most brands of
Japanese cough syrup for
children have caffeine in them,
and one (I think it is called
Benalyn, or something like
that) has codeine in it. And,
hoping to stock up on brands I
knew, I tried to send pediatric
Robitussin DM to myself
through the mail, and had it
confiscated by postal
customs. Apparently it has
some ingredient (they were
not at liberty to divulge, they
said) not approved by the
government. If you plan to do
the same, it might be wise to
check first. A surprise around
every turn!

By Bethan Hutton on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 10:35 am:

I thought codeine was banned in Japan? At least, you are not allowed to bring it into the country, and the same goes for medicines with pseudoephedrine, a kind of stimulant found in quite a lot of over-the-counter cold remedies in the UK, US etc. That might have been the problem with robitussin. There are some details about what is allowed on the US embassy website here:

Of course, if you are actually bringing medicine into the country in your suitcase, no one may notice whether it contains banned substances, but I'm not sure what happens if they find it (I was prescribed codeine for a bad cough once, and brought it back from Australia with no problems - I didn't hear that it was illegal until later), and if you are getting it by mail it may well be confiscated.

By Kit on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 11:16 pm:

Yes, codeine is banned in Japan, but that may be a relatively recent decision. In the past, I've had dentists here ask me if I'm allergic to it (I am, so I'm delighted they asked!). Benylin (I checked the spelling finally!) is still available in some places (Chiba, two weeks ago) and contains the following:

Codeine phosphate, diphenhydramine hydrochloribde, menthol.

I'm guessing it will disappear eventually, but I was offered this by a local pediatrician when my son was about five -- what a surprise when I found out the ingredients! I think it is an imported brand.

Along the lines of your discussion, Bethan, a lot of the so-called health-drinks or vitamin drinks are also loaded with caffeine; if anyone's trying to avoid the stuff (which I'm sort of addicted to), watch those little drinks!

By Hamand Vaid on Wednesday, March 29, 2006 - 10:41 pm:

So everywhere I've looked online and in books says "Paracetamol is hard to find in Japan"... but nobody is saying where one CAN obtain it! Allergic to nurofen and aspirin, so paracetamol is the only safe drug. Any suggestions on where I can buy some please?
Thank you so much.

By Richard Mor on Wednesday, March 29, 2006 - 11:25 pm:

You can buy it from here with a credit card online in Japan (online pharmacy). If you need further help, please email me at: tokyoeditor @

By Jayne on Monday, April 3, 2006 - 5:08 pm:

Paracetamol as it's known in the Uk has the generic name of acetaminophen. It's marketed as Tylenol in the US. You can often find Tylenol in regular Japanese pharmacies. If not then ask the doctor for acetaminophen. I've been given it in Japan for a fever but it came in 100mg tablets whereas the UK paracetamol is in 500mg tablets. I think the US Tylenol is 350mg in one tablet but I don't know about the one sold in Japan. Read the label.