DayQuil Vs. DayQuil Severe: What Is The Difference?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses the difference between DayQuil and DayQuil Severe.

Question

What’s the difference between DayQuil and DayQuil severe?

Asked by Idris On Oct 17, 2022

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By HelloPharmacist Staff

Published Oct 17, 2022
Last updated Oct 17, 2022

Key points

  • DayQuil Severe Cold & Flu Relief contains one additional drug when compared to DayQuil Cold and Flu Relief, guaifenesin.
  • Guaifenesin is the active ingredient contained in Mucinex, and helps to thin/loosen mucus secretions.

Answer

DayQuil Cold and Flu and DayQuil Severe Cold and Flu are both medications used to treat the symptoms associated with a cold or flu. The difference is in the ingredients each product contains and what symptoms those ingredients will work on.

DayQuil Cold and Flu Relief contains the following drugs:

  • Acetaminophen: Pain Reliever and Fever Reducer
  • Dextromethorphan: Cough suppressant used to help control a cough
  • Phenylephrine: Nasal decongestant used to help with sinus pressure and congestion

DayQuil Severe Cold & Flu Relief contain the following drugs:

  • Acetaminophen: Pain Reliever and Fever Reducer
  • Dextromethorphan: Cough suppressant used to help control a cough
  • Phenylephrine: Nasal decongestant used to help with sinus pressure and congestion
  • Guaifenesin: Expectorant used to loosen mucus and make a cough more productive

Difference Explained

As you can see from the ingredient list above, the main difference between the two products is that DayQuil Severe Cold & Flu Relief contains guaifenesin while DayQuil Cold and Flu Relief does not.

Guaifenesin is an expectorant that helps to thin and loosen mucus. It is sometimes referred to as a 'chest expectorant'. It can be useful for coughs that have a lot of mucus associated with them. It can help thin that mucus and make it easier to cough up.

The next section contains some general information on each drug that is contained in these two multi-drug products.

Acetaminophen

Acetaminophen is a pain reliever and fever reducer. It does not work on inflammation.

When taking a multi-drug product, it is important to note if the product contains acetaminophen and not exceed the daily recommended maximum. Acetaminophen has been associated with acute liver failure. Doses should not exceed 4 grams daily in adults. Often these multi-drug products will contain a pain reliever.

Dextromethorphan

Dextromethorphan Is a cough suppressant used to help control a cough. It is usually a well-tolerated medication. The most common side effects that have been reported are drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, and stomach upset.

Phenylephrine

Phenylephrine is a decongestant that helps relieve nasal and sinus congestion.

Patients with high blood pressure should check with their doctor or other healthcare providers before taking it. It can increase blood pressure and cause heart stimulation including palpitations, fast heartbeat, and arrhythmias. Other possible side effects include insomnia, anxiety, dizziness, headache, and upset stomach.

Guaifenesin

As mentioned, guaifenesin is only in the DayQuil Severe product. It is an expectorant used to loosen mucus and make a cough more productive. The most common side effects are dizziness, drowsiness, headache, nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain.

Final Words

It is always a good idea to only take medication that is needed. Pharmacists are excellent resources when there might be confusion about what product is most appropriate for your symptoms.

Thanks for reaching out!

References

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger, PharmD

Dr. Brian has been practicing pharmacy for over 11 years and has wide-ranging experiences in many different areas of the profession. From retail, clinical and administrative responsibilities, he's your knowledgeable and go-to source for all your pharmacy and medication-related questions! Feel free to send him an email at Hello@HelloPharmacist.com! You can also connect with Dr. Brian Staiger on LinkedIn.

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