Drugs Q & A

Does DayQuil Contain Caffeine?

When you’re feeling under the weather, reaching for an over-the-counter cold or flu medication like DayQuil can provide relief from bothersome symptoms. However, many people wonder if DayQuil contains caffeine, as caffeine is a common ingredient in some cold and flu remedies.

In this article, we will explore whether DayQuil contains caffeine and provide you with essential information about this popular medication.

What is DayQuil?

DayQuil is a widely used non-prescription medication that is designed to relieve common cold and flu symptoms, including congestion, coughing, sneezing, and aches. It comes in various formulations, but the most common one is DayQuil Cold & Flu, which typically contains three active ingredients:

1.        Acetaminophen: Acetaminophen is a common and well-known pain reliever and fever reducer. It works by blocking certain chemical signals in the brain that trigger pain and fever responses. It is often used to alleviate headaches, body aches, and reduce fever associated with colds and flu. It’s important to follow dosing instructions carefully, as excessive acetaminophen consumption can be harmful to the liver.

2.        Dextromethorphan: Dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant that helps relieve coughing associated with colds and upper respiratory infections. It works by acting on the cough center in the brain, reducing the urge to cough. Dextromethorphan is commonly used in over-the-counter cough and cold medications to provide relief from irritating and persistent coughs. It’s essential to use it as directed and avoid exceeding the recommended dosage.

3.        Phenylephrine: Phenylephrine is a decongestant that works by narrowing blood vessels in the nasal passages. This action reduces swelling and congestion in the nasal passages, making it easier to breathe. Phenylephrine is commonly used to relieve nasal congestion caused by colds, allergies, and sinus infections. It can help alleviate symptoms such as a stuffy or runny nose. Like other medications, it should be used according to the recommended dosage instructions to avoid potential side effects, such as increased blood pressure.

Keep in mind that while these ingredients are generally safe and effective when used as directed, it’s crucial to read and follow the package instructions carefully.

The Caffeine Question

The main concern for individuals curious about the presence of caffeine in DayQuil is often related to its potential side effects. Caffeine is a stimulant that can cause jitteriness, increased heart rate, and trouble sleeping. These effects can be unpleasant, especially for those trying to rest while recovering from a cold or flu.

Does DayQuil Contain Caffeine?

No, DayQuil does not contain caffeine in its standard formulation. However, there are other variations and combination products on the market, so it’s essential to read the label carefully if you have concerns about caffeine or any other specific ingredients. Each pill of DayQuil contains 325 mg of acetaminophen, 10 mg of dextromethorphan, and 5 mg of phenylephrine.

DayQuil has earned a reputation as a caffeine-free cold and flu remedy, making it a suitable choice for individuals who are sensitive to caffeine or need to take it before bedtime.

Variations of DayQuil?

While DayQuil itself doesn’t contain caffeine, there are variations and combination products that might. For example, NyQuil, which is made by the same company (Vicks), is designed for nighttime use and often contains an antihistamine called doxylamine succinate. Some versions of NyQuil may also contain caffeine to counteract drowsiness caused by the antihistamine. Therefore, it’s crucial to read the label carefully and choose the appropriate product based on your symptoms and the time of day you intend to use it.

Moreover, some generic or store-brand versions of DayQuil may have different formulations, so it’s wise to check the ingredient list on the packaging to confirm the absence of caffeine or other ingredients you want to avoid.

Can You Drink Coffee With Dayquil?

Combining coffee with DayQuil is a common concern for individuals seeking relief from cold or flu symptoms. Fortunately, the two can generally be consumed together without significant issues, but it’s essential to be mindful of certain considerations. First, DayQuil itself does not contain caffeine, so you won’t be doubling up on caffeine by having coffee with it. However, be cautious if you’re sensitive to caffeine or if you’ve already consumed a substantial amount of coffee, as excessive caffeine intake can lead to jitteriness and sleep disturbances.

Individual tolerance plays a vital role here, as caffeine affects people differently. While some can handle higher caffeine levels without problems, others may experience discomfort or increased heart rate. Staying hydrated is crucial, as both coffee and DayQuil can have mild dehydrating effects. Remember to drink plenty of water to maintain your fluid balance, especially when you’re under the weather.

Timing is another consideration. If you take DayQuil during the day, it might be best to have your coffee before or after taking the medication to avoid potential interactions. Always check for potential drug interactions if you are taking other medications, as caffeine can affect how they work.

Ultimately, if you have concerns about combining coffee with DayQuil or if you have underlying health conditions, consulting a healthcare professional or pharmacist is a wise step. They can offer personalized guidance to ensure your comfort and well-being while managing your cold or flu symptoms.


In summary, the standard formulation of DayQuil does not contain caffeine. It is a caffeine-free option for relieving common cold and flu symptoms during the day. However, it is crucial to be aware of variations and combination products, such as NyQuil, which may contain caffeine or other ingredients not found in the daytime version. Always read the label carefully and consult a healthcare professional if you have specific concerns or questions about the medications you are taking, especially if you are sensitive to caffeine or have other health conditions that may interact with the ingredients in these products.


Dr. Oche Otorkpa PG Cert, MPH, PhD

Dr. Oche is a seasoned Public Health specialist who holds a post graduate certificate in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, an MPH, and a PhD both from Texila American University. He is a member of the International Society of Substance Use Professionals and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK. He authored two books: "The Unseen Terrorist," published by AuthorHouse UK, and "The Night Before I Killed Addiction."
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