Can you take NyQuil after Sudafed PE? (3 important precautions)

In this article, we will discuss whether you can safely take NyQuil after Sudafed PE. We will also discuss some potential risks of combining Sudafed PE with some of the NyQuil formulations. 

Can you take NyQuil after Sudafed PE?

Yes, you can take NyQuil after Sudafed PE. It is absolutely safe to take these two together and no interactions are reported.

However, it is crucial to stick to the original version of NyQuil, as this OTC nighttime medication is available in other formulations which should not be paired with Sudafed PE or any other decongestant.

NyQuil contains three active ingredients (1):

  • Acetaminophen – painkiller and fever reducer
  • Dextromethorphan – cough suppressant
  • Doxylamine – antihistamine 

Sudafed PE, on the other hand, contains Phenylephrine – which is a nasal decongestant (2). Since none of the ingredients are overlapping, this combination is considered safe.

Additionally, there are plenty of other OTC formulations which already contain the above-mentioned all four ingredients. These are the medications you need to look out for and should never combine with NyQuil or Sudafed.

Potential benefits of taking NyQuil after Sudafed PE

Taking NyQuil after Sudafed PE have some potential benefits when you’re dealing with multiple cold and flu symptoms. NyQuil can help manage symptoms like fever, pain, allergy symptoms, and cough (1).  Phenylephrine can help with nasal congestion (2).

Together these meds can control various cold and flu symptoms effectively, as NyQuil does not work for nasal congestion and Sudafed PE does not work for other cold and flu symptoms.

However, NyQuil can induce sleep, as Doxylamine added to it is a sedative antihistamine (1). This helps you sleep at night while the other ingredients actively control multiple symptoms. 

Potential risks of taking Sudafed PE with other NyQuil formulations 

While the original NyQuil does not interact with Sudafed PE and the two can be safely taken together, other formulations of NyQuil are not recommended to take with Sudafed PE. NyQuil is available as NyQuil Severe, which already contains Phenylephrine (3).

Taking it together with Sudafed PE can cause an increased level of Phenylephrine in your body, which can lead to side effects. Common side effects associated with Phenylephrine include (4):

  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety 
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Shaking
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Upset stomach
  • Dry mouth
  • Palpitations

The severity of these side effects can vary from person to person. Some people may not experience much, but decongestants like Phenylephrine can make some individuals extremely restless, because of the stimulant effects.  

How to make sure you’re taking the right NyQuil formulation?

To make sure that you’re taking the right formulation of NyQuil, properly read the label. It clearly tells you about all the active ingredients added to the formulation. The original NyQuil is available under the name ‘NyQuil Cold & Flu’ and contains only three active ingredients, as discussed earlier.

If you’re confused about making the right decision, please consult the on-duty pharmacist. Furthermore, you can take NyQuil Severe which already contains Phenylephrine, which means that you don’t take to take Sudafed PE (3).

You can get all 4 ingredients in one formulation and it’s easier to take one pill for that. 


In this article, we have discussed the concomitant use of NyQuil and Sudafed PE. We have also discussed the potential benefits of the combination and potential risks of combining Sudafed PE with the wrong NyQuil formulation. 

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LABEL: VICKS NYQUIL COLD AND FLU- acetaminophen, dextromethorphan hydrobromide, and doxylamine succinate capsule, liquid filled. DailyMed [Internet]. Available from:


LABEL: SUDAFED PE- phenylephrine hydrochloride tablet. DailyMed [Internet]. Available from:


LABEL: VICKS NYQUIL SEVERE COLD AND FLU- acetaminophen, dextromethorphan hydrobromide, doxylamine succinate, and phenylephrine hydrochloride solution. DailyMed [Internet]. Available from:


Richards E, Lopez MJ, Maani CV. Phenylephrine. 2023 Jul 10. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 30521222. Available from: