Nyquil and Alcohol

nyquil and alcoholNyquil is an over-the-counter drug used as a pain reliever. It is usually used for allergies or some other respiratory problems and illnesses. There are many forms of this medication such as Nyquil D, Nyquil Cold/Flu Multisymptom Relief, Nyquil Cough, Nyquil Sinus. Since these formulations can have an ingredient which can interact with other substances such as alcohol, it is advised not to mix those two together in order to prevent intoxication.

Active Ingredients of Nyquil

Nyquil itself can contain some alcohol in it that can interact with alcohol that you intake separately and cause drowsiness or even intoxication. Here are some of the active ingredients which can react with alcohol.


This is an active ingredient also called Paracetamol. It is over-the-counter pain reliever which can act as an antipyretic and reduce the high temperature as well. Mixing paracetamol with alcohol is not a smart thing to do since it can lead to liver failure.


This is an ingredient which will reduce the congestion of the nose and it can be found in some nasal sprays or capsules and syrups.


This is also over-the-counter medicine which is used to reduce the coughing.

Doxylamine Succinate

Doxylamine succinate is an ingredient which is antihistaminic. It stops the secretion of the glands and prevent lacrimation, rhinorrhea, and other allergic symptoms such as itching eyes and sneezing. This is one of the reasons it is used for respiratory allergies. It also causes sedation and it can lead to drowsiness and sleepiness and sometimes even cause insomnia.


And another nasal decongestant such as phenylephrine, but it contains pseudoephedrine which is not allowed as an over-the-counter medicine and it needs a prescription from the doctor.

Inactive ingredients can vary among different kinds of Nyquil but the important part is the active ingredient which reacts with alcohol.

What Is the Main Active Ingredient Responsible for The Problem With This Mixture?

The main active ingredient responsible for all the symptoms and reaction with the alcohol is acetaminophen. It reacts with alcohol and creates a mixture of both addictive substances which cause pain relief. It can be extremely serious and cause liver damage.

Nyquil Side Effects

The most common active ingredient which is linked with Nyquil side effects is Doxylamine Succinate. Some of these are:

  • Drowsiness which can be severe to a point where it is recommended to stay away from activities such as driving and using other machinery which can lead to injury if not managed the proper way.
  • Since it causes hypotension (low blood pressure), some may want to beware of sedation and dizziness and among elderly sudden falls.
  • Among children, it can cause paradoxical excitement such as tremor, euphoria, delirium, heart palpitations, seizures, insomnia, restlessness, nervousness.
  • Some may suffer from anticholinergic effects such as dry mouth, throat and nose, painful urination (dysuria) and urinary retention.
  • Patients who suffer from asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis may have problems such as painful urination, and the problem with urination due to prostate hypertrophy.

So, you should not use Nyquil and alcohol together since it can cause numerous complications and unwanted outcomes. You can hurt yourself while doing such thing but also others if you’re driving and managing some heavy machinery. You should be aware of side effects of the drugs even though if you’re taking it alone, since it can cause complications if you have:

  • High blood pressure or a heart disease
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic obstructive diseases such as chronic bronchitis, asthma or emphysema
  • Bladder obstruction and urinary retention
  • Thyroid disorder, etc.

Nyquil is also marked as category C product, so you should not use products that contain Dextromethorphan and Doxylamine when you’re pregnant in order to prevent any complications. You should also consult your doctor if you’re breastfeeding.