Can You Take Cold Medicine While You’re On Antidepressants?

Cold Medicine Interactions With Antidepressants

Many people around the world are prescribed some sort of antidepressant medication. Antidepressants are typically prescribed by psychiatrists or primary care physicians to improve depression symptoms.

Since antidepressants cause changes in the brain, it is recommended that they’re not mixed with other drugs or substances. Some medicines, however, can be purchased over the counter and used with almost no thought. So what would happen if someone on antidepressants woke up with a cold and took a few pills to relieve it?

What Antidepressants Do to the Body & Mind

Antidepressants work to balance the neurotransmitters in the brain, which affect mood and emotions. When someone with depression takes antidepressant medication daily, they should begin to feel positive changes in their mood, appetite, concentration, and sleeping patterns.

They do, however, come with some side effects as well. Everyone who takes antidepressants will likely have a unique experience, especially considering that there are various different types of antidepressants. These problems are usually mild and will typically go away after someone has been using antidepressants for a few weeks.

The side effects of antidepressants may include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Restlessness
  • Dry mouth
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Weight gain

Drugs You Shouldn’t Mix With Antidepressants

As we mentioned earlier, it’s not recommended to combine antidepressants with any other substances. But where is the line drawn?

Firstly, you should not combine alcohol with antidepressants. This can be severely dangerous and counteract the intended benefits of the medication. Antidepressants should also not be mixed with drugs like cocaine, benzodiazepines, or heroin.

But there is a gray area with more common, over-the-counter medications such as cold medicine. While you technically can mix antidepressants and cold medicines, you should be aware of the potential dangers first.

What Is In Cold Medicine?

Every type and brand of cold medicine uses different ingredients; but most over the counter medications for the cold include some or all of the following:

  • Decongestants
  • Antihistamines
  • Cough suppressants
  • Expectorants

These elements typically help relieve the symptoms of a cold, including a cough and stuffy nose. They’re usually harmless, but can be dangerous when interacting with certain other medications.

Can You Combine Antidepressants & Cold Medicine?

The short answer is: you can, but it’s not recommended because of the risks. The combination of antidepressants and cold medicine may increase serotonin levels, which could cause Serotonin Syndrome. This syndrome causes high blood pressure, change in body temperature, issues with muscle movement, and mood changes.

Cold medicine also may intensify the typical side effects of antidepressants. For example, someone on antidepressants that uses cold medicine may experience worse headaches or added nausea.

 

Using Antidepressants & Cold Medicine Responsibly

If you are on antidepressants and want to use cold medicine to reduce mild cold symptoms, consult your doctor first. There are many different types of antidepressants, and not all of them should interact with every ingredient that may be in certain cold medicines.

If your doctor says it’s okay for you to combine the two medications, be sure not to take more than the prescribed dosage. Call a medical professionally immediately if you experience shivering, tremors, heart palpitations, stiffness, or confusion while on antidepressants and cold medicine.

Everyone gets a cold from time to time. If you get sick while you’re on antidepressants, it might be best to stop taking them for a few days to avoid the risks of the combination. While off your antidepressants, take care of your body and mind. Take a sick day, exercise lightly, eat well, and drink lots of water.

To learn more about cold medicine’s interactions with antidepressants and other medications, contact our team of medical and mental health professionals by visiting us here or calling 866-345-2147.