If you’ve ever suffered through a cold, flu, or other nasty virus, you know how miserable it can make you feel. Nyquil is a nighttime cold remedy that helps relieve the symptoms of a stuffy nose, blocked sinuses, and general aches and pains. But does Nyquil have any real medical benefits?
It’s been around for decades and is one of the most famous over-the-counter remedies; but what is Nyquil and how does it work? Keep reading to find out more about Nyquil and its effects on your body.
What is Nyquil?
Nyquil is a brand name for the active ingredient in multiple cold and flu medications. Like many other over-the-counter medications, the active ingredients in Nyquil are designed to help you feel better and get through a sick day without experiencing too much discomfort. It is a combination of ingredients used to relieve symptoms associated with colds and flu, including cough and some aches and pains.
Nyquil is used to treat cough and minor aches and pains caused by colds and flu. It is also used to treat short-term insomnia related to these conditions.
How Does Nyquil Work?
Nyquil contains two active ingredients: doxylamine and the chemical combination of acetaminophen and dextromethorphan. They are used to treat cold and flu symptoms like fever, aches, nausea, and insomnia caused by illness.
The acetaminophen also helps with minor pain. The doxylamine, an antihistamine, is used to help you sleep and may have some benefits to help relieve congestion and cough.
The dextromethorphan in Nyquil is an opioid. It is used as a cough suppressant. The combination of acetaminophen and dextromethorphan relieves pain and reduces fever.
Is There Any Truth to the Claims Made by Producers of Nyquil?
The producers of Nyquil make a lot of bold claims about the effectiveness of their product. They say that it can reduce your symptoms by half, as well as make you feel much better and more sleepy. Unfortunately, there’s not much scientific evidence to back up their claims. A 2013 study found that patients who were given a combination of acetaminophen and dextromethorphan actually felt worse than those who were given a placebo.
The study also found that patients given Nyquil had the same levels of congestion as those who took the placebo. The only symptom that the study found to be alleviated was sleepiness. The study concluded that there is no reason to give Nyquil over simple painkillers and acetaminophen.
Side Effects of Nyquil
If you have an existing condition or take other medications, you should talk to your doctor before taking Nyquil. Like with most medications, there are side effects that may occur when taking this cough and flu medicine. The most common side effects are nausea, drowsiness, dry mouth, and shivering. Some people also experience blurred vision, confusion, dizziness, and increased urination.
Other rare but possible side effects include allergic reactions and urinary retention. If you experience any of the above-listed side effects, you should talk to your doctor immediately.
How Long Does It Take For Nyquil to Kick In?
It will take roughly 30 minutes for you to start feeling the effects of Nyquil, which will last for about eight hours. You should take it 30 to 60 minutes before you go to bed. If you’re taking it as a remedy for flu symptoms, you should take it every four to six hours. You should also drink plenty of water to stay hydrated when taking Nyquil.
Should You Use Nyquil?
If you have a mild cough or mild flu symptoms and want to treat them with medication, then yes, you should absolutely use Nyquil. But if you have severe flu symptoms or a bacterial infection, you should talk to your doctor before taking Nyquil. If you have allergies, it’s best to avoid Nyquil as it contains antihistamines, which can worsen allergies. Lastly, if you have high blood pressure or experience symptoms of withdrawal when you stop taking this medication, you may want to avoid taking it.
Nyquil is an effective treatment for cold and flu symptoms, but it’s not perfect. It’s not going to knock out your flu symptoms in one day. It’s going to take at least two days before you’re feeling better, even if you take it as soon as your symptoms appear. You’ll probably be better in about three days if you take it on the first day you feel off.
It’s not a long-term solution for your health, either. It’s meant to be used for a couple of days until you’re better and can resume your normal, healthy lifestyle.