Compare Sudafed vs. DayQuil Cold and Flu

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Sudafed
(Pseudoephedrine)

Dayquil Cold And Flu
(Acetaminophen / Phenylephrine / Dextromethorphan)

Clears your sinuses. Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) relieves stuffy nose, but it could keep you up at night. Don't forget your photo ID or you won't be able to buy it in the drugstore.Relieves cold and flu symptoms. Dayquil Cold And Flu (Acetaminophen / Phenylephrine / Dextromethorphan) is a useful combination medicine that relieves cold and flu symptoms, but make sure you really need all of its ingredients.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
5.273672055427252Sudafed
Reviews for Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine)
82%
of people say Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) is worth it
45%
say it works well
6%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Dayquil Cold And Flu (Acetaminophen / Phenylephrine / Dextromethorphan)
81%
1% vs. Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine)
37%
8% vs. Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine)
5%
+1% vs. Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine)
Side effects
SudafedDayQuil Cold and Flu

We haven’t found good data for Sudafed side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Sudafed »

We haven’t found good data for DayQuil Cold and Flu side effects.

FDA side effect reports for DayQuil Cold and Flu »
How it works
SudafedDayQuil Cold and Flu
Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) is a decongestant. It narrows blood vessels and reduces swelling in your nasal passages to make breathing easier.Dayquil Cold And Flu (Acetaminophen / Phenylephrine / Dextromethorphan) is a combination medicine that treats cold and flu symptoms. Acetaminophen relieves pain and reduces fever. Dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant. Phenylephrine is a decongestant that clears your sinuses.
Type of medication
SudafedDayQuil Cold and Flu
DecongestantPrescription or OTC
Pain reliever
APAP
DecongestantCough suppressantOver-the-counter
Available as
SudafedDayQuil Cold and Flu
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
SudafedDayQuil Cold and Flu
Risk factors for serious side effects
SudafedDayQuil Cold and Flu
  • History of high blood pressure
  • History of heart problems
  • Age 65 years or older
  • History of seizures
  • Women of childbearing age
Detailed Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) risks & warnings »
  • Drinking more than 2 alcoholic beverages a day
  • Taking with other Tylenol-containing medicines
  • History of liver disease
  • History of high blood pressure
  • Taking MAO inhibitors
  • Using other medications that affect serotonin
  • Women of childbearing age
  • History of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • History of smoking
Detailed Dayquil Cold And Flu (Acetaminophen / Phenylephrine / Dextromethorphan) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy category
SudafedDayQuil Cold and Flu
NFDA pregnancy category (Unknown)

The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

See the FDA package insert
NFDA pregnancy category (Unknown)

The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

See the FDA package insert
Alcohol
No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
Food
No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
Kidneys and liver
No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
Sex
No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
Sleep
  • It can affect the quality of your sleep, so you can't take it too close to going to bed.
No specific sleep-related info.
Weight
No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
Upsides and benefits
SudafedDayQuil Cold and Flu
  • One of the best over-the-counter options to clear stuffy nose and help you breathe better.
  • Clears nasal congestion better than other decongestants like phenylephrine.
  • Can be helpful in relieving congestion-related headaches and pressure in your ears.
  • Available in regular and extended release forms.
  • Dayquil Cold And Flu (Acetaminophen / Phenylephrine / Dextromethorphan) is a combination medicine that relieves multiple cold symptoms. It's good to use if you have a stuffy nose, a cough, fever, and pain.
  • The decongestant (phenylephrine) has fewer side effects than other decongestants like pseudoephedrine. It doesn't raise your blood pressure and heart rate as much, or cause as much trouble falling asleep.
  • The pain reliever (acetaminophen) is easier on your stomach and has fewer drug interactions than other pain medications like aspirin or ibuprofen.
Downsides and risks
SudafedDayQuil Cold and Flu
  • Pseudoephedrine (a decongestant) can make your heart race or make you feel anxious and restless.
  • It can affect the quality of your sleep, so you can't take it too close to going to bed.
  • Can raise blood pressure so check with your doctor before using it if you have high blood pressure or other heart conditions.
  • Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) isn't as effective after using it for more than 4 days straight.
  • Need to show a photo ID to buy it in the drugstore and there is a limit on how much you can buy each visit.
  • If you don't really need all of the medications in this combination, you're taking extra medicine and might have extra side effects for no reason.
  • Phenylephrine doesn't last as long as other oral decongestants like pseudoephedrine.
  • You shouldn't use it if you have high blood pressure.
  • To avoid hurting your liver, you have to keep track of the total amount of acetaminophen (APAP) you're taking since it's a very common ingredient in pain and cold/flu combination medicines.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
SudafedDayQuil Cold and Flu
  • Starts working in 30 minutes.
  • You need to show an ID to buy Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) in the drugstore because it contains pseudoephedrine.
  • Follow age-specific dosing instructions on how much to take. Don't take more than recommended on the package.
  • Don't take Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) too close to bedtime since it can keep you awake.
  • Can cause an irregular or fast heartbeat, and can raise your blood pressure.
  • Talk to your doctor if your symptoms don't get better in 1 week.
  • Phenylephrine, the decongestant, can make you restless, so don't take it too close to bedtime.
  • If you get the liquid form, use the dosing cup to measure the exact amount of medicine you need.
  • Follow age-specific dosing instructions on how much to take.
  • Contains acetaminophen, also known as Tylenol or APAP. Taking too much can cause liver failure and death. Don't take more than what's recommended on the package or with other Tylenol-containing products.
  • Let your doctor know if your symptoms don't improve in a few days, or if you have a really bad sore throat with a fever, headache, nausea, or vomiting.
Learn more
More about SudafedSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
More about DayQuil Cold and FluSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert