Robitussin vs Dayquil - Comparison Between uses & Side Effects

Robitussin Cough + Chest Congestion DM

It is a brand name for both prescription and over-the-counter cold and cough medicines. It contains two active ingredients:

  • dextromethorphan (also known as “DXM” and “the poor man’s PCP”) – it is a cough suppressant which affects the signals in the brain which trigger the cough reflex. Also, dextromethorphan helps to dislodge and loosen mucus, especially when combined with guaiphenesin.
  • guaifenesin – it is an expectorant medication that helps loosen congestion in the throat and chest, hence, helping to cough out through the mouth.

This medication is made and sold by Pfizer, a leading research-based biopharmaceutical company.

Uses

It is used to relieve coughs caused by bronchitis, the common cold, and other breathing illnesses.

Side Effects

Common side effects may include:

  • diarrhea;
  • headaches;
  • dizziness;
  • upset stomach;
  • rash;
  • dry mouth;
  • nausea.

Less common side effects may include:

  • shallow breathing;
  • itching;
  • tingling under your skin;
  • skin rash;
  • urinating less than usual;
  • drowsiness;
  • unusual thoughts;
  • severe dizziness;
  • confusion;
  • constipation;
  • hallucinations;
  • weak pulse;
  • unusual behavior;
  • slow heart rate.

Contraindications

It is not recommended to use this medication:

  • if you have high blood pressure;
  • if you are 4 years old or younger;
  • if you are taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors;
  • if you ever had Stevens-Johnson syndrome;
  • if you have a thyroid disease;
  • if you have diabetes.

Drug Interactionantibiotics pill

It may negatively interact with other medications, especially:

  • lisinopril;
  • acetaminophen;
  • Tylenol (acetaminophen);
  • albuterol;
  • Zyrtec (cetirizine);
  • aspirin;
  • prednisone;
  • gabapentin;
  • omeprazole;
  • ibuprofen.

Alcoholalcohol

Drinking alcoholic beverages while taking this medication can substantially increase certain side effects.

Abuse

Taking too much dextromethorphan can lead to hallucinations, out-of-body sensations, and loss of motor control, which makes this medication a target of abuse. Overdosing on dextromethorphan may pose the following health risks:

  • slow breathing;
  • muscle twitching;
  • blurred vision;
  • gastrointestinal spasms;
  • feeling drowsy;
  • rapid heartbeat;
  • constipation;
  • high blood pressure;
  • coma;
  • seizures;
  • nausea;
  • paranoia.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

It is not known precisely whether this medication passes into breast milk or if it could negatively affect a nursing infant. Do not use this drug without a healthcare provider’s advice if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Also, it is not known exactly whether this medication will harm an unborn baby. Do not use this drug without a healthcare provider’s advice if you are pregnant or plan to fall pregnant.

Dayquil Cold & Flu

It is a combination of dextromethorphan, acetaminophen, and phenylephrine which is typically used for headaches, fever, nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, minor aches and pains.

Dextromethorphan (a drug of the morphinan class with dissociative, sedative, and stimulant characteristics) is a cough suppressant that affects the signals in the brain which trigger the cough reflex.

Acetaminophen belongs to a group of drugs called analgesics, which work by blocking pain signals from reaching the brain. It may also reduce the production of prostaglandins in the brain.

Phenylephrine, a selective α1-adrenergic receptor agonist of the phenethylamine class, belongs to a group of drugs called nasal decongestants, which shrink blood vessels in the nasal passages.

Uses

This medication is commonly used to treat the symptoms associated with a cold or the flu, including – headaches, a sore throat, nasal congestion, cough, fever, and minor aches and pains.

Important note – it will not treat a cough which is caused by smoking, asthma, or emphysema.

Dosage

The usual recommended dose is 4 doses in a 24 hour period. This is also the maximum recommended dose.

Side Effects

Common side effects may include:

  • dry nose, mouth, or throat;
  • upset stomach;
  • diarrhea;
  • a mild headache;
  • dizziness;
  • feeling restless, nervous, irritable, or anxious;
  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • weakness.

Less common side effects may include:

  • hallucinations;
  • seizure (convulsions);
  • loss of appetite;
  • uneven heart rate;
  • confusion;
  • little or no urinating;
  • uneven heartbeats;
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • anxiety;
  • chest pain;
  • mood changes;
  • clay-colored stools;
  • blurred vision;
  • dark urine;
  • buzzing in your ears;
  • seizure;
  • dangerously high blood pressure;
  • a feeling like you might pass out;
  • nausea;
  • upper stomach pain;
  • severe dizziness.

Precautions

Ask a healthcare professional it is safe for you to take this medication if you have other medical conditions, particularly:

  • heart disease;
  • type 2 diabetes;
  • high blood pressure;
  • coronary artery disease;
  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder;
  • chronic bronchitis;
  • a cough caused by smoking;
  • liver disease;
  • asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease;
  • glaucoma;
  • a cough with mucus;
  • if you drink more than 3 alcoholic beverages per day;
  • emphysema;
  • bladder obstruction;
  • pheochromocytoma (an adrenal gland tumor);
  • overactive thyroid.

Drug Interactions

It may negatively interact with other medications, especially:

  • Tylenol (acetaminophen);
  • melatonin;
  • Relief (phenylephrine ophthalmic);
  • Aleve (naproxen);
  • naproxen;
  • prednisone;
  • omeprazole;
  • Benadryl (diphenhydramine);
  • eligard;
  • ibuprofen.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

It is not known precisely whether this medication will harm an unborn baby. Do not use this medicine without a healthcare provider’s advice if you are pregnant.

This medication may pass into breast milk and may negatively affect an infant. Do not use this drug without a healthcare professional’s advice if you are breastfeeding an infant.

Alcohol

Avoid consuming alcoholic drinks since alcohol may increase the risk of liver damage or other side effects.

Bottom Line – Robitussin vs Dayquil

DayQuil Cold & Flu (active ingredients – dextromethorphan, acetaminophen, and phenylephrine) is a combination medication which is typically used to treat a cough, headaches, stuffy nose, fever, body aches, and sinus congestion caused by allergies, the common cold, or the flu.

Robitussin Cough + Chest Congestion DM (active ingredient – dextromethorphan and guaifenesin) is a medication that helps loosen congestion in your chest and throat, making it easier to cough out through the mouth.

Both medicines contain dextromethorphan, but because Robitussin Cough + Chest Congestion DM is an extended-release form, it lasts longer.

The problem is that these drugs have many side effects and are not very effective.

For instance, according to a 2007 study that compared the effects of a single nocturnal dose of honey-flavored dextromethorphan with no treatment on nocturnal cough, dextromethorphan was not better than no treatment.

Moreover, according to a 2008 Cochrane Collaboration meta-analysis of OTC cold medicines, there was not enough high-quality clinical data to prove whether these medications are effective or not.

Lastly, according to a 2014 study that was published in the Respiratory Care journal, medicines that contain guaifenesin don’t help people with a cold to cough up the excess mucus.

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