Sudafed is very commonly used, as is alcohol, so is there anything to know about the relationship between alcohol and Sudafed, or the potential risks of mixing the two? Below we cover the basics of what Sudafed is, and also what to know about the combination of alcohol and Sudafed.
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What is Sudafed?
Sudafed is a medicine with the generic name pseudoephedrine. Pseudoephedrine can be used to help with a variety of common symptoms related to colds, the flu or allergies. It is a decongestant, so it narrows blood vessels to help alleviate swelling and congestion.
While Sudafed can help reduce the symptoms of certain illnesses like the common cold, it doesn’t cure them, and there are side effects possible.
While the majority of versions of Sudafed offered only contain pseudoephedrine, there is one called Sudafed 12 Hour Pressure + Pain, which has naproxen sodium as well. There is also something called Sudafed PE which has the active ingredient phenylephrine instead of pseudoephedrine. Also available is Sudafed Non-Drowsy, which is made of pseudoephedrine-guaifenesin.
As with most medicines, Sudafed does have potential side effects. Some of the most commonly occurring side effects include restlessness, headache, nausea, vomiting, and weakness. Some of the more serious side effects of Sudafed can include a rapid heart rate, breathing problems, hallucinations, psychosis, heart problems and even heart attack or stroke, although of course, these side effects are rare.
Certain drugs shouldn’t be used when you’re taking Sudafed. These include dihydroergotamine, rasagiline, and selegiline. You should also let your doctor or pharmacist know about any other medicines you’re taking, as well as vitamins or supplements.
Sudafed is considered safe for most people, however, if you have certain health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, an overactive thyroid, glaucoma or an enlarged prostate you should let your doctor know before taking Sudafed.
There is also some regulation on a state-by-state basis of the sale of Sudafed because it can be used to make methamphetamine which is a dangerous and illegal stimulant drug, but Sudafed on its own isn’t considered addictive. You can overdose on Sudafed if you don’t follow dosage instructions, and some of the symptoms can include a fast heart rate, anxiety, restlessness or dizziness as well as increased blood pressure and seizures.
In most states Sudafed is available over-the-counter, however, because of the link to making meth, it is restricted and must be obtained with a prescription in some states such as Oregon and Mississippi.
Can You Mix Alcohol and Sudafed?
People frequently wonder, can you mix alcohol and Sudafed? First and foremost, there aren’t a lot of warnings about mixing alcohol and Sudafed. The majority of warnings with the use of Sudafed are more related to its use to make meth, so you may be able to drink moderately while taking Sudafed without side effects, but this is something you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist about.
Alcohol is a depressant and Sudafed is a stimulant, so you may experience some strange side effects if you mix the two, such as altered perception and awareness. Mixing alcohol and Sudafed could change your behavior as a result. It’s also possible that if you mix alcohol and Sudafed that you may have heightened symptoms of either or both substances, such as dizziness or nausea.
Something else to think about is how drinking alcohol can impact your immune system. Alcohol can impair the ability of your immune system to fight illnesses, and if you’re taking Sudafed, you are likely sick. It can take you longer to recover if you’re drinking while sick.
Both alcohol and Sudafed also have the potential to cause a rise in blood pressure.
Summing Up—Alcohol and Sudafed Interactions
Theoretically, it may be okay if you’re drinking in moderation because there aren’t specific interaction warnings between the two, but you should never mix the two without speaking to your pharmacist or physician.
Mixing alcohol and Sudafed can cause the symptoms of either to become more obvious, and it can also alter your thinking and perception.
Finally, something else to think about if you’re considering mixing alcohol and Sudafed is the fact that alcohol can reduce the work of your immune system. If you’re taking Sudafed because you’re sick, it can take your body longer to heal itself and fight the infection.
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