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Can You Take Sudafed and Alcohol Together?

Sudafed mixed with alcohol

Feeling stuffy? Maybe it’s lingering symptoms from last week’s cold or seasonal allergies, or you may just be sick.

In any case, people take Sudafed to treat cold or allergy symptoms like coughs, runny and itchy noses, and congestion. However, because this medication is over-the-counter (OTC), many tend to underestimate the possible side effects, especially the effects of Sudafed and alcohol being taken together. Below is more on the effects of mixing Sudafed with alcohol and why you should think twice before drinking while taking this medication.

What Is Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine)?

Sudafed is the brand name for pseudoephedrine, an over-the-counter medication used for temporary relief from a stuffy nose or sinus pressure caused by infection (such as the flu or the common cold) or from other breathing illnesses like hay fever, allergies, or bronchitis. Sudafed works by narrowing the blood vessels to decrease swelling and congestion.

You may have also heard of pseudoephedrine in relation to the illicit stimulant methamphetamine. This OTC medication is the main ingredient of meth and has become so widely used to make methamphetamine that the distribution of pseudoephedrine is now closely monitored and restricted. Although it’s not a controlled substance, it’s heavily controlled by the federal government.

Common side effects of Sudafed include rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, sweating, feeling wide awake, tremors, and blurry vision. Dosages also vary, including 60 mg every four to six hours when taking Sudafed Immediate-Release, 120 mg every 12 hours when taking Sudafed 12-Hour, and 240 mg every 24 hours when taking Sudafed 24-Hour. Although this medication presents few risks when used on its own and as directed, it has been linked to adverse reactions when mixed with other substances, such as alcohol. 

Can You Drink Alcohol With Sudafed?

Although there isn’t an official Sudafed and alcohol interaction, medical professionals still advise against drinking alcohol while taking Sudafed. As a stimulant medication, pseudoephedrine can mask the tipsy feeling that alcohol produces. Masking this inebriation may lead to more intense alcohol consumption, resulting in a hangover, among other negative side effects.

Sudafed decreases the feelings of intoxication by keeping the brain fairly stimulated, making it more likely that the individual will consume more alcohol than is safe. Alcohol-related injuries, along with hangovers and even alcohol poisoning, are also more likely to occur.

A pseudoephedrine and alcohol interaction can also result in a more intensified effect from pseudoephedrine. This interaction may include increased heart rate, dizziness, anxiety, and blurred vision. This is especially true for people who are already prone to these problems due to an underlying health condition or other medications they may be taking.

It’s important to recognize that the active ingredient in Sudafed is often found in combination drugs used to treat cold and flu symptoms. These drugs usually contain medications that are known to have interactions with alcohol or other drugs, such as Tylenol, Advil, or Benadryl. Combining any of these medications with alcohol is dangerous.

A great way to reduce the risk of side effects and ensure you’re treating what’s bothering you is to go with a single-purpose medication rather than an all-in-one drug. For instance, it might be safer to take Tylenol if you have a fever as opposed to something like NyQuil, which contains Tylenol and several other ingredients you don’t need if you only have a fever.

All in all, if you have any doubts about whether you can mix Sudafed and alcohol, we hope we have cleared it up for you.

Do You Have a Drinking Problem?

Although Sudafed isn’t necessarily addictive in the way that methamphetamine or prescription drugs are, alcohol is certainly addictive. Taking alcohol with medications despite knowing the associated risks can indicate a more severe problem. If you find yourself drinking alone, drinking more heavily than intended, or drinking alcohol with medications, then you might have an alcohol problem.

If you or a loved one has shown signs of addiction or dependence, don’t wait to get help, as this disease may only worsen without intervention. For more information about the drug or alcohol treatment offered at our rehab in Texas, call Banyan Treatment Centers today at 888-280-4763 or send us your contact information, and we’ll reach out to you as soon as possible.


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Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Can You Take Sudafed and Alcohol Together?
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