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Can You Take Mucinex and Sudafed Together?

Feb 15, 2023

If you've ever been hit with an upper respiratory infection, like a cold or the flu, you know endless options are available over-the-counter (OTC) to help relieve symptoms. 

Mucinex and Sudafed are two OTC medications often used to treat symptoms such as chest congestion, nasal congestion, and sinus pressure. 

But can you take Mucinex and Sudafed together? Let's take a look at what these drugs are and if they can safely be used together. 

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What is Mucinex?

Mucinex (guaifenesin) is an expectorant, or a type of cough medicine, that helps reduce chest congestion by loosening mucus in your airways. 

Side effects of Mucinex

Although Mucinex is available OTC, it still has potential side effects, such as:

  • Constipation

  • Dizziness

  • Fatigue

  • Headache

  • Nausea and vomiting

What is Sudafed?

Sudafed (pseudoephedrine) is a decongestant that works by narrowing the blood vessels in your nose to reduce swelling and make it easier for you to breathe.

While you don't need a prescription for Sudafed, the FDA requires all products that contain pseudoephedrine to be sold from behind the pharmacy counter as it can be used to make an illegal drug called meth (methamphetamine). 

Side effects of Sudafed:

Common side effects of Sudafed include:

  • Sleep issues, like insomnia

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Headache

  • Nervousness 

  • Restlessness

Rare, more severe side effects may also possibly occur. You should seek medical attention right away if you experience the following: 

  • An allergic reaction 

  • Dizziness

  • Stomach pain

  • Irregular heartbeat

  • Issues breathing 

Can You Take The Medications Together? 

Because both medications offer different types of relief, taking them together as directed is generally considered safe. 

Combination forms of Mucinex, such as Mucinex-D, contain pseudoephedrine. Therefore they shouldn't be taken with Sudafed or any other cough/cold medications, as they could lead to double dosing and dangerous side effects such as high blood pressure or increased heart rate. Speak to your pharmacist if you need help picking out the right medicine. 

It's also important to pay attention to how much of each medication you use. Taking too much Mucinex may cause nausea and vomiting, while taking too much Sudafed could cause dizziness or headache. 

In addition, both drugs should not be used for more than seven days unless otherwise directed by your doctor.  

Final thoughts

Together and separately, Mucinex and Sudafed can help manage your upper respiratory infection symptoms. However, it's important to remember that neither medicine treats bacterial infections like strep throat and certain sinus infections

You should see your healthcare provider as soon as possible if symptoms get worse or show no improvement, as this may indicate a bacterial infection, which would require antibiotics.

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