Drinking alcohol while taking Mucinex can cause unwanted side effects. Doctors generally consider it unsafe. Mixing the two can cause rapid heart rate, liver damage, and more.

Mucinex is a type of medication that contains guaifenesin. Guaifenesin helps loosen mucus from the lungs so that they can bring up the mucus more effectively when a person coughs.

Alcohol is a depressant that can slow a person’s breathing, cause dizziness, and affect their balance. It can also interfere with other medications, including Mucinex.

This article explains the risks of mixing alcohol and Mucinex, safety, possible side effects, and more.

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Mucinex is a medication that contains guaifenesin and acetaminophen, along with phenylephrine.

Guaifenesin is a drug that treats the symptoms of chest congestion and cough.

Acetaminophen is an over-the-counter (OTC) medication that can relieve mild to moderate pain. Manufacturers sometimes combine it with other medications for the treatment of colds, flu, and other viral infections.

Mixing alcohol with Mucinex and its ingredients — guaifenesin and acetaminophen — can cause:

There is another version of Mucinex called Mucinex DM. It contains dextromethorphan (DXM), a substance that helps suppress the urge to cough. Mixing alcohol with DXM increases the risk of overdose.

Therefore, it is generally not safe to mix Mucinex and alcohol.

Is it OK to have 1 or 2 drinks?

The drug label states that people should avoid drinking three or more alcoholic drinks daily while taking Mucinex.

However, the alcohol content of drinks can vary. Mixing any amount of alcohol with acetaminophen increases the risk of unwanted side effects and complications.

The safest option is to avoid alcohol entirely while taking Mucinex.

What to do if you’ve already had a drink

In some cases, a person may have already taken Mucinex before having an alcoholic beverage, forgetting that they should not mix the two.

One standard drink should not pose any significant risks. However, it is best for a person to stop drinking once they realize their mistake. This is because any more than three alcoholic drinks can pose a risk of side effects.

Any amount of alcohol could increase the side effects of Mucinex, such as dizziness and nausea. If a person experiences enhanced side effects that worry them, they should contact a doctor.

Learn more

Learn more about acetaminophen, alcohol, and other substances:

There are a number of risks and side effects a person may experience if they drink alcohol while taking Mucinex.

Increased side effects

Drinking alcohol while taking Mucinex can increase the existing side effects of both Mucinex and the alcohol itself.

People can experience heightened Mucinex side effects when consuming alcohol. Alcohol can irritate the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, heightening the GI symptoms that medical professionals associate with Mucinex.

Some potential side effects that alcohol may worsen include:

Increased intoxication

Consuming alcohol while taking Mucinex can lead to increased intoxication.

This is because some of the side effects of Mucinex can amplify the intoxicating effects of alcohol, such as drowsiness and dizziness.

Additionally, in regard to Mucinex DM, the combination of DXM and alcohol can have dangerous consequences.

Both DXM and alcohol can have depressant effects on the brain. They dull a person’s senses and slow down their coordination and judgment.

Risk of accidents

Both alcohol and Mucinex can cause drowsiness.

Taking both of them together can amplify these effects and cause people to become more drowsy or dizzy.

This can lead to injury because a person is more likely to trip or fall over.

Risk of overdose

Some of the ingredients in Mucinex and Mucinex DM, such as guaifenesin and DXM, increase the risk of overdose when mixed with alcohol.

An overdose is when a person takes too much of a substance that their body cannot safely handle. This can lead to serious symptoms. In some cases, overdosing can be fatal.

A similar product to Mucinex, Mucinex DM, contains DXM, an OTC cough suppressant.

People can misuse DXM because it can cause euphoria and other psychedelic symptoms. However, using any medical substance to get “high” or for anything other than its intended purpose can be dangerous.

The risks of DXM misuse increase when a person also uses alcohol. Mixing alcohol with large amounts of DXM can be life threatening.

Taking DXM in high doses can cause DXM poisoning, which can cause:

Mixing alcohol with DXM makes these risks more likely, as it increases the risk of overdose.

Seeking help for addiction may seem daunting or even scary, but several organizations can provide support. If you believe that you or someone close to you is struggling with addiction, you can contact the following organizations for immediate help and advice:

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a medical condition that describes when a person continues using alcohol despite adverse effects on their health and other aspects of their life. More than 14 million U.S. adults have AUD.

A person with AUD may not be able to abstain from drinking, even while taking OTC medication that they should not mix with alcohol.

If a person has AUD, help is available. A person can contact a doctor about how to treat and manage AUD. They may suggest:

  • Medical treatments: These may include medication to manage cravings, withdrawal, and coexisting mental health conditions.
  • Therapy: Methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and psychotherapy can help a person address the underlying causes of AUD.
  • Support groups: Joining Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other peer-led support groups can give a person a space to share their experiences with others who understand.

Some organizations that can help people living with AUD include:

Learn more

Help is available for people who misuse alcohol and other substances. Learn more here:

Alcohol has a negative impact on the immune system. If someone is feeling under the weather already, it is recommended they avoid alcohol.

The immune system is the body’s natural defense against infection. It comprises a complex network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body from germs.

Alcohol can affect the immune system in many ways. Alcohol interferes with the production of white blood cells and slows down their ability to fight off illness or infection.

In addition, alcohol can cause inflammation throughout the body, which can further weaken immunity.

People should seek medical attention if they experience the following:

  • a fever that gets worse or lasts more than 3 days
  • cough returning or occurring with a rash or headache
  • dizziness
  • nervousness
  • new symptoms
  • pain, nasal congestion, or a cough getting worse or lasting more than 7 days
  • redness or swelling
  • sleeplessness

People are advised to talk with a doctor if they think they will not be able to abstain from alcohol while taking Mucinex. This may be a sign of AUD, and a doctor can offer treatment.

Although some people may feel fine after having one or two drinks while taking Mucinex, it is best to avoid combining the two.

If a person has one or two drinks and has minor side effects, such as increased dizziness or nausea, these effects typically go away within a few hours, once the effects of the alcohol wear off.

However, more serious symptoms, such as an overdose resulting from heavy alcohol use and Mucinex, may mean a person requires immediate medical assistance.

Overdoses resulting from alcohol and drug misuse can be fatal.

Mucinex is a medication that healthcare professionals use to treat congestion and other symptoms caused by the common cold and flu.

It contains guaifenesin, an expectorant. Some variations also contain dextromethorphan (DXM), a cough suppressant.

The most common side effect of Mucinex is drowsiness. Combining it with alcohol can increase its side effects. This can lead to dangerous health issues, such as liver damage, rapid heart rate, and an increased risk of overdose.