Dayquil and Alcohol: Why Mixing Them Can Be Deadly

Table of Contents


DayQuil and alcohol are both easily accessible, regulated, FDA-approved, and seemingly safe to use in moderation. However, when mixed together, these two substances can pose a deadly threat. 

Unfortunately, this combination of substances can cause a chemical reaction that can lead to an overdose fairly easily, and precautions should be taken to avoid consuming alcohol until after 4-6 hours of taking Dayquil. Dayquil should also not be taken in the same 24-hr period after alcohol is consumed.

We want to help

Let’s setup a call and figure out the best treatment options for you or your loved one. Our detox specialists will get back to you immediately.

Can You Mix Dayquil and Alcohol?

DayQuil is a common over-the-counter medication that people take to alleviate symptoms of a minor cold or discomfort. On its own, it is harmless, but if enough alcohol is taken with it at the same time, the combination can be dangerous. 

DayQuil’s main ingredients are acetaminophen and dextromethorphan, which both interact with alcohol. 

In the event that you think you or someone is experiencing an overdose, stay calm, call 911 immediately, and keep the person or yourself alert as much as possible.  When it comes to dealing with a potential overdose, time is of the essence, so be sure to act quickly and calmly.  

An image of a man with a newspaper as he thinks about the dangers of mixing Dayquil and alcohol

Why is it Dangerous to Mix Dayquil and Alcohol? 

While on an immediate basis, mixing alcohol and DayQuil can cause an overdose, it also has long-term negative effects. Over the course of prolonged use, combining alcohol and DayQuil can affect a person’s liver adversely most notably.  


While the only immediate adverse effect you may see after mixing Dayquil and alcohol is slurred speech or confusion, this combination’s long-term effects on the liver can be very detrimental.  

The liver is responsible for filtering toxins through the body, and therefore when it’s overloaded with the toxins mixing these substances causes, it can cause major health problems such as inflammation and toxicity in the body. 

Drug Interaction 

Dextromethorphan is the ingredient of DayQuil that is responsible for psychoactive effects.  These would include changes in mood, hallucinations, and anxiety. Acetaminophen overdose can look like severe stomach or abdominal pain or vomiting. In either case, an overdose can be fatal so if suspected, contact a medical professional immediately. 

How Long After Taking Dayquil Can I Drink Alcohol?

It is recommended to consume alcohol as far apart from DayQuil as possible. How long DayQuil is in the body varies greatly per person. For some, it’s in their system active for 4-6h, for others, it can last longer. Alcohol also stays in everyone’s system for a different amount of time. For some, alcohol can last in the body for about 3h. For others, alcohol can last closer to 6.

Therefore, there is no clear-cut answer as to how long someone should wait after taking DayQuil to consume alcohol. As a rule of thumb, the longer you can wait, the better!

If you are struggling with alcohol addiction, and are concerned about not being able to avoid drug interactions from daily life, it’s important that you get the treatment you need for alcohol addiction. 

An image of California Detox, an addiction treatment facility in Laguna Beach, CA.

Get Medical Detox Treatment for Drugs and Alcohol at California Detox

Whether you are struggling with legal substances or illicit ones, addiction can take its toll on you or your loved one’s life and health. Abuse of DayQuil or alcohol can have short- and long-term consequences that need to be addressed in order for the individual to live a healthy, happy future.  

At California Detox, we know how hard breaking free from the chains of drug and alcohol addiction can be. We know that changing your life can be most of the most difficult thing to do. Wait no longer, at California Detox, we can help you begin the journey to recovery.  

Whatever your journey may look like, we are here to support you. Within our rehabilitation community, you will meet and connect with others just like you. Through this community, group and individual therapy, medication-assisted treatment, and more, we will tailor a treatment program just for you.  

Reach out to us today at (949) 694-8305 to get your new drug-free life started at California Detox. 


No, it is contraindicated to drink alcohol with cold medicine, as their ingredients interact in a potentially hazardous manner.
The longer one waits to consume alcohol after taking DayQuil the better. A minimum of 6h between the last dose of cold medicine and alcohol is recommended.


Request a Call