A cough can be anypoint from a minor annoyance to significant misery, keeping you up at all hrs of the night. When you have actually a cold with a pesky cough, you may reach for a bottle of over-the-respond to (OTC) cough syrup. If you’ve checked out your physician for your illness, he or she may even prescribe a stronger cough preparation. 

So, what if you want to gain a glass of wine with dinner or a beer during the football game? Can you mix cough syrup and also alcohol? 

Unfortunately, alcohol and also cough syrup do not mix. Combining cough syrup and alcohol have the right to lead to raised dizziness and drowsiness and also impair your coordination and driving. Some cough medicines contain alcohol as well, so the effects can be also even more major. Continue analysis to learn more about interactions in between prevalent cough syrups and alcohol. 

Usual cough syrups and their ingredients 

First, let’s break dvery own some of the most common over-the-respond to (OTC) and also prescription cough medications and also their ingredients that relieve coughing.

OTC: 

Prescription: 

Tussionex (has chlorpheniramine and hydrocodone)

As you deserve to view above, the many common ingredients for coughs are dextromethorphan and also codeine

Can you mix dextromethorphan and alcohol? 

What happens if you are taking an OTC or prescription cough medication that consists of the cough suppressant dextromethorphan—can you mix that Robitussin-DM and also alcohol? Or Delsym and also alcohol? Or any type of various other product that has dextromethorphan with alcohol?

Nope. Even though you deserve to conveniently uncover assets containing dextromethorphan OTC, these medicines deserve to be extremely dangerous once blended through alcohol. 

Why is that? Well, dextromethorphan and also alcohol are both central nervous system (CNS) depressants, which implies they reason relaxation, sleepiness, and a euphoric feeling. Dextromethorphan, on its own, is a commonly abprovided drug. And mixing dextromethorphan and alcohol reasons additive side results, which ca boost the hazard of overdose. Some effects this combicountry deserve to reason include:

Respiratory depression (slowed breathing)Out-of-body feelingBrain lesions that deserve to reason memory and habits problemsEpilepsyPermanent psychosis

*

What about guaifenesin?

Guaifenesin is an expectorant, which helps loosen mucus. Many kind of world usage this medication to assist break up a “phlegmy” cough. Guaifenesin is uncovered in OTC commodities such as Mucinex or plain Robitussin (not Mucinex-DM or Robitussin-DM—the DM represents dextromethorphan in these products). Some prescription products, such as Robitussin via codeine, likewise contain guaifenesin. 

Although guaifenesin technically does not communicate via alcohol, it is still better to skip the alcohol while sick. Alcohol deserve to cause symptoms of the disease (and also side effects of your medicines) to worsen. Alcohol deserve to also make you dehydrated and also weaken your immune system. 

Can you mix codeine cough syrup and alcohol? 

Let’s say your cough is so serious that you skipped the OTC aisle and went directly to your physician, who prescribed a cough syrup that includes hydrocodone or codeine. Can you mix a hydrocodone or codeine cough syrup and alcohol? 

Narcotic medicines such as hydrocodone or codeine contain a babsence box warning, which is the strongest warning forced by the USA Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These drugs have a high potential for abusage and also dependence once handled their own, bring about overdose and fatality. Cough syrups that contain narcotics are managed substances and should be selectively prescribed to very closely screened adults wright here the benefits outweigh the dangers. When taken on their own, these codeine-containing cough syrups can likewise result in significant, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression. 

Now, add in alcohol? That’s a large no. The manufacturers of these cough syrups warn (likewise in the babsence box warning) that combining opioids such as codeine or hydrocodone through alcohol have the right to cause “profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and also fatality.” Hydrocodone- or codeine-containing cough syrup plus alcohol amounts to a prescription for disaster. 

Also, some OTC and prescription cough medications, in enhancement to their cough suppressant ingredients, contain a small amount of alcohol. So now you’d be combining all the effects of the medication through alcohol and also more alcohol. 

Which cough syrups contain alcohol?

This chart, produced by the Medical Society of the State of New York, has actually an extensive list of medicines that contain alcohol and drugs that perform not contain alcohol. 

Some common cough syrups that contain alcohol encompass some formulations of NyQuil, ZzzQuil, and various other nighttime cough or cough/cold syrups, among others. 

Which cough syrups do not contain alcohol?

Better yet, pick an alcohol-totally free formulation.


You are watching: Why is there alcohol in cough medicine


See more: How To Use Conair Style And Clip Pins Brown: Beauty, This Is The Easiest Way To Hack A Next

Many pharmacies lug a few types of alcohol-totally free cough syrups, such as alcohol-free Tussin-DM or Safe-Tussin DM. If you desire to protect against alcohol in your glass and your medication, choose one of these choices. However, as formulations might adjust over the years, it’s prudent to inspect the label through your pharmacist when choosing an OTC cough medicine to make certain there is no alcohol in the product.