Can I get over-the-counter antibiotics for chlamydia?

Reviewed by:
Angela DiLaura, NP
Clinical Informatics and Quality Manager
Last updated on December 3, 2021

If you’re dealing with a chlamydia infection, your doctor is most likely going to prescribe antibiotics.

So, couldn’t you skip the doctor’s appointment and just buy antibiotics over the counter?

Unfortunately, no, since this is an infection that will require oral antibiotics.

The good news is, your HealthTap doctor can help diagnose and treat chlamydia and save you time — the initial appointment can be done from the comfort of your home.

What is chlamydia?

Chlamydia (Chlamydia trachomatis) is a bacterial, sexually transmitted infection (STI). It’s mostly found in young women, but it can occur in both men and women in all age groups. 

It’s a relatively minor infection, but it can lead to more serious health problems — such as damage to a woman’s reproductive system — if left untreated.

In fact, many people don’t even know they have chlamydia until they’re tested. Signs and symptoms aren’t always obvious, and even when they occur, they're often mild and easy to overlook. 

Symptoms

Those that do show signs or symptoms typically experience genital pain and discharge from the vagina or penis. Other symptoms can include:

  • Pain when urinating.

  • Vaginal discharge in women.

  • Discharge from the penis in men.

  • Painful sexual intercourse in women.

  • Bleeding between periods and after sex in women.

  • Testicular pain in men.

Testing

Screening and diagnosis of chlamydia is relatively simple. Tests include:

  • A urine test looking for infection.

  • A swab test.

    • For women, your doctor takes a swab of the discharge from your vagina or cervix for culture or antigen testing for chlamydia.

    • For men, your doctor inserts a slim swab into the end of your penis to get a sample from the urethra.

It’s common for your doctor to recommend testing for other STIs at the same time. If you test positive for chlamydia, it’s possible you could have been exposed to other STIs as well.

Your HealthTap doctor can conduct an initial appointment with you online to address symptoms, and then order labs and tests to aid in a proper diagnosis. Keep in mind you may need to be seen in-person to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment for chlamydia (antibiotics)

Typically, your doctor will prescribe oral antibiotics to treat chlamydia — meaning, unfortunately, there’s no over-the-counter option.

We recommend scheduling an appointment with your primary care doctor today to assess signs and symptoms, determine a diagnosis, and figure out the best treatment for you. 

HealthTap Editors

HealthTap Editors

HealthTap articles are reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Visit https://www.healthtap.com/about-doctors/ to learn more and meet some of the medical editorial board members behind our blog. The information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. HealthTap is a virtual-first, affordable urgent- and primary-care clinic, providing top-quality physician care nationwide to Americans with or without insurance. Our proprietary, easy-to-use, and innovative apps and electronic medical record apply Silicon Valley standards to effectively engage consumers and doctors online to increase the equity, accessibility, and efficiency of ongoing medical care for consumers, providers, employers, and payers. In addition, with HealthTap, businesses can offer virtual primary care to employees for less than the cost of free coffee. HealthTap's US-based board-certified physicians are available throughout North America. For more information, visit www.healthtap.com.
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