Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold and Sinus

1 What is Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold and Sinus?

Brand: Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold and Sinus, Genapap Sinus, Infants Tylenol Plus Cold, Mapap Sinus PE, Sinutab Sinus, Sudafed PE Sinus Headache

Generic: Antihistamine, Decongestant, And Analgesic Combination

Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold and Sinus is an oral medication which is used to relieve symptoms of:

Antihistamines are used to relieve symptoms of allergy, cold, hay fever and influenza.

Antihistamines commonly used include:

  • Brompheniramine
  • Chlorpheniramine
  • Dexbrompheniramine
  • Diphenhydramine
  • Pheniramine
  • Phenyltoloxamine
  • Pyrilamine
  • Triprolidine

Decongestants used commonly include Phenylephrine or Pseudoephedrine which causes narrowing of blood vessels resulting in clearing of nasal congestion.

However, this effect may cause increase in blood pressure. Analgesics used in this combination include Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen or Salicylates which decrease headache and sinus pain.

This combination is an over the counter drug which can be obtained in the form of:

  • Tablet
  • Capsule
  • Liquid
  • Suspension
  • Capsule
  • Liquid filled or Chewable tablet
  • Extended release tablet
  • Packet
  • Powder for solution
  • Effervescent tablet
  • Elixir
  • Syrup

2 What to Know Before Using

The patient is the authoritative figure when it comes to any medical procedure or any drug therapy. It is important for the patient to know all the details about Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold and Sinus and then start using it.

The doctor also has a duty to bring out answers from the patient which play an important role in treatment like history, any allergy or any medical condition the patient has. For this purpose, it is important to have a detailed session between the patient and the physician before starting this drug to sort out all the details.

Detailed history of a patient is extremely important prior to any medical therapy and in this case, it is more likely that a drug be started after it. Allergies or any history of allergy to any drug, food, preservatives, dyes or animal products; history of drug usage, past medical or surgical procedure should also be kept in record to predict any drug interaction.

Physical examination should be done before starting this drug so that any physiological or pathological condition with which this drug may interfere may be ruled out.

Age specific analysis is vital to have information about side effects of different age groups. Special care should be taken while giving this medication in children. Children are more prone to increase in blood pressure due to decongestants, so vitals monitoring is essential. Aspirin and other salicylates should be given with care in young patients having fever and flu like symptoms as it may lead to a complication called Reye’s Syndrome. 

Elderly patients are more sensitive to the effects of this drug and hence special care must be taken for use in this age group.

This drug combination is quite safe for use in pregnancy if it does not contain Alcohol (which may be found in some drug formulations). There are limited studies in pregnant women about the drugs used in this combination except Aspirin which has been found to be safe for use in both pregnant and breastfeeding women. The excessive use of Salicylates in the third trimester of pregnancy may cause bleeding problems in fetus. 

Drug interactions are the effects on the therapy or the condition for which the drug is used by other drugs used concomitantly. It is necessary that no drug be started without consulting a physician as other drugs may cause alteration in the effect of this drug or its removal from the body.

The use of this drug with some drugs is contraindicated and the physician may change one drug or the other for the betterment of the patient.

These drugs include:

  • Clorgyline
  • Dichlorphenamide
  • Dihydroergotamine
  • Live influenza virus vaccine
  • Iproniazid
  • Isocarboxazid
  • Ketorolac
  • Linezolid
  • Safinamide
  • Pargyline
  • Phenelzine
  • Procarbazine
  • Rasagiline
  • Riociguat
  • Selegiline
  • Sibutramine
  • Tranylcypromine

There are certain drugs which result in increase in interactions and hence these should be used with extreme care.

Such drugs include:

  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Anti-clotting and clotting factors
  • Warfarin
  • Heparin
  • Sedatives
  • Anti-depressants
  • Other NSAIDs
  • Methotrexate
  • Live varicella vaccine
  • Immune depressants
  • Anti-psychotics
  • Anti-virals

Patient should also be counselled about effects of alcohol and tobacco on the patient as these may cause severe interactions.

Medical conditions, other than the condition for which this drug is used, may also affect working of the drug and cause harm. It is important for the patient to give detailed history, and important for the doctor to derive such details from the patient to avoid such circumstances.

The conditions which may interact with this drug combination include:

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3 Proper Usage

 is an over the counter drug which is easily available and can be started even without consultation by a doctor, however it is recommended to consult one before commencing its usage.

Overdosing should be avoided as it may cause stomach problems and ulcers.

Take the drug with milk or milk products if the effect on stomach is too severe.

If any dose is missed, take the missed one as soon as possible.

4 Precautions to Take

Precautions are the part and parcel of any treatment and patient must adhere to these to improve the outcome. If you take Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold and Sinus, your doctor should perform routine checkups and advise you in taking precautions.

It is the duty of the doctor or any medical care provider to make the patient aware about these tips as an aid to the therapy.

  • Regular checkup is necessary to look for the progress of the treatment.
  • If the symptoms do not improve much, consult your doctor again.
  • Restlessness and sleep disorder may occur by this drug. It can be improved by using this drug few hours before bedtime.
  • Inform the doctor about use of this drug before any surgery or initiation of any therapy. Stop taking aspirin combination drug five days before surgery.
  • Do not start any other drug, prescription or non-prescription, without consulting your physician.
  • Alcoholic drinks should be avoided while using this medication as these may increase stomach problems.
  • Get emergency help in case of an overdose.
  • Store it in a dry place at room temperature. Keep it away from the reach of children.

5 Potential Side Effects

There is no drug in the world which is without its unwanted effects. Some drugs are relatively safe for use while for some drugs, the patient should be cautious as these drugs may cause more harm than good. If you notice any side effects of Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold and Sinus, immediately make an appointment with your doctor.

Patient should always get medical help in case of any adverse effect, no matter how trivial it is. 

This drug causes much more side effects when there is accidental or intentional overdose. Get emergency medical help in case of overdose.

Symptoms of overdose include:

Common side effects include nausea, vomiting and stomach pain.

Less common effects include:

  • Bloody or black, tarry stools
  • Bloody or cloudy urine
  • Blurred vision
  • Any changes in vision or eyes
  • Changes in facial color
  • Changes in hearing
  • Changes with urination
  • Difficult or painful urination
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Fever and stiff neck
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Muscle cramps or pain
  • Skin rash
  • Hives, or itching sores
  • Ulcers, or white spots on lips or in mouth
  • Swelling of face, fingers, feet, or lower legs swollen and/or painful glands
  • Unexplained sore throat and fever
  • Unusual bleeding
  • Bruising
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Vomiting of blood
  • Weight gain
  • Yellowing of eyes and skin
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