Last reviewed by Editorial Team on September 5th, 2018.
Mucinex and Sudafed 12-Hour Drug Interactions
Mucinex is a Brand name for a medication containing guaifenesin as an active ingredient that is used as expectorant for relieving the symptoms of cough and mucus in the chest due to flu, colds or hay fever.
This drug reduces congestion in chest and makes coughs more productive by thinning mucus in the lungs and making it less sticky and easier to cough up.
For regular (short-acting) oral dosage forms usual doses are 100-400mg 3-4 times a day, and for extended-release dosage forms usual doses are 600 to 1200 mg two times a day. Mucinex works best when it is taken with plenty of water.
Other Brand names for preparations containing guaifenesin are: Bidex 400, Organidin NR, Antitussin, Guaifenex, Robitussin, Allfen, Altarussin and Amibid LA.
Sudafed is a Brand name for a medication containing pseudoephedrine as an active ingredient that is used as a decongestant for shrinking dilated blood vessels that can cause congestion in the nasal, sinus or ear (Eustachian tube) passages.
Sudafed is used for the temporary relief of stuffy nose and sinus pain/pressure caused by common cold, flu or other breathing illnesses such as allergies, hay fever or bronchitis.
For immediate release dosage forms, usual doses are: 30 to 60 mg orally every 4 to 6 hours, for sustained release dosage forms usual doses are 120 mg orally on every 12 hours and for the sustained release suspension usual doses are 45 to 100 mg orally every 12 hours.
There are many products on the market containing pseudoephedrine such as: Nasofed, Chlor Trimeton Nasal Decongestant, Contac Cold, Drixoral Decongestant Non-Drowsy, Elixsure Decongestant, Entex, Genaphed, Kid Kare Drops, Seudotabs, Silfedrine, Sudodrin, SudoGest, SudoGest 12 Hour, Suphedrin, Triaminic Softchews Allergy Congestion, Unifed.
How does Mucinex and Sudafed work in the body
Guaifenesin acts by reducing the viscosity and increasing the volume of secretions in the trachea and bronchi. By reducing the adhesiveness and viscosity of secretions, guaifenesin increases the mucociliary mechanism efficacy in removing secretions which has been accumulated in the upper and lower airways.
Studies have also shown that guaifenesin has muscle relaxant and anticonvulsant properties due to antagonism effects on NMDA receptors.
Pseudoephedrine is sympathomimetic amine with direct action on the adrenergic receptor system. The vasoconstriction is produced after α-adrenergic receptors activation that are located on the muscles lining of the walls of blood vessels.
The constricted blood vessels allow less fluid to leave the blood vessels and enter the nose, throat and sinuses, so results are: decreased inflammation of nasal membranes and decreased mucus production.
In bronchi, due to β2-adrenergic receptors activation, this substance can produce relaxation of smooth muscle, causing bronchial dilation and decreasing congestion and breathing difficulties.
Can patients take Mucinex and Sudafed together
Patients can take Mucinex and Sudafed together and there are many companies that produce these drugs as a combination into one pill (Ambifed-G, Despec-SR, Entex T, ExeFen-IR, Maxifed, Mucinex D, Mucinex D Max Strength, Poly-Vent IR, Respaire-30, Robitussin Severe Congestion, Sinutab Non Drying etc…).
Sudafed is a very good decongestant and Mucinex can help mucus to break up in nose sinuses or lungs, so if they are taken together, both can make higher efficacy in removing secretions which has been accumulated in the upper and lower airways.
However, patients should always look at the PIL (Patient Information Leaflet) and talk with their doctors first, before they combine these two medications.
Some of the Mucinex products already contain pseudoephedrine in the combination with guaifenesin like Mucinex D, or Mucinex D Max Strength and the same goes for Sudafed product such as Sudafed Non Drying Sinus. By mixing these products together patients may get too much of the same drugs and there is a high probability of side effects to occur.
Patients with heart or blood pressure issues should always talk with their doctors first before they take these drugs together! In these patients, pseudoephedrine’s sympathomimetic effects on the heart and blood vessels can make their symptoms far worse.
Patient should look for medical help if they experience some of the following symptoms: fast, irregular, pounding heartbeat, mental or mood changes like anxiety, confusion, restlessness, shaking, difficulty urinating, as well as swelling, and difficulty breathing.
The table below shows the incidence of side effects after Mucinex and Sudafed administration in recommendable doses. This Incidence can be significantly increased if these drugs are taken together.
|Frequency Not Defined||Tremor, Restlessness, Insomnia, Nausea, Vomiting, Nervousness, Atrial fibrillation, Hypertension, Myocardial infarction, Ventricular premature beats, Ischemic colitis, Rash, Itching, Hives.|
Special precautions and warnings during Mucinex and Sudafed administration:
- Patients shouldn’t use these medicines if they have used MAO inhibitors drugs such as furazolidone (Furoxone), phenelzine (Nardil), isocarboxazid (Marplan), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), rasagiline (Azilect), or tranylcypromine (Parnate) in the last 14 days. Drug interactions can occur, leading to serious side effects.
- Patients should ask their doctor or pharmacist before using these products if they have: high blood pressure, some heart disease, diabetes or a thyroid disorder.
- Pregnant patients shouldn’t use these medications without medical advice. It is not known whether these drugs will harm an unborn baby. These medicines should not be used if mother is breast-feeding a baby.
- Sudafed may make patients dizzy. They should not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness.
- Patients should also limit alcoholic beverages while using these drugs.
- Older patients can be more sensitive to the side effects after Sudafed administration, especially for: fast/irregular heartbeat, problems urinating, dizziness, confusion or trouble sleeping.
Children may be more sensitive to the restlessness side effect.
- Before taking products that contain pseudoephedrine, patients should tell their doctor or pharmacist if they are allergic them or if they have any other allergies. Also they should tell doctor if they ever had negative reactions to other sympathomimetics (for example ephedrine or phenylephrine). Inactive ingredients that can be found in these products can also cause allergic reactions or other problems.
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