Is it safe to take Lexapro and NyQuil together?

Is it safe to take Lexapro and NyQuil together?

Lexapro and NyQuil may interact with one another if taken at the same time. Lexapro (Escitalopram) is an antidepressant which increases the amount of active serotonin in your brain to counteract the symptoms associated with depression. 

NyQuil contains 3 active ingredients, one of which is Dextromethorphan – a cough suppressant. Dextromethorphan can interact with Escitalopram since it also has stimulatory effects on your brain. 

The two meds, if taken together, can increase the risk of a rare, but dangerous condition called serotonin syndrome. 

Risk of serotonin syndrome 

Serotonin syndrome is associated with too much serotonergic activity. Since both Lexapro and Dextromethorphan in NyQuil can enhance the excitatory activity in your brain, you’re at high risk of this syndrome. The symptoms associated with this condition are:

  • Excessive sweating 
  • Fever with chills
  • confusion
  • Restlessness and fatigue
  • Headache, which often feels like your head is pounding
  • Changes in blood pressure and/or temperature
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Bradycardia
  • Tremors
  • Muscle twitching and muscle pain
  • Shivering and goosebumps

These side effects can vary from person to person and serotonin syndrome does not commonly occur. It is mostly reported after overdosing on CNS stimulatory medications, antidepressants, or in people who are extremely sensitive to such medications. 

Although it’s rare, the symptoms as you can see are quite nerve-racking and could lead to life-threatening complications. This is why it’s best to avoid using Lexapro and NyQuil. 

However, NyQuil contains other active ingredients – Acetaminophen and Doxylamine. Acetaminophen is absolutely safe to use with Lexapro, but Doxylamine could cause excess drowsiness especially if Lexapro makes you tired and sleepy too. 

Pharmacist’s advice 

If you’re struggling with common cold & flu symptoms while being treated with Lexapro, I recommend using the following medications:

  • Non-sedative antihistamines, like Loratadine, Fexofenadine, etc. 
  • Expectorants, like Guaifenesin 
  • Nasal decongestants, like Phenylephrine and Pseudoephedrine 
  • Acetaminophen 
  • Vitamin C and Zinc supplements 
  • Honey

The above-mentioned options are safe to use with Lexapro and antidepressants in general. 

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MedlinePlus. Escitalopram: MedlinePlus drug information [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); [updated 2022 Feb 15; cited 2022 Dec 9]. Available from:


MedlinePlus. Dextromethorphan: MedlinePlus drug information [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); [updated 2022 Feb 15; cited 2022 Dec 9]. Available from:

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