Medicine in Turkey: Know how to find the things you need when you need them
This is not intended to provide medical advice just an understanding of American equivalents and how to find what you are looking for. For more information on our disclosures, please see the Disclaimers page.
Are you trying to learn more about finding medicine in Turkey? I got you covered.
This can be hard and a bit confusing when you don’t know the system.
Let me share with you a few tips I have learned during my time living here that will help you avoid some of the frustration and confusion.
Have you ever visited somewhere only to find out that it isn’t done the same way you’re used to and now your entire rhythm is thrown off?
Or maybe you simply can’t find what you need but you know where it is back home?
I had a similar experience when I came to Turkey. I love this place so much but it was definitely confusing when I got here.
Where do I find basic things I used the day to day? There is no big Walmart here or even a neighborhood Walmart where you can get everything in one place.
So how do we handle it? I will briefly give you an overview of what can be purchased and where and then we will spend the bulk talking about medicines.
All the major markets, A101, Sok, Mopas, BIM and so on will have groceries, a limited selection of personal care products, and cleaning products.
For personal care products and everyday makeup, you will go to places like Gratis, Rossman, and Watsons.
They have a pretty good selection and you can often find more natural products especially when it comes to hair.
If you need random items for your house/place you’re staying, check out what they call the milyoncu.
They are shops that carry a million different things and you can often find what you want.
Each one is a little different and carries different things but after visiting a couple you’re likely to find what you need.
There are sometimes bigger markets like the Carrefour hypermarket and the MMM or 5M Migros. These places are similar to a Super Target or Walmart Supercenter.
You will find more in one place but often will have to use a taxi (or your car if you rent/own a car) to get home.
These places don’t, however, have a pharmacy in them like stores in the States.
If you want medicine or medical things, you will typically have to go to a pharmacy, here called an eczane.
They will all have this logo followed by “Eczane”. It is pronounced “ejzanā”. Typically you’ll see something else on the sign and it is the location of the eczane.
Equivalent medicine in turkey
So how can you find the medicine you need now when visiting Turkey? Well, I will provide a few equivalents that I have found useful.
But I want to explain how you can find it yourself so you can always find what you need!
One of the medicines I used a lot, especially in the fall, is Mucinex. I really use all the allergy medicines but it is the one I didn’t think would be here.
You can see the chart below for equivalent Turkish counterparts.
|Zyrtec||Example of one you would need a prescription for. Because it is a 1st gen histamine and crosses the blood-brain barrier, prescriptions are req.|
|Benedryl||Rinogest & Dekoferin same pharmacological group, and Aferin same ingredients|
|Sudafed||Rinogest & Dekoferin same pharmacological group, Aferin same ingredients|
With this page, you can look at what is available for specific treatments. For instance, say you have allergies or swelling, or sinusitis, you can select that treatment and see the available medicines in Turkey.
With this page, you can look up specific medicine and see its equivalent here in Turkey. It doesn’t tell you if you need a prescription or not just that it is available.
Something to note about prescriptions here is that most things don’t require a prescription. For instance, blood pressure medicine can be purchased without one.
Antibiotics can be purchased without one. Some pain pills and more serious medications require a prescription but more more can be purchased over the counter here.
Talk with a pharmacist
It is always an option to talk to the pharmacist. If you find a grumpy one, just try another pharmacy because generally, Turks are extremely helpful!
They want to make sure you are getting what you need.
There have been a few times when I simply used Google Translate because I wasn’t ready for the conversation that needed to happen.
If you can show them what you want, they can help you get what you need. I have found Pharmacists to be quite helpful here.
I hope this blog helps you understand the system a little more and walk away with a few tips about how to get medicine in Turkey on your next visit…but let’s hope you don’t need it.
Make sure you read the Packing Travel Hacks and How to Pack your Carry-on so you don’t lose your medicine.