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Dangers of Multiple Ingredient Cold Relief Medications: Part 1

Dangers of Multiple Ingredient Cold Relief Medications: Part 1

Once you’ve come down with a cold, the goal is to get better as soon as possible. The over-the-counter medication options can be overwhelming. Most common cold relief products include a combination of medications. These products are designed to have ingredients work together to combat symptoms with the benefit of taking only one product. For example, a combination drug can act as a multi-symptom product, as commonly seen with cold relief, and contain an antihistamine, decongestant and anti-inflammatory.  Although this offers a convenience, the multiple active-ingredient concept raises red-flags in reference to medication safety. 


According to the ConsumerMedSafety.org, published by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, two specific problems exist with multiple active-ingredient medicines: (1) taking unnecessary medication when you only need one, not all, of the active ingredients; (2) double dosing medication when an unwary user does not realize the ingredients that are contained in combination products. In this blog, we will examine the first problem. Since all medications have potential adverse effects, you don’t want to take medication if it is not going to be useful.  For example, with a cold, clinical studies indicate that antihistamines have a limited 2-day use in order to gain benefit. After 2 days (48 hours) of a cold, antihistamines should not be taken. Additionally, clinical studies reveal that antihistamines are only effective in treating runny nose, watery eyes and sneezing when used in conjunction with a decongestant. So, concomitant use is necessary to achieve any results in these first 2 days of a cold. Lastly, the type of antihistamines used for a cold must be a first-generation antihistamine. All of these are categorized as a sedative. Therefore, alcoholic beverages and other sedatives should be avoided while taking antihistamines. Medication warnings such as these reinforce the importance of only taking a medication that brings benefit. More about this topic will be discussed in a subsequent blog. 


Unlike other cold medications, Cold FAid® kits include single active-ingredient medications that will help your recovery in no time! Thus, Cold FAid® provides a superior safety profile. Cold FAid® uses: 

  • antihistamine: Chlorpheniramine Maleate; 
  • decongestant: Phenylephrine HCl, 
  • anti-inflammatory (NSAID): Naproxen Sodium. 

With these stand-alone products in our kit, you know exactly what medication you are taking and how much of it you are ingesting.


Stay healthy from a cold this summer with Cold FAid®!

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