Alcohol can cause several types of side effects, including dangerous or life-threatening symptoms, when mixed with medications. One medication that is sometimes used at the same time as alcohol is Mucinex.

Article at a Glance:

Mixing alcohol and Mucinex can be dangerous or harmful. Some of the key points about mixing the two to keep in mind are:

Mucinex is an over-the-counter medication that comes in different varieties for different purposes

Mucinex primarily contains guaifenesin and dextromethorphan

Alcohol mixed with Mucinex can have unintended side effects, and result in serious injuries

Because Mucinex can make people drowsy, the alcohol making people uncoordinated only adds to the risk of sustaining an injury

Alcohol & Mucinex

Alcohol can cause several types of side effects, including dangerous or life-threatening symptoms, when mixed with medications. One medication that is sometimes used at the same time as alcohol is Mucinex.

The brand name Mucinex includes several over-the-counter medications with slightly different names such as Mucinex, Mucinex DM, Mucinex Fast-Max and Mucinex Sinus-Max. Each of these variations includes a combination of medications designed to help with coughs, congestion and cold symptoms. The main ingredients that are consistent throughout Mucinex medications are guaifenesin and dextromethorphan. Both of these ingredients help with coughing or congestion.

Side Effects of Mixing Alcohol and Mucinex

Mixing alcohol and Mucinex can cause many possible side effects, some of which can be dangerous. These side effects include:

  • Increased side effects of the medications
  • Increased intoxication
  • Dizziness and drowsiness
  • Negative interactions with other medications

Increased Side Effects

Mixing alcohol and Mucinex can intensify the side effects of Mucinex. Most people don’t experience any significant side effects from taking Mucinex. When alcohol is combined with Mucinex, people who do experience side effects will likely feel those side effects intensify. People who do not experience side effects when taking Mucinex may find that they start to develop side effects when Mucinex is mixed with alcohol.

Increased Intoxication

Taking Mucinex and alcohol at the same time may lead to increased intoxication. When the body tries to metabolize two substances instead of one, it slows down, which can lead to longer and stronger alcoholic effects. The heightened intoxication may lead to an increased risk of injury and an underestimation of the effects of alcohol. This side effect can be particularly dangerous when driving or doing tasks that require concentration.

Dizziness and Drowsiness

When alcohol and Mucinex are mixed, it can increase a person’s dizziness and drowsiness. A person experienced an increased risk of sustaining an injury when these side effects occur alongside the increased intoxication. Something as mundane as riding a bicycle could become dangerous or even deadly when Mucinex and alcohol are combined.

Side Effects of Other Medications

While Mucinex primarily contains the active ingredients guaifenesin and dextromethorphan, most variations of Mucinex contain other medications designed to help with a variety of symptoms. These additional medications may also mix with alcohol in unanticipated ways that could be dangerous.

Mixing Alcohol and Mucinex FastMax

Mucinex FastMax is an over-the-counter drug that has multiple ingredients. FastMax is a line of products that contain at least three of the following ingredients:

  • Acetaminophen, a pain reliever
  • Dextromethorphan, a cough suppressant
  • Guaifenesin, a mucolytic, which breaks up mucus
  • Phenylephrine, a decongestant

Out of these ingredients, both acetaminophen and dextromethorphan have safety concerns when used with alcohol.

Mixing acetaminophen with alcohol can increase your risk of liver problems, so it is best to avoid combining them. Contact your doctor immediately if you take these substances together and notice side effects that may indicate liver damage:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Joint pain or swelling
  • Excessive fatigue or weakness
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Itchy skin or a rash
  • Appetite loss
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes

Mixing alcohol with dextromethorphan can increase the risk of other side effects, like:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Impaired thinking or judgment

Mixing Alcohol and Mucinex D

Mucinex D contains a mucolytic, guaifenesin, and a decongestant, pseudoephedrine. This combination does not have any known drug interactions with alcohol.

Mixing Alcohol and Mucinex DM

Mucinex DM typically contains only two active ingredients, guaifenesin and dextromethorphan. While guaifenesin does not have any drug interactions with alcohol, mixing dextromethorphan and alcohol can increase the risk of central nervous system side effects:

  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Problems with thinking or judgment

If you or a loved one struggle with alcohol use disorder, or are mixing alcohol with other substances, you should consider seeking professional help. The Recovery Village has a proven record of treating alcohol abuse and addiction. Reach out to a representative today to see how we can help you start on the path to full recovery.

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Sources

NIH. “Harmful Interactions.” 2014. Accessed April 10, 2019.

Medscape. “Guaifenesin (OTC).” June 2018. Accessed April 10, 2019.

Medscape. “Dextromethorphan (OTC).” 2019. Accessed April 10, 2019.

Mucinex Professional. “Drug Facts.” 2019. Accessed April 15, 2019.

Drugs.com. “Drug Interaction Report: Alcohol and Mucinex DM“>Drug Int[…]nd Mucinex DM.” Accessed February 21, 2022.

Drugs.com. “Drug Interaction Report: Alcohol and Mucinex D“>Drug Int[…]and Mucinex D.” Accessed February 21, 2022.

Drugs.com. “Drug Interaction Report: Alcohol and Mucinex FastMax Cold & Flu“>Drug Int[…]old & Flu.” Accessed February 21, 2022.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.