Can You Take Mucinex With a Decongestant?

By Holly Huntington

When you have a cold, or the flu, you usually have mucus in your lungs and congestion in your nose. An expectorant like Mucinex can help your body break up and remove the mucus in your lungs, but you will need a decongestant to help rid you of the nasal congestion. Sometimes medications contain both an expectorant and a decongestant (like Mucinex D). In those instances, you should not take another decongestant on top of that.

Mucinex Defined

Mucinex is the brand name given to a group of medications on the market that can aid with decreasing mucus, minimizing nasal congestion, controlling coughs, clearing sinus congestion or doing a combination of these things. The six Mucinex products are all different to some degree and address different health problems. In addition, only one of them is made strictly for children’s use (Mucinex Cough), and the two nasal sprays (Mucinex Full Force and Moisture Smart) are not to be used on children under the age of six.

Types of Mucinex

The six Mucinex products are: Mucinex (expectorant only), Mucinex D (expectorant and decongestant combined), Mucinex DM (expectorant and a cough suppressant), Mucinex Cough (expectorant and cough suppressant for children) and Mucinex Nasal Sprays Full Force and Moisture Smart (expectorant and decongestant combined in both).

Mucinex

Mucinex can be taken along with a decongestant if the individual is experiencing nasal congestion and needs it. However, since this medicine does not contain a decongestant, it might be more advisable to use Mucinex D instead, if both an expectorant and a decongestant are needed, rather than pairing Mucinex with another company’s decongestant. This would eliminate any potential drug interactions between brands.

Mucinex D

You should not take this type of Mucinex with a decongestant, since it already has an adequate supply of a decongestant in it. To do so could result in the following side effects, according to Drugs.com (see link in References Section below): pounding heartbeat, difficulty breathing and swelling of the throat, severe dizziness, increased blood pressure, numbness, chest pain and even seizures.

Mucinex DM

This medication does not contain a decongestant; it only contains an expectorant and a cough suppressant. Therefore, it would be okay to add a decongestant for nasal congestion, if needed. But choosing the Mucinex product that contains both an expectorant and a decongestant (Mucinex D), instead, might be the wiser approach, unless you need a cough suppressant too.

Mucinex Cough

This product is for children only, and it does not contain a decongestant. But your pediatrician should be consulted before choosing to use any health care product for your child, including Mucinex and/or any decongestant, since the child’s age and health history need to be considered before treatment.

Mucinex Nasal Sprays

Mucinex Full Force and Moisture Smart both contain decongestants, so it would be hazardous to your health to use them in conjunction with another decongestant. In addition, both of these products seek to intensify and speed-up medical relief of decongestion – as well as lengthen its duration (up to 12 hours) – making it even more dangerous to add another decongestant to the mix.

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