NyQuil: Ingredients, Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Reviews

What Is NyQuil?

NyQuil is a popular over-the-counter medication that treats the symptoms of the flu, the common cold, and other similar illnesses and allergies. It is manufactured and sold by Vicks, a U.S. medicine company. NyQuil provides temporary relief for coughing, headaches, stuffy and runny nose, sore throat, fever, and sneezing. It also helps people with cold symptoms sleep through the night. While it provides relief for cold symptoms, it is not a cure for the common cold or the flu. NyQuil is generally safe and effective for adults and children over the age of 6. 

What are the ingredients in NyQuil?

There are three active ingredients in NyQuil namely:

  • Acetaminophen: is an analgesic that relieves pain and lowers fever by stopping the production of certain chemicals in the brain that causes both pain and fever.
  • Dextromethorphan: is a cough suppressant that works in the part of your brain that makes you cough, calming it down and telling your body to cough less.
  • Doxylamine: is an antihistamine that works by blocking histamine, a natural chemical in your body that causes congestion, sneezing, and wakefulness.

How should I take NyQuil Cold & Flu?

Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use it for longer than recommended. Cough and cold medicines are usually taken only for a short time until your symptoms clear up. Typical dosing for Nyquil Cold and Flu are as follows:

Oral liquid: Each 30 mL dose cup contains 650 mg of acetaminophen, 30 mg of dextromethorphan, and 12.5 mg of doxylamine.

•          Adults and children 12 years and older: The typical dose is 30 mL (2 tablespoons) by mouth every 6 hours. Don’t take more than 120 mL (8 tablespoons) in a 24-hour period unless your provider specifically told you to do so.

•          Children 4-11 years old: Ask your child’s provider.

•          Children 3 years and younger: Don’t use.

Oral capsules: Each capsule contains 325 mg of acetaminophen, 15 mg of dextromethorphan, and 6.25 mg of doxylamine.

•          Adults and children 12 years and older: The typical dose is 2 capsules by mouth with water every 6 hours. Don’t take more than 8 capsules in a 24-hour period unless your provider specifically told you to do so.

•          Children 4-11 years old: Ask your child’s provider.

•          Children 3 years and younger: Don’t use.

NyQuil Severe
NyQuil Severe

Do not take more of this medication than is recommended. An overdose of acetaminophen can damage your liver or cause death. Measure liquid medicine with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

Stop taking the medicine and call your doctor if you still have a sore throat after 2 days, or if you have a fever, headache, rash, nausea, or vomiting.

If you need surgery or medical tests, tell the surgeon or doctor ahead of time if you have taken Nyquil Cold & Flu within the past few days.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Do not allow the liquid medicine to freeze.

What are the side effects of taking NyQuil?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:

•          allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue

•          breathing problems

•          changes in vision

•          confusion

•          over excited, nervous, or restless

•          problems with balance, talking, walking

•          trouble passing urine or change in the amount of urine

•          unusual bleeding or bruising

•          unusually weak or tired

•          yellowing of the eyes or skin

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

•          drowsy, tired

•          headache

•          nausea, stomach upset

This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What may interact with NyQuil?

Do not take NyQuil with any of the following medications:

•         MAOIs like Carbex, Eldepryl, Marplan, Nardil, and Parnate

This medicine may also interact with the following medications:

•          alcohol

•          furazolidone

•          imatinib

•          isoniazid

•          linezolid

•          other medicines for cold, cough, or allergy

•          other medicines with acetaminophen

•          procarbazine

This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.

What should I watch for while using NyQuil?

Tell your doctor or healthcare professional if your symptoms do not start to get better or if they get worse. Let your doctor know if the pain or cough gets worse or lasts for more than 7 days. Call your doctor if a fever gets worse or lasts for more than 3 days. If a cough does not go away, if a cough comes back, or if it occurs with a rash or headache see your doctor. Also see your doctor if a sore throat lasts more than 2 days or if it occurs with a fever, rash, headache, nausea, or vomiting.

You may get drowsy, dizzy, or sleepy while taking NyQuil. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells. Alcohol may interfere with the effect of this medicine. Avoid alcoholic drinks.

Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen with this medicine. Always read labels carefully. If you have questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

If you take too much acetaminophen get medical help right away. Too much acetaminophen can be very dangerous and cause liver damage. Even if you do not have symptoms, it is important to get help right away.


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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