Can You Take Delsym and Nyquil Together

Can You Take Delsym and NyQuil Together“? When you’re feeling sick, you might reach for over-the-counter medications to help you feel better. The confluence of medications, particularly over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, is a prevalent concern for many when battling common illnesses like flu or cold. Two widely recognized OTC medications are Dеlsym, an effective respiratory cough suppressant, and NyQuil, a multi-symptom nighttime cold and flu relief medicine. Both are well-known for working well on certain symptoms, but taking them together can have some negative effects. The main things to consider are safety, how they might affect each other, and possible side effects. Always be careful when mixing medicines and know the possible dangers.

Ingredients in Delsym and NyQuil 

Delsym: Delsym is known for its extended-release cough suppressant formulation. Its primary active ingredient is dextromethorphan, which affects the brain’s signals that trigger the cough reflex. Delsym’s formulation provides up to 12 hours of cough relief.

NyQuil: NyQuil is a popular nighttime relief medication for symptoms associated with cold and flu. It contains multiple active ingredients, including:

  • Acetaminophen: Pain reliever and fever reducer.
  • Dextromethorphan: As mentioned, a cough suppressant.
  • Doxylamine: An antihistamine that helps alleviate sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes.
  • Alcohol (in some formulations): Acts as a solvent and can have sedative effects.

Can You Take Delsym and NyQuil Together

When considering the combination of Delsym and NyQuil, it’s important to be cautious and aware of potential risks. Here are the key considerations:

Duplication of Active Ingredients

Delsym and many NyQuil formulations contain dextromethorphan, a cough suppressant. Taking them together could lead to an excessive dose of DM.

Potential for Overdose

  • Acetaminophen: Combining NyQuil formulations containing acetaminophen (a pain and fever reducer) with other products can increase the risk of liver damage. Overdosing on acetaminophen, even by a small amount, can be harmful.
  • Dextromethorphan: Overdosing can lead to symptoms like drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, increased heart rate, and hallucinations.

Increased Drowsiness

Many NyQuil formulations contain doxylamine, an antihistamine that can cause drowsiness. Combining multiple medicines that cause drowsiness can enhance the sedative effect, potentially making activities like driving or operating machinery dangerous.

Alcohol Content

Some NyQuil formulations contain a small amount of alcohol. Alcohol can intensify the drowsiness effect and have other interactions if you take additional medications.

Interactions with Other Medications

Always check for potential interactions with other medicines you might be taking. For instance, if you’re on MAO inhibitors (an antidepressant), you should avoid dextromethorphan.

Prolonged Use

Continually using over-the-counter medications without a doctor’s advice can mask underlying health issues or lead to potential health risks. It’s always good to consult a healthcare professional if symptoms persist or there’s any uncertainty about medication combinations.

Underlying Health Conditions

If you have certain health conditions, such as liver problems, glaucoma, breathing problems, or urinary retention, some of the ingredients in these medications might not be suitable or may require adjustment.

Potential benefits of using Delsym and NyQuil individually


  • Extended-Release Cough Suppressant: Delsym contains dextromethorphan polistirex, designed to relieve long-lasting cough. It can suppress coughs for up to 12 hours.
  • Targeted Treatment: For those who primarily suffer from a persistent cough without other significant cold or flu symptoms, Delsym offers a specialized treatment without additional, unnecessary medications.
  • Less Sedating: Delsym’s primary function is as a cough suppressant, and it doesn’t contain antihistamines known for causing drowsiness, making it potentially less sedating than other multi-symptom treatments.


  • Multi-Symptom Relief: NyQuil is formulated to address various cold and flu symptoms, such as cough, sore throat, fever, runny nose, and sneezing.
  • Nighttime Formulation: The antihistamine component of NyQuil (often doxylamine) can induce drowsiness, helping users get a restful night’s sleep, especially when cold and flu symptoms might otherwise keep them awake.
  • Pain and Fever Reducer: NyQuil contains acetaminophen, which can help reduce fever and relieve minor aches and pains.
  • Convenience: Instead of taking multiple medications to address different symptoms, NyQuil offers a combined solution, simplifying the treatment process.

Safe Practices when combining Delsym and NyQuil

Consultation with Healthcare Professional

Before taking any combination of over-the-counter medications, consult with a healthcare professional to ensure that the mix is appropriate for your specific health conditions and other medications you might be taking.

Avoid Duplication of Ingredients

Always read the labels of Delsym and NyQuil to ensure you’re not doubling up on active ingredients like dextromethorphan. Remember that taking a double dose can increase the risk of side effects.

Monitor Total Acetaminophen Intake

The maximum recommended dose of acetaminophen for adults is typically 4000 mg daily. Ensure that your combined intake from all sources including NyQuil or other medications doesn’t exceed this limit to prevent potential liver damage.

Limit Alcohol Consumption

Some NyQuil formulations might contain alcohol and that alcohol can enhance the sedative effects of some of NyQuil’s ingredients, it’s wise to avoid or limit alcohol consumption when taking these medications.

Be Aware of Sedation

Both Delsym and NyQuil can cause drowsiness. This effect might be amplified when the two are combined. Avoid activities that require alertness, such as driving or operating machinery, when taking these medications together.

Use for Short-term Relief Only

Over-the-counter medications like Delsym and NyQuil are intended for short-term use. If symptoms persist or if there’s a need to take these medications for extended periods, consult with a healthcare provider.

Store Medications Safely

Ensure that both medications are stored out of reach of children and pets. Accidental ingestion can be harmful, especially given the potential for higher doses when multiple medications are involved.

Follow Recommended Dosage

Always follow the recommended dosage and never take more than the advised amount of either medication, even if symptoms persist. Taking more than the recommended dose can lead to adverse effects.

Monitor for Adverse Reactions

Pay attention to how your body reacts after taking the combination. If you notice any unusual symptoms, like excessive drowsiness, confusion, or rapid heartbeat, seek medical attention.

Final Thoughts

When considering any combination of over-the-counter medications, it’s essential to be informed about potential interactions and side effects. Delsym (dextromethorphan) is primarily a cough suppressant, while Nyquil contains multiple active ingredients, including acetaminophen (a pain reliever and fever reducer), dextromethorphan (a cough suppressant), and doxylamine (an antihistamine). While there might be situations where taking both could be deemed appropriate, it’s critical to avoid excessive dosing and to be aware of potential compound side effects. 

By Caitlyn

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