Stop taking Mucinex Fast-Max liquid medicines
If you have a bottle of Mucinex in your medicine cabinet, you may need to throw it away. Earlier this week, drugmaker RB recalled certain lots of over-the-counter Mucinex Fast-Max liquid products, including Night-Time Cold & Flu, Cold & Sinus, Severe Congestion & Cough, Cold, Flu & Sore Throat, Day Night Severe Cold and Night-Time Cold & Flu, and Daytime Severe Congestion & Cough Night-Time Cold & Flu.
After receiving a confirmed report of mislabeling from a retailer, the company issued a recall stating that while the products are correctly labeled on the front of the bottles and list all active ingredients, they may have an incorrect corresponding drug facts label on the back. The mislabeling could put consumers at risk for unexpected side effects or an accidental overdose of the drugs’ ingredients, which include acetaminophen (pain reliever/fever reducer), dextromethorphan (cough suppressant), guaifenesin (expectorant), phenylephrine (decongestant), and diphenhydramine (antihistamine). A side effect of diphenhydramine is that it can make you drowsy.
Back in December, we raised some concerns about Mucinex Fast-Max pills, and other combination medicines, citing that the multi-symptom products can put consumers at a higher risk of doubling up on medicines. For this reason, our medical experts recommend using single-ingredient drugs whenever you can.
Mucinex Fast-Max Day Time Severe Cold & Night Time Cold & Flu Caplets30.0 ea
Liver warning: This product contains acetaminophen. Severe liver damage may occur if you take:
- More than 12 caplets in 24 hours, which is the maximum daily amount
- With other drugs containing acetaminophen
- 3 or more alcoholic drinks daily while using this product
Sore throat warning: If sore throat is severe, persists for more than 2 days, is accompanied or followed by fever, headache, rash, nausea or vomiting, consult a doctor promptly. Do not use
- With any other drug containing acetaminophen (prescription or nonprescription). If you are not sure whether a drug contains acetaminophen, ask a doctor or pharmacist
- With any other drug containing diphenhydramine, even one used on the skin (Mucinex FAST-MAX NIGHT TIME Cold & Flu only)
- If you are now taking a prescription monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) (certain drugs for depression, psychiatric, or emotional conditions, or Parkinson’s disease), or for 2 weeks after stopping the MAOI drug. If you do not know if your prescription drug contains an MAOI, ask a doctor or pharmacist before taking this product
- For children under 12 years of age
Ask a doctor before use if you have
- Liver disease
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Thyroid disease
- Trouble urinating due to an enlarged prostate gland
- Glaucoma (Mucinex FAST-MAX NIGHT TIME Cold & Flu only)
- A breathing problem such as emphysema or chronic bronchitis (Mucinex FAST-MAX NIGHT TIME Cold & Flu only)
- Persistent or chronic cough such as occurs with smoking, asthma, chronic bronchitis or emphysema (Mucinex FAST-MAX NIGHT TIME Cold & Flu only)
- Cough that occurs with too much phlegm (mucus) (Mucinex FAST-MAX NIGHT TIME Cold & Flu only)
Ask a doctor or pharmacist before use if you are
- Taking the blood thinning drug warfarin
- Taking sedatives or tranquilizers (Mucinex FAST-MAX NIGHT TIME Cold & Flu only)
When using this product
- Do not use more than directed
- Excitability may occur, especially in children (Mucinex FAST-MAX NIGHT TIME Cold & Flu only)
- Marked drowsiness may occur (Mucinex FAST-MAX NIGHT TIME Cold & Flu only)
- Alcohol, sedatives and tranquilizers may increase drowsiness (Mucinex FAST-MAX NIGHT TIME Cold & Flu only)
- Avoid alcoholic drinks (Mucinex FAST-MAX NIGHT TIME Cold & Flu only)
- Be careful when driving a motor vehicle or operating machinery (Mucinex FAST-MAX NIGHT TIME Cold & Flu only)
Stop use and ask a doctor if
- Nervousness, dizziness or sleeplessness occur
- Pain, nasal congestion, or cough gets worse or lasts more than 7 days
- Fever gets worse, or lasts more than 3 days
- Redness or swelling is present
- New symptoms occur
- Cough comes back or occurs with fever, rash or headache that lasts. These could be signs of a serious condition. (Mucinex FAST-MAX DAY TIME Severe Cold only)
If pregnant or breast-feeding, ask a health professional before use. Keep out of reach of children. Overdose warning: Taking more than the recommended dose (overdose) may cause liver damage. In case of overdose, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away. Quick medical attention is critical for adults as well as for children even if you do not notice any signs or symptoms..Uses: Temporarily relieves these common cold and flu symptoms: cough; minor aches and pains; headache; nasal congestion; sore throat; runny nose (Night Time only); sneezing (Night Time only). Helps loosen phlegm (mucus) and thin bronchial secretions to rid the bronchial passageways of bothersome mucus and make coughs more productive (Day Time only). Controls cough to help you get to sleep (Night Time only). Temporarily reduces fever.
We may have the same friends. The same ones who take NyQuil when they’re not really sick, just to help them sleep. So they’re taking it for the diphenhydramine (Benadryl), which is much more cheaply purchased alone and as a generic. DayQuil is dextromethorphan, acetaminophen, and phenylephrine. The actual ideal medication combination for her friends in this case, Angelotti noted, is simply the last two: the decongestant and the pain reliever. Taking the extra dextromethorphan is a low-risk proposition, but it’s not without some side effects and a waste of money.
Angelotti, formerly at Google, has now co-created a program that can help people pare down their options. On the Iodine , you can click on the symptoms you’re experiencing, and that will comb a database of common cold-and-flu products and tell you which ones meet your needs. The results also include product reviews (via Google, with over 100,000 medication reviews so far), dosage forms (liquid or pill), active ingredients, and the names of generic versions at various pharmacies.
“I know that people, in large part, just walk into a drugstore when they have a cold and grab DayQuil or Tylenol Multisymptom Cold, or whatever, because they know it’s going to cover the symptoms that they have,” said Angelotti. “But I also know that a lot of people are taking more ingredients in these combination meds than they actually need. That’s going to put them at risk for side effects or overdose, especially with Tylenol. And there are dangers, like for someone with high blood pressure who is taking phenylephrine.”
In October, Iodine released an extension for Google Chrome that will highlight any medical jargon on a web page and translate it into plain language. It’s cool and easy to use, as is this new cold and flu app. Though I can’t see myself using it, because I usually keep generic single-drug products around. A family, or a sickness-inclined person living alone, could very reasonably keep the five aforementioned individual generic medications in their medicine cabinet and address the symptoms as they arise. I think that’s easier than messing with combination products, and usually cheaper. Especially if you consider that you’re not taking medications you don’t need.
I tried to convince Angelotti that’s the way to go, but she was adamant that many or even most people really like to take one pill that addresses all of their symptoms. “I don’t know if people will be likely to have their own inventory of generic over-the-counter medications in their homes,” she said.
Iodine’s press release this week was similarly practical of expectation. It told the story of one patient who had used the cold-and-flu tool, “Mary, a 69-year-old woman in the Pacific Northwest.” She said, “My husband now has a cold, and the Iodine app confirmed that the product he had chosen was a correct one! The reinforcement was wonderful!”
That’s such a reasonable endorsement. Wouldn’t it be more powerful if your husband chose the wrong medication, though, Mary? And Iodine helped him find the right one? It’s a press release, Mary. The iodine algorithm saved your husband from the brink of ruin. His newfound sense of consumer empowerment was so invigorating to his spirit that he no longer needed any Mucinex at all.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to [email protected]
James Hamblin, MD, is a staff writer at The Atlantic. He hosts the video series If Our Bodies Could Talk and is the author of a book by the same title. | More Connect Facebook Twitter