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Can you od on nyquil: When You Take Too Much NyQuil, This Is What Happens

What Happens If You Drink A Whole Bottle Of Nyquil?

NyQuil is a common over-the-counter medication that treats the symptoms of the flu, the common cold, and other similar illnesses and allergies. It is manufactured and sold by Vicks, a U.S. medicine company. NyQuil temporarily relieves coughing, headaches, stuffy and runny nose, sore throat, fever, and sneezing. It also helps people with cold symptoms sleep through the night. While it relieves cold symptoms, it is not a cure for the common cold or the flu. NyQuil is generally safe and effective for adults and children over 6.

The Dangers Of Overdosing On NyQuil

Over the suggested amount of NyQuil can cause many negative consequences. The active ingredients in NyQuil can cause drowsiness, confusion, and dizziness, and overdosing can make these effects more severe. Furthermore, NyQuil contains Acetaminophen, an all-purpose pain reliever toxic to the liver when used in high doses. In excess, Acetaminophen may cause liver damage and even liver failure, which could cause death.

A whole bottle of NyQuil is considered a major overdose that can lead to serious consequences. A typical bottle of NyQuil has around 12 8 oz. or 354 milliliters of liquid. However, the formulation of the product will vary. And the specific formulation of the item could contain as much as 25 or 354 mL of alcohol. Consuming a whole bottle of NyQuil could result in alcohol poisoning that may cause seizures, vomiting, respiratory depression, and even death.

The Effects Of Drinking A Complete Bottle Of NyQuil

  • Sedation and drowsiness: The active components in NyQuil are designed to create somnolence and induce sleep. A bottle full of it can result in extreme sedation, which makes it difficult for the person to remain awake or even stay awake. The level of drowsiness could be risky, particularly if the person has to operate machinery with a heavy load or drive a car.
  • The condition is known as respiratory depression: NyQuil has dextromethorphan as an ingredient, which can trigger respiratory depression when doses are high. This means that the patient’s breathing could become slow or weak, making it difficult to obtain sufficient oxygen. This is especially risky when the person already has breathing problems due to the illness.
  • Damage to the liver: Acetaminophen in NyQuil is toxic, especially in large doses. Consuming a bottle full of NyQuil could cause damage to the liver or even liver failure, which can lead to death. The signs of liver damage are nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, and jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin).
  • Death and coma: In the most extreme instances drinking a complete bottle of NyQuil can lead to the person falling into a coma or even death. Drinking alcohol can cause heart rate and breathing to decrease until they cease completely. In addition, the liver and other organs could start to fail, which can lead to organ failure.

Is NyQuil Addictive?

Anyone who perfectly takes NyQuil will not develop an addiction. However, anyone unable to control NyQuil might become dependent on the drug. One can abuse NyQuil by taking excessive amounts or using it for the wrong reasons, for instance, to treat chronic bronchitis, asthma, or for recreational purposes. NyQuil is made to treat temporary symptoms but not treat long-term health issues. NyQuil cannot be used as a solution for insomnia, and it is not recommended to use it solely to sleep.

When a person can’t sleep without NyQuil even when they’re not sick, they’ve been able to become addicted to NyQuil. If someone begins experiencing withdrawal symptoms after placing NyQuil back into the medicine cupboard, it has risen to NyQuil dependence. Physical withdrawal symptoms usually are associated with addictions to alcohol, Opioids as well as dangerous stimulants such as Cocaine and Methamphetamine; however, addiction to medications that are common cause withdrawal symptoms too.

How Can You Drink Nyquil Liquid?

If you’re taking a prescription drug, make sure you be sure to read and follow the directions on the label of the product. If your physician has prescribed this medication to you, follow the directions given by your physician. If you have any concerns ask your physician or pharmacist.

You can take this medication orally, either with or without food, according to the instructions of your physician. If stomach upset is a problem, it might be helpful when you take the medication in conjunction with milk or food. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids whenever you take this medication unless you are directed to do so by your physician. The fluid helps remove the mucus from your lung.

If you’re taking the liquid version of this medicine, be sure to determine the dosage using a specific measuring device or spoon. Avoid using a standard spoon since you may not receive the proper dosage. If your liquid is a suspension, shake the bottle thoroughly before each dose.

If you’re taking extended-release capsules, take them in one swallow. Avoid chewing or crushing extended-release tablets or capsules. If you do, it could release all the drugs in one go and increase the chance of experiencing adverse side effects. Don’t split extended-release tablets unless an arrow indicates the score and your pharmacist or doctor recommends it. Instead, take the entire or divided tablet without crushing or chewing.

If you’re taking the chewable type the medication, make sure you chew it up thoroughly before taking it in.

The dosage will depend on your age or medical condition and the response to treatment. Do not increase the dosage and take it more frequently or for longer periods than is not prescribed. Unsafe use of this medication (abuse) could cause serious injury (including seizures, brain damage, or even death).

Consult your physician if the illness lasts longer than a week, worsens, or manifests as headaches that don’t disappear, a rash or fever that lasts more than three days. These could be signs of a serious medical issue that a physician should examine.

What Are The Advantages Of NyQuil?

NyQuil is a brand-name prescription medication available over the counter, prescribed to treat flu and cold symptoms. It’s a combination drug with three active components: dextromethorphan, Acetaminophen, and doxylamine succinate.

Here are some most frequently used uses for NyQuil:

NyQuil is mostly used to alleviate symptoms of flu and cold, for example:

  • Cough
  • Nasal runny
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Achy body
  • Sinus and nasal congestion

NyQuil helps by reducing the coughing reflex, decreasing inflammation, and leading the body to sleep, promoting sleep.

  • Promoting Sleep

Since an active component found in NyQuil is doxylamine succinate which can cause drowsiness, it’s also utilized to aid sleep. But, NyQuil is not to be only used for this purpose because it could result in dependence and other health problems.

  • Managing Pain

Acetaminophen in NyQuil is a painkiller that can reduce mild to moderate pain associated with symptoms of flu and cold-like pain in the body, headaches, and fever.

In the end, NyQuil is beneficial in helping to ease flu and cold symptoms and encourage restful sleep. However, it is crucial to adhere to the dosage guidelines and to avoid using NyQuil along with other medications or alcohol as it may cause serious health issues. If symptoms continue to worsen or persist, it is essential to seek medical care.

What Do You Do If Someone Overdoses On NyQuil?

When you or someone you know has an overdose on NyQuil, the first thing to do is call emergency services immediately. Dosing too much on NyQuil, which contains dextromethorphan and Acetaminophen, as well as doxylamine, can lead to serious health issues, including respiratory distress, liver damage seizures, liver damage, liver damage, and death.

As you wait for emergency assistance to arrive, it is recommended to:

  • Be calm and try to keep the person alert and awake If possible.
  • If someone is unconscious If they are unconscious, put them in the recline position to avoid choking.
  • Find out the amount NyQuil has been consumed and at what time you consumed it, as well as any other medicines or substances consumed.
  • Do not cause vomiting unless you are instructed to be done by an experienced medical specialist.
  • If someone is having difficulty breathing, assist them with the person with a rescue breathing technique if you’re competent to do it.

Side-Effects And Risks Of NyQuil?

NyQuil is an over-the-counter medicine that is used to treat colds as well as flu signs. Although it’s efficient in treating these symptoms, it could cause adverse side effects and present certain dangers. Here are a few possible side effects and dangers associated with taking NyQuil:

  • Drowsiness

The most frequent adverse negative effect of NyQuil is drowsiness. It is due to an active component, doxylamine succinate, an antihistamine with sedative properties. Although this is beneficial for people struggling to sleep due to illness, the flu, or a cold, it may also lead to sleepiness throughout the day, which can hinder the capacity to do routine tasks and operate heavy machinery.

Another typical side effect associated with NyQuil is dry throat and dry mouth. It is also caused by the doxylamine succinate, which can decrease saliva production. Dry throat and mouth are uncomfortable and cause difficulty swallowing or speaking.

NyQuil may also cause dizziness as well as impaired coordination. This is because Doxylamine succinate may influence your central nervous system. This can cause a decrease in motor function and balance. This could increase the risk of accidents and falls, particularly in older people.

  • Blurred Vision

In some instances, NyQuil can cause blurred vision. However, it is a less frequent condition due to the substance doxylamine succinate. In addition, blurred vision may be temporary and typically disappears after the medication has been removed from the human body.

  • Upset Stomach

NyQuil may cause upset stomachs in certain individuals. It is because it contains Acetaminophen, which can cause stomach irritation and other digestive problems. In certain instances, it can cause nausea or vomiting.

  • Allergic Reactions

In rare instances, NyQuil can cause an allergic reaction. The symptoms associated with an allergic reaction could include the following:

  • Hives
  • The face is swelling, or the lips, tongue, or the throat
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Acute dizziness or fainting

If you are experiencing one of the symptoms listed above, you should seek medical attention immediately.

  • Liver Damage

NyQuil is an acetaminophen-based medicine that is a painkiller and a fever-reducing medication. But, excessive amounts of Acetaminophen may lead to liver problems, particularly when combined with alcohol. The risk of causing damage to the liver is higher for those with liver disease or who take other medicines that impact the liver.

NyQuil may interact with other medicines, including prescription and non-prescription drugs and herbal supplements, and vitamins. It is possible to interact with medicines to affect your central nervous system, including tranquilizers, sedatives, and antidepressants. It also interacts with drugs that affect the liver, such as certain antifungal medications and antibiotics.

NyQuil is a dextromethorphan-based cough suppressant that may cause dependence and addiction if taken in large doses. This is because dextromethorphan could induce euphoria and dissociation that can be attractive to some. The use of NyQuil for its dextromethorphan contents in a manner not suggested by the label could be hazardous and possibly life-threatening.

  • Overdose

Intoxication from too many NyQuil can result in an overdose that can be life-threatening. Signs of an overdose include:

  • Confusion loss
  • Breathing slowly
  • Seizures


What happens if you take 4 cups of NyQuil?

If you take more than four doses of NyQuil in a 24-hour period, use NyQuil with other medications that contain acetaminophen, or drink three or more alcoholic beverages per day while on NyQuil, you could suffer severe liver damage.

Can I take 3 doses of NyQuil?

Since the effects only last for around 6 hours, it is advised that you take it every 6 hours. Do not take an additional dose even if you do not see symptom improvement after 30 minutes. An excessive amount of Nyquil can be harmful.

How long does it take for NyQuil to wear off?

Doxylamine has a half-life of 10 hours, which means it can take your body up to 50 hours (more than 2 days) to completely eliminate it. Doxylamine may be detectable in your body for extended periods of time, but its effects typically last no more than 8 hours.

Does NyQuil make you sleep?

One typical over-the-counter drug is nyquil. It is designed to relieve cold and flu symptoms that arise at night. Nyquil might make you drowsy in addition to reducing a fever, stuffy nose, and cough. Consequently, it might facilitate sleep.

Can NyQuil keep you awake?

When you are healthy, it is advised to avoid taking NyQuil for sleep. The prescription contains a number of unneeded substances, such as acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, and even alcohol, which can actually prevent you from getting a decent night’s sleep by interfering with your sleep cycles.

Dextromethorphan overdose Information | Mount Sinai

DXM overdose; Robo overdose; Orange crush overdose; Red devils overdose; Triple C’s overdose

Dextromethorphan is a medicine that helps stop coughing. It is an opioid substance. Dextromethorphan overdose occurs when someone takes more than the normal or recommended amount of this medicine. This can be by accident or on purpose.

This article is for information only. DO NOT use it to treat or manage an actual overdose. If you or someone you are with has an overdose, call the local emergency number (such as 911), or the local poison control center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States. 

Poisonous Ingredient

Dextromethorphan can be harmful in large amounts.

Where Found

Dextromethorphan is found in many over-the-counter cough and cold medicines, including:

  • Robitussin DM
  • Triaminic DM
  • Rondec DM
  • Benylin DM
  • Drixoral
  • St. Joseph Cough Suppressant
  • Coricidin
  • Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold and Cough
  • NyQuil
  • DayQuil
  • TheraFlu
  • Tylenol Cold
  • Dimetapp DM

The drug is also abused and sold on the streets under the names:

  • Robo
  • Tussin
  • Rojo
  • Orange crush
  • Triple Cs
  • Red Devils
  • Skittles
  • Dex

Other products may also contain dextromethorphan.


Symptoms of a dextromethorphan overdose include:

  • Breathing problems, including slow and labored breathing, shallow breathing, no breathing (especially in young children)
  • Bluish-colored fingernails and lips
  • Blurred vision
  • Coma
  • Constipation
  • Seizures
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Hallucinations
  • Slow, unsteady walking
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Muscle twitches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pounding heartbeat (palpitations), rapid heartbeat
  • Raised body temperature
  • Spasms of the stomach and intestines

These symptoms may occur more often or be more severe in people who also take certain other medicines which affect serotonin, a chemical in the brain.

Home Care

This can be a serious overdose. Get medical help right away.

Before Calling Emergency

Have this information ready:

  • Person’s age, weight, and condition
  • Name of product (ingredients and strength, if known)
  • Time it was swallowed
  • Amount swallowed
  • If the medicine was prescribed for the person

Poison Control

Your local poison control center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.

This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What to Expect at the Emergency Room

Take the container or drug with you to the hospital, if possible.

The health care provider will measure and monitor the person’s vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure.

Tests that may be done include:

  • Blood and urine tests
  • ECG (electrocardiogram, or heart tracing)

Treatment may include:

  • Fluids through a vein (by IV)
  • Medicine to reverse the effect of the narcotic in the drug (changes in mental state and behavior) and treat other symptoms
  • Activated charcoal
  • Laxative
  • Breathing support, including a tube through the mouth into the lungs and connected to a breathing machine (ventilator)

Outlook (Prognosis)

This medicine is safe if you take it as directed. However, many teenagers take very high amounts of this medicine to “feel good” and to have hallucinations. Like other drugs of abuse, this can be dangerous. Over-the-counter cough medicines that contain dextromethorphan often contain other medicines that can also be dangerous in an overdose.

Although most people who abuse dextromethorphan will need no treatment, some people will. Survival is based on how quickly a person receives help at a hospital.

Aronson JK. Dextromethorphan. In: Aronson JK, ed. Meyler’s Side Effects of Drugs. 16th ed. Waltham, MA: Elsevier; 2016:899-905.

Iwanicki JL. Hallucinogens. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 150.

Last reviewed on: 11/13/2021

Reviewed by: Jesse Borke, MD, CPE, FAAEM, FACEP, Attending Physician at Kaiser Permanente, Orange County, CA.