When you’re trying to find a sneeze suppressant or decongestant, save these potential side impacts in mind

COVID-19 has dominated the news for months, but colds and also other respiratory viruses can not use disappeared. In addition to the pandemic, cold and flu season is approaching. “What friend can certainly expect is much more colds and also flu 보다 last year,” claims David Cutler, MD, a family members medicine medical professional at Providence Saint John’s Health center in Santa Monica, California.

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So, you might want to start thinking about the medications to act cold symptoms and also other respiratory ailments. Yet be cautious about potential cold and also flu medication interactions due to the fact that you might not establish that particular drugs don’t mix well. 

According come the U.S. Food and also Drug administration (FDA), a drug-drug interaction occurs once two or an ext medications communicate with every other.

One very common type of drug-drug communication is a cold medicine interaction. This can happen when you take it a cold or flu medication the interferes through the activity of an additional medicine that you’re taking, or when you take multiple drugs that cause side impacts when combined. Some products contain one or two energetic ingredients, where others contain three or four. This is why it’s essential to know each ingredient.

Common ingredient in many cold and also flu medications

The next time she shopping for a cold-and-flu medication because that yourself, take a good long look in ~ the perform of ingredients. (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends versus giving kids younger 보다 4 over-the-counter cold and also cough medications, i beg your pardon contain the ingredient below, except for paracetamol or ibuprofen for fever and also pain.) 

Although the specific combination of ingredient will differ from product to product, common ingredients in over-the-counter medications include:


Commonly known by that is brand name, Tylenol, acetaminophen is a ache reliever and also reduces fever. 

See acetaminophen interactions here.

Chlorpheniramine maleate

Chlorpheniramine is one antihistamine that reduces cold and allergy symptoms and also can be discovered in OTC medicines such together Chlor-Trimeton and Chlor-Tabs.

See chlorpheniramine interaction here.


Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine the will address your runny nose, sneezing, and itchy, watery eyes. That is the generic surname for Benadryl allergy medicine.

See diphenhydramine interactions here.


This ingredient, i m sorry belongs come a course of drugs known as antitussives, helps suppress her cough. Friend can uncover it in OTC commodities like Delsym, Robitussin, Dayquil Complete, Tylenol Cold Multi Symptom formulations, and others. 

See dextromethorphan interaction here.


Guaifenesin is one expectorant—that is, that thins and also loosens rubber to do it easier to cough up and out of your body. It does no decrease the quantity of secretions, just makes them thinner. That the generic form of Mucinex and is a ingredient in DayQuil Complete, and also Robitussin serious Multi-Symptom sneeze Cold and also Flu.

See guaifenesin interactions here.


This ingredient relieves nasal congestion and also sinus congestion and pain. It have the right to be discovered in Sudafed PE (not just plain Sudafed, together that has pseudoephedrine), NyQuil Severe, and also other similar OTC products. 

See phenylephrine interactions here.


Pseudoephedrine is another common nasal decongestant that deserve to be discovered in assets like Chlor Trimeton sleep Decongestant and various Sudafed formulations.

See pseudoephedrine interaction here.

Watch the end for doubling up 

When you feeling a cold coming on, your very first instinct may be to purchase some medicine to attend to your symptoms. Stop and read the brand on every package prior to you to buy anything. Plenty of popular cold and flu medications do contain an ext than one energetic ingredient in an effort to control multiple symptom at once. In theory, that need to simplify the process. 

“However, occasionally this convenience is confusing because it might seem favor you require two separate medicines to covering all your symptoms,” says Danielle Carter, MD, a family members physician at Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside in Jacksonville, Florida, and new physician member of the American Academy of family members Physicians board of Directors. “Unfortunately, this can conveniently lead come accidentally ‘doubling up’ on particular ingredients the can reason side impacts that can range from uncomfortable come dangerous.”

For example, think about the opportunity of a Nyquil interaction. Here’s exactly how that might happen: you can pick increase a product prefer Nyquil, Dayquil, or Theraflu, every one of which save on computer acetaminophen, in enhancement to various other ingredients. Yet if you’re already taking Tylenol, you could wind up through a dual dose of acetaminophen. That could lead to some side results like cramping, lose of appetite, nausea, and stomach pain. “So the is vital to consult the label before buying or acquisition anything,” Dr. Cutler adds. 

Other potential interaction to consider

It’s not just cold medicine interactions that you must be cautious about. Think about all medications, including both OTC and also prescription (and various other treatments) that you room taking. Interactions deserve to occur in between them and also any cold and flu medicine you take. Because that example, some interactions take place if you incorporate phenylephrine and guaifenesin with other meds.

So, that a good rule of thumb to check out the potential interaction of any type of medication that you’re taking or setup to take. “Before acquisition anything over the counter, make sure your doctor or pharmacist is mindful of every the drugs you’re taking,” says functional medicine practitioner Christine Manukyan, Pharm.D. “For example, someone v recent inner bleeding as result of taking a blood thinner like warfarin/coumadin need to not take any kind of cold and flu drugs that may rise the threat of bleeding such together ibuprofen.” 

Other therapies that you might be taking: 

Antidepressants and dextromethorphan or pseudoephedrine

It’s generally taken into consideration safe to take antidepressants while acquisition cold medicine. “However, cold/flu medicines that contain dextromethorphan may rise the threat of a rarely side effect called serotonin syndrome once taken v SSRIs and also SNRIs,” Dr. Carter says. “Since over there are plenty of OTC choices that carry out not contain that ingredient, it is probably finest to protect against it just to it is in cautious.” Dr. Manukyan likewise cautions that you need to avoid mixing assets containing pseudoephedrine if you’re acquisition an older kind of antidepressant recognized as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), as it could reason a hypertensive crisis.

Anti-hypertensives and pseudoephedrine

“The problem with OTC cough/cold medications and high blood push is that the drugs may further raise her blood pressure,” states Dr. Carter. “The ingredient most most likely to perform this is pseudoephedrine, however you should likewise use caution through some sleep sprays.” Your health care provider might suggest picking an OTC product through phenylephrine instead. 

Elderberry and immunosuppressants

Elderberry commodities aren’t technically medication, as they’re thought about supplements, however many people do revolve to them once cold and flu season approach. “Elderberry is safe and also effective for many patients, except for those who space taking medicines to suppress their immune system, i.e., immunosuppressants,” says Dr. Manukyan. “Medications the decrease the immune system interact with elderberry.” She alerts that elderberry-drug interactions could potentially occur as a result of acquisition elderberry together with corticosteroids favor prednisone, and also cyclosporine and also other immunosuppressants.


Should you be concerned about a Tamiflu drug interaction if your medical care provider prescribes this antiviral in the beforehand stages that a situation of influenza? “Luckily, Tamiflu go not communicate with the ingredients of many over-the- counter cold and flu medications,” says Dr. Carter.

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Other considerations when taking cold meds 

Another consideration: part meds contain added colors and also flavorings. “Make certain to point out all her allergies to your pharmacist as soon as picking over-the-counter cold and also flu medication,” states Dr. Manukyan.

Also, that probably ideal to avoid drinking alcohol when taking any cold or flu medications. Alcohol have the right to increase the effect of ingredients prefer dextromethorphan, and also it can compound the sedative result of antihistamines. Plus, countless cold meds contain paracetamol which might potentially lead to liver damages if blended with alcohol. 

“The overall advice I would give prior to taking medication for colds or flu is to balance the benefits versus the risks,” Dr. Cutler says. “Doing so might make mom’s chicken soup seem favor the best medicine that all.”