30 Most Commonly Prescribed Children’s Medications

Most Prescribed Drugs for Kids and Teens

This list of the most prescribed drugs for children and teens can help you understand the medicines your pediatrician may recommend for your kids. In a study of pediatric medicine trends over an eight year period, antibiotics were prescribed the most for kids. However, this declined over time and prescriptions for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder increased.

This article explores the most common prescription medications for children and teens. It will also explain the concerns that each medication may treat.



Person holding red pills and glass of water.

Antoine Arraou / Getty Images

This medication is a commonly prescribed antibiotic for kids. Amoxil (amoxicillin) is typically inexpensive and is generally well tolerated.

It may be used to treat bacterial infections such as strep throat, childhood pneumonia, ear infections, and sinus infections.



Zithromax (azithromycin) is available as a generic antibiotic and may be referred to as a Z-PAK. It is often prescribed for ear infections.



Albuterol is a type of medication used to help with asthma and other breathing issues. It is available as a nebulizer, which turns medicine into a mist that you breathe in. It is also available as a metered dose inhaler, which outputs a specific amount of medicine. The syrup form of albuterol is rarely used.

Albuterol nebulizer solution is an inexpensive medication. Albuterol asthma inhalers tend to be more expensive. However, there is a Ventolin HFA inhaler that tends to be a less expensive inhaler option.



Augmentin combines amoxicillin and clavulanate, which helps overcome resistant bacteria. It is commonly used to treat ear infections, sinus infections, pneumonia, infected bites, and oral infections.



Omnicef (cefdinir) is a type of antibiotic called a cephalosporin that is commonly used to treat sinus infections, ear infections, and pneumonia. Cefdinir is not usually considered to be a first-line treatment.

In general, cefdinir is a little more expensive than some other antibiotics.



Keflex (cephalexin) is an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections including:

  • Strep throat
  • Pneumonia
  • Cellulitis, a bacterial infection in deeper layers of the skin
  • Impetigo, a skin infection that causes sores
  • Bone and joint infections

It is available as an inexpensive generic.



Fluticasone is a steroid that is the main ingredient in many different medications including:

  • Generic Flonase nasal spray, an allergy medication
  • Flovent MDI, a medication that helps with asthma
  • Generic Cutivate cream and ointment, the only FDA-approved topical steroid treatment for children experiencing itchy skin

These medications may be used to treat kids with conditions like eczema, allergies, and asthma.


Prednisolone Sodium Phosphate

Available in both a 25 milligram/5 milliliter and 15 milligram/5 milliliter syrup, prednisolone is a liquid steroid that is commonly used to treat inflammatory conditions like:

  • Asthma
  • Poison ivy reactions
  • Croup, a barking cough caused by throat swelling


Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is commonly used to treat fever, pain, and inflammation in children. Although available over the counter as Motrin and Advil, there are also prescription-strength formulations of it.


Singulair (Montelukast Sodium)

Singulair (montelukast sodium) is available as a generic and is approved to prevent and treat:



Bactrim or Septra (trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole) is an antibiotic that is most commonly used to treat urinary tract infections, which are infections in the kidney, bladder, and/or urethra.

It is also used to treat community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections (MRSA), which are often skin infections. However, clindamycin may be a more effective option for children.


Tylenol #3

Tylenol #3 (codeine phosphate/acetaminophen) is a narcotic pain reliever with Tylenol (acetaminophen). The FDA warns that codeine should only be used when the benefits will outweigh the risks. Some risks include unusual sleepiness, confusion, and shallow breathing.



Under the brand names of Vicodin, Lortab, and Norco, hydrocodone bitartrate/acetaminophen is a narcotic pain reliever with Tylenol (acetaminophen). It is stronger than codeine.



Bactroban (mupirocin) is a topical antibiotic that is often prescribed to treat bacterial skin infections, such as impetigo. Although mupirocin cream and ointment are both available as generics, the ointment tends to be less expensive.



Some parents may be familiar with Nystatin, an antifungal medication that is used to treat yeast infections, including thrush and candidal diaper rashes.



Methylphenidate is the generic name for a class of stimulants that are used to treat children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Medications include Ritalin, Concerta, Daytrana, Methylin, and Metadate. Prices for methylphenidate products can vary.


Cough and Cold Combinations

Dextromethorphan/phenylephrine/chlorpheniramine is a combination cough and cold medication, with:

  • A cough suppressant, which blocks your urge to cough
  • A decongestant, which decreases airway swelling so it's easier to breathe
  • An antihistamine, which helps with allergy symptoms

Keep in mind that experts warn against using these types of cough and cold medicines in children under the age of 6. Instead, try to use age-appropriate medicines that target your child's symptoms.

For example, don't use a combination cough and cold syrup if your child just needs a decongestant.



Mometasone is a corticosteroid used for allergies. It is the active ingredient in:

  • Nasonex nasal spray, which is used to treat seasonal and year-round allergies
  • Elocon cream and ointment, which is used to treat skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis
  • Asmanex Twisthaler, which is used to treat asthma


Another steroid, triamcinolone is the active ingredient in:

  • Nasacort AQ nasal spray, which is used to treat seasonal allergies and is available as a generic and over-the-counter medicine
  • Triamcinolone acetonide cream and ointment, which is used to treat eczema flares and other skin rashes


Prednisone is used to treat a number of inflammatory conditions in children, such as asthma, poison ivy reactions, and croup. It is commonly used in small dosages for short periods of time.


Sodium Fluoride

For children who don't have access to tap water with the mineral fluoride in it, fluoride supplements can be an important way to keep their teeth healthy and prevent dental caries.


Multivitamins With Fluoride

If needed, children can take a multivitamin with fluoride. In addition to fluoride, these may include iron, as well as vitamin A, D, and C.



Adderall and Adderall XR are the brand names for this type of stimulant used to treat ADHD. Generic versions of intermediate-release Adderall and extended-release Adderall XR are available.



Hydrocortisone is a low-strength topical steroid that is available as an ointment, cream, lotion, and gel. It is used to treat skin rashes, bites, and stings.



Budesonide is a steroid that is available as Pulmicort Respules (generic), Pulmicort Flexhaler, and Rhinocort nasal spray. Rhinocort nasal spray is available over the counter. Budesonide is used to treat seasonal allergies, asthma, and other inflammatory conditions.



Ciprodex is the brand name for this antibiotic/steroid combination. It is often used to treat swimmer's ear and middle ear infections in kids with a perforated ​eardrum or ear tubes.



Available as suppositories, tablets, and as a syrup, Phenergan (promethazine) can be used to help with nausea and vomiting.

Phenergan has a black box warning as it can slow breathing and lead to death in children ages 2 and younger. This has led some pediatricians to prescribe Zofran instead.



Prednisolone is a liquid steroid that is commonly used to treat asthma flare-ups, eye irritation, poison ivy reactions, croup, and other inflammatory conditions.



Also simply called A/B otic drops, these ear drops can help with the pain and discomfort that may accompany an ear infection.

Not FDA-Approved

Most A/B otic drops were not FDA-approved and the FDA announced enforcement actions against manufacturers in 2015 in order to keep the public safe.



Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine) is the brand name for this stimulant that is used to treat ADHD. It is not available as a generic.


Knowing about the most commonly prescribed children's medications may help you if your child is given a prescription. Be sure to mention if your child has any allergies or sensitivities when speaking with their pediatrician.

10 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  7. Tubert-Jeannin S, Auclair C, Amsallem E, et al. Fluoride supplements (tablets, drops, lozenges or chewing gums) for preventing dental caries in childrenCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2011. doi:10.1002/14651858.cd007592.pub2

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By Vincent Iannelli, MD
 Vincent Iannelli, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician and fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Iannelli has cared for children for more than 20 years.