Drinking Alcohol While Taking Robitussin With Codeine

In our latest question and answer, we whether or not you can drink alcohol with taking the cough medication Cheratussin.

Nov 29, 2017

Louuise asked

I have bronchitis and have for a few weeks. I finally got antibiotics and am still having an issue with coughing. My doctor ave my Cherautssin, some sort of cough syrup. Can I drink a glass of wine in the evening?

At a glance

  • Cheratussin, which contains codeine, should generally not be taken with wine (or any alcohol) due to an increased risk of side effects.


Pouring Cough Syrup Stock Image

I am sorry to hear you have been sick for so long and are still coughing.

In short, the combination of Cheratussin (guaifenesin with codeine) and wine is not safe and not recommended.

Both are CNS (central nervous system) depressants and taking both could not only increase the sedative effects of both, it would cause trouble breathing.

What Is Cheratussin?

Cheratussin is a combination medication used to treat cough and chest congestion caused by the flu, cold, sinusitis and bronchitis. The two drugs in Cheratussin are guaifenesin and codeine.

Guaifenesin is an expectorant that helps thin the mucus that is clogging your airways, making it easier to cough it up and out. Guaifenesin is also the active ingredient in the popular over the counter product Mucinex.

Codeine is a narcotic antitussive (cough suppressant). While codeine is commonly used as an analgesic, it works well to suppress cough and works via pathways in the brain to decrease the urge to cough.

Interaction Detail

As Cheratussin contains codeine, it should not be taken while drinking alcohol.

Both codeine and alcohol are central nervous system (CNS) depressants. They inhibit brain activity by depressing the central nervous system. Both can cause central nervous system depression and thus are not a safe combination. In addition, high doses of both can cause respiratory depression.

Taking together Cheratussin and alcohol together can lead to decreased consciousness, lowered heart rate and a drop in blood pressure.

Additional adverse reactions include dizziness, lightheadedness, a decreased ability to focus or concentrate, and sedation. As always, be sure to speak with your doctor if you have any questions regarding your prescribed therapy.

  1. Cheratussin Monograph. DailyMED
  2. Opioid interactions with alcohol. PubMed
  3. Alcohol and opioids: possible interactions of clinical importance. PubMed

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