Alcohol Free Cold Medicine – its out there!

Alcohol free cold medicine Is definitely an option for you. It exists! Wow, roll out the carpet.

The problem is that you may have liked me not know it existed. Since my liver failure I need to be careful so I am suddenly becoming an expert on alcohol free products. I had to be, my life depended on it.

So we know about alcohol beverages, but I have discovered more about alcohol in food since and now it’s time for medicine.

As I write this it’s August but as the nights draw in here in the UK it won’t be long before we are popping into the pharmacy with the likes of a cold and even maybe flu.

Why does it matter if alcohol is in medicine?

Well firstly it matters because as a consumer you need to know what’s in your medicine as much as you do your food. That’s why we need to know about alcohol free cold medicine .

However very often because we get it from a pharmacy or doctor we hand over responsibility to someone else.

Now don’t get me wrong I owe my life to a medical professional as they saved my life due to liver failure and as a social drinker I could never drink again so these people are stars. However, there is a notion that we just accept that is fine and maybe it is maybe it isn’t

Here are some reasons you need to know why alcohol free cold medicine is any option for you over the normal stuff you just get given.

  • You choose not to consume alcohol
  • You don’t want to consume alcohol
  • You can’t consume alcohol

There are only a few reasons really not that many, In my case it could further damage my liver so a quicker death. Nah I’ll pass on that thanks. However, it may be through religious choice or in tolerance to alcohol which is more common than we think especially in certain nationalities. Or guess what, you just don’t want a product with alcohol in it! Get you!

Why is alcohol used in cold medicine?

In reality there probably is not a real reason. I was struck by a dentist who read my blog who said you don’t really need alcohol in mouthwash. So why isn’t there more alcohol free cold medicine then?

The fact is it can be added to help with the mix, to give you that kick or help you sleep. It is also an additive just like why it is added to various cosmetics, shampoos and shower gels. I am afraid it just becomes part of the overall mix.

One expert said to me recently “ what’s a matter with you lad have you not heard of a hot toddy”. I stopped myself rolling my eyes!

Of course alcohol can give you that warming sensation but there is no necessity to have it in cold remedies.

In fact some brands are so alcohol heavy to help you sleep that they could actually allow you to fail a breathalyzer test according to various bits of research.

Especially if you have had one extra dose “ just to get a good night’s sleep” which in itself could put your health at risk.

Please tell me you don’t do that as the impact on your liver can be really harmful.

Science is helpful or unhelpful here.

So have you been told a quick shot of alcohol is good for your throat.

It’s a shot, shot and shot and science has said it’s great for your cough. A Carnegie Mellon study showed that moderate drinkers had increased push back on certain viral infections.

So lots of whiskey or gin won’t heal you ( sorry I know ) so booze, a “quick snifter” as they call it could help negate symptoms of such ailments concerned with a cold such as sore throats, muscle pain, congestion and sleeplessness. Ever heard of the placebo effect?

One for another day maybe?

It’s probably why many of the stronger cold remedies have so much alcohol in them to knock you out. Of course mentally its true so it works. You can read about what I write about the quality of sleep and alcohol here.

Some medicine to watch out for that contain alcohol ?

A few of the other products that contain alcohol include certain formulations of Benadryl, Cheracol Plus, Dimetane, Donnatal, Geritol, Novahistine, Robitussin, Sominex, Triaminic, Tylenol and Vicks. Some medicines can contain up to 25 percent alcohol. Crikey its like a bad night out!

Now please remember I am talking from personal experience and I am not trained in this area but I have learned to ask questions just as I have with so called alcohol free beers!

If your life depends on it you start to check. For advise on your liver health visit the UK Liver Trust as they were a great support to me.

Ways to check in your over the counter medicine that contain alcohol?

Firstly there are some great pharmacists out there. They are trained at a higher level and although I had one incident when I asked and I had that look said it all which meant “so you’re an alcoholic then”.

Sometimes people don’t need to say anything and yet liver disease affects more people than people who have been social drinking or taken even further.

At the end of the day you might just want no alcohol in your medicine just as you don’t want it in your shampoo or skincare.

I will say this loudly – you are the consumer here and if you want alcohol free cold medicine you are entitled to ask the question! No judgment, no nothing!

If it makes it easier just to say you are allergic and it gets a different response for some reason. So if you are allergic to alcohol you have a head start!

The same replies to the labels always check the label and ask the pharmacist if you don’t understand them, personally I find labels and alcohol content confusing and I have had to really work to understand them and write about them too.

Get your GP or doctor to put a note on your file so it’s there on the record as sometimes the systems don’t always talk.

Although my experience of the NHS in the UK is that it is the first question they ask. So apart from alcohol I always say penicillin. I have no recollection of the last one but my parents told me so I ran with it!

Apparently I swell up and. Well never mind.

Now I am not going to recommend alcohol free cold medicine only to say that there are options out there and that is the job of your chemist

So ask them, but know that you are now more aware than most of the world’s population so you’re well armed to ask all the right questions.

One you ask these question you can get your head around other products with alcohol in them and the options available to you.

Check out my latest review of alcohol free witch hazel here

What’s your experience?

Have you had an experience with medicine and alcohol? What has been your experience? Did you get help from your pharmacist? Did you know that medicine contains alcohol? Have you ever purchased alcohol free cold medicine?

Iwould love to know what you think about alcohol free cold medicine,  leave a comment and I always respond as soon as I can.



6 thoughts on “Alcohol Free Cold Medicine”

  1. Wow! I must admit that I never knew that a cold medicine always constitute alcohol in the ingredients for its making. Wow! This is rather interesting discovery for me. However, living an alcohol free life is possible and getting to actually say no to this is also a great thing that can prove to be beneficial in a long while. Thank you so much for sharing here. Thank you

    • Hey Kimberly, thanks for commenting on alcohol free cold medicine. I agree it is rather interesting when you start looking into it but I am enjoying finding out all this information and very happy to share. I am so pleased you found it useful. You are right about the power of NO!  I appreciate you taking the time out to share your view. All the best, Phil

  2. Well Phil you opened my eyes I never were bothered with alcohol, getting wasted just is not fun for me. I always knew that there were alcohol in cold meds but how much I didn’t. I thought that it is supposed to be there and now I learn that it is not really needed there for I will start to look for alcohol free cold medicines. Thanks for a very enlightening post 

    • My pleasure and to be honest until I got diagnosed with liver disease I had not really clocked it either. I think alcohol is often added by default nowaways so it is very good to question it especially the ones with high levels in them if being alcohol free is a choice. I am pleased you found it enlightening and I really apreciate you taking time out to comment. All the best, Phil

  3. Hello there! this is an amazing review you have got here. I am sure the information in this post will be of great help to anyone who come across it. For me, I think this will be good for me as some times I take alcohol before taking my drugs just to make me fall at sleep so the drugs can work properly.

    • Thanks Joy for commenting on alcohol free cold medicine, it is really appreciated. Taking alcohol and drugs can be very dangerous so I would always get that checked out and be careful. This article on sleep and alcohol might also be useful as the better informed we are can sometimes allow us to take different decisions. I really appreciate you taking time out to add to the debate, it is really helpful. All the best, Phil


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