A cough can be anything from a minor annoyance to significant misery, keeping you up in ~ all hrs of the night. When you have actually a cold through a pesky cough, you may reach for a bottle of over-the-counter (OTC) sneeze syrup. If you’ve watched your physician for your illness, the or she may even prescribe a more powerful cough preparation. 

So, what if you want to enjoy a glass the wine v dinner or a beer during the football game? can you mix cough syrup and also alcohol? 

Unfortunately, alcohol and cough syrup carry out not mix. Combining cough syrup and alcohol can lead to boosted dizziness and drowsiness and also impair her coordination and driving. Part cough drugs contain alcohol together well, for this reason the effects can be even an ext severe. Continue reading come learn more about interactions in between common sneeze syrups and also alcohol. 

Common cough syrups and also their ingredients 

First, let’s breakdown some of the most typical over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription sneeze medicines and their ingredients that relax coughing.

OTC: 

Prescription: 

Tussionex (contains chlorpheniramine and hydrocodone)

As you can see above, the most usual ingredients because that coughs are dextromethorphan and also codeine

Can friend mix dextromethorphan and also alcohol? 

What happens if you space taking one OTC or prescription cough medicine that has the sneeze suppressant dextromethorphan—can friend mix the Robitussin-DM and also alcohol? Or Delsym and alcohol? Or any kind of other product that consists of dextromethorphan v alcohol?

Nope. Even though you have the right to readily find assets containing dextromethorphan OTC, these medicines have the right to be really dangerous when combined with alcohol. 

Why is that? Well, dextromethorphan and also alcohol space both main nervous system (CNS) depressants, which means they reason relaxation, sleepiness, and a euphoric feeling. Dextromethorphan, top top its own, is a extensively abused drug. And mixing dextromethorphan and alcohol causes additive side effects, which can increase the risk of overdose. Some effects this mix can cause include:

Respiratory depression (slowed breathing)Out-of-body feelingBrain lesions that can cause memory and also behavior problemsEpilepsyPermanent psychosis

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What around guaifenesin?

Guaifenesin is an expectorant, which helps loosen mucus. Many people use this medicine to assist break increase a “phlegmy” cough. Guaifenesin is found in OTC products such together Mucinex or plain Robitussin (not Mucinex-DM or Robitussin-DM—the DM represents dextromethorphan in these products). Part prescription products, such as Robitussin v codeine, likewise contain guaifenesin. 

Although guaifenesin technically go not communicate with alcohol, the is still much better to skip the alcohol while sick. Alcohol can cause symptoms the the illness (and side effects of her medicines) come worsen. Alcohol can also make friend dehydrated and also weaken her immune system. 

Can girlfriend mix codeine cough syrup and also alcohol? 

Let’s to speak your sneeze is so severe that you skipped the OTC aisle and went directly to your doctor, that prescribed a cough syrup that consists of hydrocodone or codeine. Have the right to you mix a hydro codon or codeine cough syrup and alcohol? 

Narcotic medicines such as hydrocodone or codeine save on computer a black color box warning, which is the strongest warning compelled by the United claims Food and also Drug management (FDA). This drugs have a high potential because that abuse and also dependence when taken on your own, leading to overdose and death. Sneeze syrups that contain medicine are regulated substances and should it is in selectively prescribed to carefully screened adults whereby the services outweigh the risks. As soon as taken on your own, this codeine-containing sneeze syrups can likewise lead to serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression. 

Now, include in alcohol? that’s a large no. The manufacturers the these cough syrups warning (also in the black box warning) that combining opioids such together codeine or hydrocodone through alcohol can cause “profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and also death.” Hydrocodone- or codeine-containing cough syrup to add alcohol equals a prescription for disaster. 

Also, some OTC and prescription cough medicines, in addition to their sneeze suppressant ingredients, contain a tiny amount that alcohol. So currently you’d it is in combining every the impacts of the medication through alcohol and more alcohol. 

Which sneeze syrups save alcohol?

This chart, produced by the Medical culture of the State of brand-new York, has actually a considerable list of medicines that save on computer alcohol and also medications that do not contain alcohol. 

Some common cough syrups that contain alcohol include some formulations the NyQuil, ZzzQuil, and other nighttime sneeze or cough/cold syrups, amongst others. 

Which sneeze syrups carry out not save on computer alcohol?

Better yet, select an alcohol-free formulation.


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Many pharmacies lug a few types of alcohol-free cough syrups, such together alcohol-free Tussin-DM or Safe-Tussin DM. If you want to stop alcohol in her glass and your medication, choose one of these options. However, together formulations may change over the years, it’s prudent to check the label v your pharmacist when choosing an OTC cough medication to make certain there is no alcohol in the product.