Do cough drops have alcohol in them? 

Do cough drops have alcohol in them? 

Some cough drops do have alcohol in them, but not all of them do. If you are concerned about that, check the list of ingredients as it is clearly mentioned on the packaging whether your cough drops have alcohol in them or not. 

Some common alcohol-containing cough drops include:

  • Ricola Cough Drops
  • Luden’s Cough Drops
  • Vicks VapoDrops
  • Fisherman’s Friend Cough Drops

Alcohol may also be added to other cold and cough formulations, including NyQuil, Robitussin, some Vicks formulas, and some bedtime cough drops or syrups. The amount of alcohol, however, varies (1). 

Make sure you talk to your pharmacist about it if you are concerned with the amount of alcohol in the cough drop you are using (2).

Why is alcohol added to some cough drops?

Alcohol is sometimes added to certain cough drops for specific reasons. One common reason is to help dissolve or extract the active ingredients present in the cough drop formulation. 

Alcohol can aid in dissolving certain compounds, making them easier to distribute evenly throughout the cough drop. This helps ensure that the active ingredients are effectively delivered to the throat and provide relief from cough and sore throat symptoms.

Additionally, alcohol can act as a preservative in cough drops. It helps inhibit the growth of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms that could potentially contaminate the cough drop and affect its quality and shelf life.

It’s important to note that the alcohol content in cough drops is typically very low and not intended for recreational consumption. The amount of alcohol present is generally considered safe for most individuals, and the primary purpose is to enhance the effectiveness and stability of the cough drop. 

Final words

To sum up, some cough drops do contain alcohol, but in small amounts. It’s generally considered safe to use. However, if you have concerns about alcohol consumption or specific health conditions that require you to avoid alcohol, talk to your healthcare provider

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Zuccotti GV, Fabiano V. Safety issues with ethanol as an excipient in drugs intended for pediatric use. Expert Opin Drug Saf. 2011 Jul;10(4):499-502. doi: 10.1517/14740338.2011.565328. Epub 2011 Mar 21. PMID: 21417862.