Article at a Glance:

  • You may be tempted to take over-the-counter (OTC) medications to help manage symptoms when you have a cold. However, if you take Xanax, this can be dangerous.
  • Talk with your doctor or pharmacist before starting any OTC medications because they can interact with Xanax.
  • Be aware of the OTC ingredients with common Xanax interactions, including dextromethorphan and pseudoephedrine.

Xanax & Cold Medicine Interactions

It can be harmful or even deadly to take Xanax and cold medications when you have a cold because of the risks of drug interactions. Xanax can have dangerous effects when mixed with certain cold medicines. For example, some cold medicines contain something called dextromethorphan (DXM), and if you were to use Xanax together with this over-the-counter substance, it could lead to problems ranging from dizziness to motor coordination.

Mucinex and Xanax

Mucinex contains the expectorant guaifenesin, and it is used to loosen mucus in the lungs and respiratory tract. It can help with certain types of productive coughs. Mucinex and Xanax do not have any drug interactions.

Mucinex DM and Xanax

Mucinex DM contains both guaifenesin and dextromethorphan. Xanax does not have any interactions with guaifenesin, but it should not be taken with dextromethorphan. Taking the two together can increase confusion, dizziness and drowsiness.

DXM and Xanax

DXM is a slang term for dextromethorphan. Both medications have a sedative effect, so taking them together increases the risk of drowsiness, dizziness and impairment.

Xanax and Dayquil

Like many other medications on this list, Dayquil contains dextromethorphan. Xanax should not be taken with dextromethorphan due to the sedation risk.

Robitussin and Xanax

Robitussin is another brand name for dextromethorphan. Taking both at the same time greatly increases the risk of drowsiness, confusion, sedation and impairment.

Sudafed and Xanax

Sudafed is a mild stimulant that can increase heart rate and breathing rate. It can also impact sleep if taken in doses that are too high. Xanax is a depressant, and mixing the two can increase the side effects of both the stimulant and the depressant.

Guaifenesin and Xanax

Guaifenesin is a substance used in many different drugs to relieve chest congestion. There are no significant drug interactions between guaifenesin and Xanax.

Summing Up – Xanax When You Have a Cold

If you want to take Xanax when you have a cold, contact your doctor to discuss how over-the-counter drugs may interact with your Xanax dosage. Always pay attention to drug labels to avoid substances that decrease the activity of your respiratory system, like dextromethorphan. Combining these with the effects of Xanax could be deadly. Your doctor may have specific recommendations for dealing with a cold while on Xanax.

If you struggle with Xanax misuse or find you’re unable to stop despite negative consequences, you may have a Xanax addiction. The Recovery Village can help with addiction treatment programs that address your substance use and any co-occurring mental health conditions the Xanax may have been prescribed for. Contact us today to discuss your situation and start on the path to a life without Xanax.

Melissa Carmona
Editor – Melissa Carmona
As the content manager at Advanced Recovery Systems, Melissa Carmona puts years of writing and editing experience to work helping people understand substance abuse, addiction and mental health disorders. Read more
Conor Sheehy
Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Conor Sheehy, PharmD, BCPS, CACP
Dr. Sheehy completed his BS in Molecular Biology at the University of Idaho and went on to complete his Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) at the University of Washington in Seattle. Read more

U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Mucinex DM Package Insert.” DailyMed, December 2009. Accessed December 23, 2021.

U.S. National Library of Medicine. “SUDAFED 12 HOUR Package Insert.” DailyMed, December 2009. Accessed December 23, 2021. “Drug Interactions Between Dextromethorphan and Xanax.” Accessed December 23, 2021. “Drug Interactions Between Mucinex and Xanax.” Accessed December 23, 2021. “Drug Interactions Between Mucinex DM and Xanax.” Accessed December 23, 2021.

U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Pseudoephedrine.” MedlinePlus, February 2018. Accessed December 23, 2021.

U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Guaifenesin.” MedlinePlus, February 2018. Accessed December 23, 2021.

National Institute on Drug Abuse . “Commonly Used Drugs Charts.” August 2020. Accessed December 23, 2021.

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.