Can You Combine Zoloft And Mucinex?

Zoloft is the first-line treatment for major depression and similar psychiatric conditions, making it a commonly prescribed drug. Mucinex is an over-the-counter cold medication, meaning you need to know whether or not you can combine it with Zoloft. This article discusses Mucinex and how it can interact with Zoloft, establishing under what circumstances it is safe to combine Zoloft and Mucinex.
Klara Hatinova

Klara Hatinova

Klara is postgraduate researcher in experimental psychology at the
University of Oxford.

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What is Mucinex?

Mucinex is an over-the-counter decongestant medication, also called an expectorant. It is used to clear excess mucus from the airways, making it a common medication for children and adults with colds.

Mucinex contains the main active chemical guaifenesin, also known as glyceryl guaianolate, which can be branded under many different names [1]. Other active drugs in Mucinex include acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, phenylephrine HCl, diphenhydramine HCl, triprolidine HCl and oxymetazoline hydrochloride. These active ingredients act in concert to reduce coughing and blocked nose, relieve pain and reduce histaminergic reactions [2].

Mucinex should be taken every 12 hours with or without food. Follow the medication label to determine the correct dose for your age, weight, and indications. It’s important to note that Mucinex may not treat your underlying cold or flu but rather alleviate symptoms, which makes you feel better.

What Is Zoloft?

Zoloft, a brand name for sertraline or sertraline hydrochloride, is a prescription antidepressant in the class of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Serotonin is a naturally occurring chemical that regulates mood, appetite, and alertness. By increasing serotonin availability, Zoloft improves mood, appetite, energy levels, and sleep quality, as well as reducing anxiety [3].

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

Other SSRIs include fluoxetine (Prozac), escitalopram (Lexapro) or paroxetine and citalopram.

Zoloft is a universal antidepressant that is used across a spectrum of conditions.

Zoloft is the first-line medication for major depressive disorder [4], as well as is indicated for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and anxiety disorders. It's also approved for treating OCD in children aged six years and older [1].

Since Zoloft is so commonly prescribed, you may be wondering whether you can combine Zoloft and Mucinex and whether this drug combination will impact the side effects and treatment effects you can expect.

Zoloft And Mucinex Interaction

It is not advised to combine Mucinex and Zoloft due to the interaction between sertraline and dextromethorphan elevating the risk of serotonin syndrome [5]. Zoloft increases the availability of serotonin in the brain, and so does dextromethorphan. Serotonin syndrome can lead to hallucinations, seizures, shivering, muscle stiffness, and akinetic-like tremors [6].

Although this case report was unlikely caused by a direct combination of Zoloft and Mucinex, there was also one case study report of central nervous system (CNS) depression following a combination of guaifenesin and an active ingredient in Mucinex in a patient who was also taking alcohol, Zoloft and cetirizine. CNS depression is a common side effect of benzodiazepine drugs, such as Xanax, that act on the GABA-ergic nervous system, reducing activity throughout the brain. This can be useful in anxiety conditions, such as ADHD anxiety, but also in seizures, for example, those triggered by Parkinson’s Disease and epilepsy. Guaifenesin is a muscle relaxant also used in veterinary medicine [7], hence combining it with alcohol, another sedative, as well as Zoloft could have exacerbated these effects.

Despite this case report and drug interaction, the benefits of taking Mucinex may outweigh the small risk of experiencing a detrimental drug interaction. Consult your healthcare provider to determine whether combining Zoloft and Mucinex is appropriate for your symptoms.

Mucinex Side Effects

When taken in isolation, Mucinex has some side effects that can be exacerbated when combined with other drugs, including Zoloft.

Common side effects of Mucinex include:

  • headaches
  • sleepiness
  • dry mouth

Summary: Can I Combine Zoloft And Mucinex

To summarise, it is best to consult a healthcare professional if you also have a cold and are taking Zoloft. The healthcare professional will be able to assess the dose-specific interaction risks, which include a risk of serotonin syndrome or CNS depression.

Klara Hatinova

Klara Hatinova

Klara is a postgraduate researcher in experimental psychology at the University of Oxford. She has worked across a spectrum of hot topics in neuroscience, including her current project measuring reinforcement learning strategies in Parkinson’s disease. Previously, she studied the efficacy of psilocybin as a therapy for critical mental health conditions and examined molecular circadian rhythms of migraine disorders. She completed her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at the University of Glasgow and participated in a year abroad at the University of California, where she worked on a clinical trial for spinal cord injury.