Mucinex And Alcohol: Is It Safe To Mix One With The Other?
In this article, we’ll discuss if it’s safe to consume Mucinex and alcohol together.
What Is Mucinex?
Mucinex is an expectorant that is a class of medicines that promote the secretion of saliva and mucus by the air passages. It contains a drug suppressing medication called Dextromethorphan which is a cough suppressant and suppresses the cough reflex.
It is an intoxicating substance if consumed in large quantities and leads to dependence if consumed over a long period of time. It is also susceptible to be abused as it is available over-the-counter without any prescription.
Alcohol has sedative effects on the mind which reduces inhibitions and impairs proper thinking. Ethanol, which is the key ingredient of alcohol, stays in the bloodstream till the time the liver can break it down.
What Is It Used For?
Mucinex is a medication that is available as a solution and contains guaifenesin and dextromethorphan. These ingredients make Mucinex an effective medication to reduce chest and sinus congestions caused by allergies, infections, and the common cold. Mucinex is also used to treat symptoms of bronchitis and breathing illnesses.
Although the exact prescribed dose of Mucinex depends on the age of the patient, most doctors do not recommend taking more than 2 doses within 24 hours. It is advisable to drink a lot of water along with this medicine as it helps in breaking up mucus and clearing congestion.
The short term side-effects associated with Mucinex is dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness, and dry mouth. However, its unsupervised usage shows long term side-effects like difficulty in speaking, a dangerous drop in body temperature, agitation, frequent tremors, and slow breathing.
Side Effects Of Having Alcohol
Alcohol affects multiple parts and the functioning of our body. It makes one feel dizzy and lightheaded as it causes dehydration in the body. Alcohol can also lead to immense stress on the heart muscles and cause irregular heartbeat in some cases. It can also lead to high blood pressure that can cause palpitations and anxiety. Apart from this, it causes other symptoms which include:
- Cold-like symptoms: There are multiple alcoholic beverages like beer and champagne which are consumed chilled. Alcohol is also often consumed with cold mixers like soda and ice. This leads to a greater secretion of mucus which leads to nasal and chest congestion. It can also cause difficulty in breathing in some cases.
- Weakens the immune System: Alcohol consumption hampers our immune system by damaging immune cells that prevent us from contracting infections. Additionally, alcohol damages the cells lining the airways which makes it easier for viruses to infect us.
Risks Of Having Alcohol With Mucinex
Alcohol and DXM, a key ingredient of Mucinex, are central nervous system depressants. They both work by decreasing the activity of the neurons of the brain and spinal cord. Consuming alcohol while also taking Mucinex heightens the side effects caused by both of them.
Doctors generally advise against taking alcohol along with any kind of medication that makes us drowsy. This is because medicines often change the way alcohol is broken down in our body and produces a toxic by-product called acetaldehyde. This damages membrane and causes scar tissue.
Acetaldehyde also causes a feeling of hangover and can lead to a faster heartbeat, headache, digestion problems, and palpitation.
1. Dangerous Interactions
Ethanol, which is one of the primary ingredients of alcohol, can negatively react with dextromethorphan, which is a key ingredient of Mucinex. Their combination can give rise to nervous system side-effects like drowsiness and dizziness and even cause permanent damage to the central nervous system in some cases.
Since Mucinex contains some properties of alcohol itself, it increases the chances of overdose. In extreme cases, it can lead to thinking impairment.
2. Heightened Side Effects
The common side effects associated with Mucinex are dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, and vomiting. These side-effects are common to both, Mucinex and alcohol.
Therefore, having alcohol while also taking Mucinex, can lead a person to experience long spells of fatigue, restlessness, lightheadedness, and frequent spells of digestive problems. It can also cause increased blood pressure and fever.
In some cases, a combination of Mucinex and alcohol can make it difficult to urinate, cause confusion, and blurred vision. Patients might also feel shakiness or unsteadiness in walking. These can be signs of an overdose and require immediate medical attention.
3. Mental Effects
Consuming alcohol while also being on a course of Mucinex can lead to feels of extreme sedition and lethargy. This can make one feel distracted and restless. High quantities of this medication taken in combination with alcohol can cause visual hallucinations and in unique cases can result in extreme psychosis.
A combination of alcohol and this medication also makes one susceptible to the occurrence of anxiety and panic attacks. This happens because impaired judgment caused by alcohol consumption is exacerbated when taken in combination with Mucinex.
In some cases, the combination of alcohol and this medication can lead to impaired motor coordination and delay the response time to situations and stimuli. It can cause a loss of sense of reality, difficulty or slurring in speech, and delusional thoughts. In extreme cases, it can also cause hysteria-induced unconsciousness.
In case a patient overdoses on a combination of Mucinex and alcohol i.e. takes more than 600 mg in combination with alcohol, it can result in a feeling of dissociation. It can also cause severe brain damage and impairment. In extreme cases, it can lead to tremendous difficulty in breathing resulting in coma or even death.
If alcohol and Mucinex are taken together in high quantities over a long period of time, the body develops resistance to Mucinex making it redundant in treating cough and cold symptoms.
4. Reduces The Effectiveness Of Mucinex
Mucinex is used to relieve coughs caused due to bronchitis and breathing illnesses and it works by suppressing the cough reflex. However, if it is consumed with alcohol, it cannot show effective results as alcohol increases the production of mucus in the body that leads to cold-like symptoms.
Therefore, when Mucinex and alcohol are taken in combination, it slows down the recovery and in some cases shows no recovery at all. It might also make Mucinex very susceptible to abuse as some people may increase the dose on their own without proper medical consultation.
Off late, Mucinex has come to be one of the most abused medicines by adolescents who mix it with soda or candy to mask the unpleasant taste of Mucinex. This makes them addicted to medicine and creates long term dependence. Since both Mucinex and alcohol are depressants, people often abuse the two together which leads to addiction and exposes users to overdose and fatal side-effects. The long-term recreational usage of Mucinex can have severe side effects, especially for adolescents, who risk developing resistance to medication used to treat cough from a young age.
December 7, 2020 Sam Bell