Should I take this OTC drug?
May 9, 2020 9:12 PM   Subscribe

I'm pretty sure I've got a sinus infection coming on. All the usual symptoms. I shopped for guaifenesin and got some guaifenesin/dextromethorphan tablets, because that's what the store had. Now I'm rethinking my purchase. I don't have a cough, and I'm not eager to take a medicine I don't need. Would it be a bad idea to take this?
posted by bryon to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
On the off chance that you actually have, or come down with COVID-19, dextromethorphan is not recommended.

I'm of the same nature as you; I try to avoid multi ingredient "solutions" as interactions may not be what I hoped.

The Nature paper involved.
posted by blob at 10:06 PM on May 9

Covid aside, I get a couple nasty sinus infections a year and avoid DXM unless I have a bad cough because I don't like the head space it puts me in and I think that causes my sleep to not be as restful. Maybe abusing it causes a different mental effect, but every time I need it I'm astounded that bored teenagers say to themselves, "this, but more of it."
posted by Candleman at 10:22 PM on May 9

I don't know if it would be a bad idea, but a decent number of people sometimes have somewhat unpleasant reactions to DXM. Would I run the risk, though, of going back to a drugstore to exchange it, rather than try one first? No.
posted by praemunire at 11:17 PM on May 9

I wouldn't bother. I'd just rest, drink plenty of fluids, use a saline nasal spray to help with congestion, and treat aches and pains with a small amount of painkillers. I would organise a telehealth appointment with a doctor if I had any concerns.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 1:46 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]

For a sinus infection you probably want pseudoephedrine, in my experience. But saline nasal spray and hot steamy showers help a lot too.
posted by mskyle at 3:26 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]

Yeah, another vote for not taking DXM unless you actually need it.

I'd second the suggestions for saline nasal spray/rinse and pseudoephedrine if you can take it safely. And drinking more water. As my ENT likes to say, you need to keep the water reservoir full to make quality snot.
posted by pie ninja at 4:51 AM on May 10

Concur, I'd skip the cough meds. I've had good luck with a combination of pseudoephedrine and saline rinsing and maybe hot showers. Depending where you are, sinus infections are one of the things telemedicine can be really good with. You describe symptoms, you get antibiotics if that's what it seems like is going on.
posted by jessamyn at 10:04 AM on May 10

Okay, I'm going to give the DM a miss. Thanks, everyone!
posted by bryon at 1:57 PM on May 10

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