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Date of last update: 9/5/2017.

Forum Name: Pharmacy & Drug Topics

Question: Nyquil Liquid for Insomnia

 natemom2004 - Tue Feb 26, 2008 2:12 pm

I am a 33 year old female who has suffered from insomnia my entire adult life, and even periods of my childhood. I have been on every RX Sleep medication there is, I think. But honestly, what works best for me, is Nyquil Cough Liquid! For the past two years, I have not been on any RX drugs at all - but I do take 2 Tablespoons of Nyquil Cough Liquid each night at bedtime and I am able to sleep very well. But I just want to make sure this won't do long term damage to me or my liver or anything, since I have been taking this nightly for 2 years, and would like to continue. I do not drink or smoke and am otherwise very healthy. I assume that this Nyquil cough is safer than RX narcotics for insomnia, but
I want to make sure. Any effects of using this long term?

The Nyquil that I take contains no acetaminophen, but does contain:
Active Ingredients (in each 15 ml tablespoon) (Purpose)
Dextromethorphan HBr 15 mg (Cough suppressant)
Doxylamine succinate 6.25 mg (Antihistamine)

Inactive Ingredients:
Alcohol, citric acid, FD&C Blue No. 1, FD&C Red No. 40, flavor, high fructose corn syrup, polyethylene glycol, propylene glycol, purified water, saccharin sodium, sodium citrate

Thank you so much for your response!
 Debbie Miller, RN - Wed Feb 27, 2008 6:24 pm

User avatar Hello,
In addition to the ingredients you listed, Nyquil contains about 10% alcohol so you are actually getting a "nightcap" when you take this. It's a fairly low dose and a pretty expensive way to get a little alcohol to sleep on. The antihistamine is also commonly used in such over-the-counter sleep aids as Unisom so you may get the same result from that. The cough suppressant ingredient is sometimes helpful with pain so perhaps you are having some underlying and unrecognized pain. You might do just as well taking a Unisom and acetaminophen for pain at a fraction of the cost.

Long-term concerns would be mostly if this is an addiction for you. Do you "need" the alcohol that is present here? You should not add alcohol to this or operate machinery after taking it. I am not aware of any serious problems with taking this daily. Because it is an antihistamine it could theoretically affect your body's immune response. Whatever you do, if you see your doctor for other conditions, be sure you notify him/her so they will watch for negative drug-drug interactions.

It is important when insomnia is present to try to determine the underlying cause of the sleep disorder, rather than just treating the symptoms so you might benefit from a sleep study.

Best wishes.

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