Pros: Very powerful decongestant; rather safe to use on a consistent level.
Cons: Doesn't contain an antihistamine or expectorant, so it's better for sinus symptoms than cold ones.
Nearly everyone in my family suffers from allergies of some sort, and sinus problems are common. Over the years, we've tried a variety of medications to treat and alleviate allergy and sinus symptoms. For about a decade, Dristan Sinus was the favored medication, but that brand has become very difficult for us to find. I also found Tavist D to be effective, but when medications containing the decongestant phenylpropanolamine were recalled in 2000, I had to look elsewhere. Upon my family's discovery of Advil Cold & Sinus a couple of years ago, there is no longer a need to search for Dristan since Advil's medication works even better for us.
A common problem among many sinus medications is that they simply do not have enough milligrams of the active decongestant in them. Some sinus medications may contain as little as 5 to 10 milligrams of pseudoephedrine, the most common decongestant available. Such a weak dose is not enough to treat our symptoms effectively. However, Advil Cold & Sinus contains 30 milligrams of pseudoephedrine per coated caplet, so it is far more powerful in relieving sinus congestion (in fact, because the dose is so high, and because many people illegally manipulate pseudoephedrine to create methamphetamine, Advil Cold & Sinus is no longer sold over-the-counter).
Besides the high dose of pseudoephedrine, Advil Cold & Sinus also has 200 milligrams of the pain reliever ibuprofen. I prefer this ingredient to the common pain reliever acetaminophen since the possibility of liver damage is far lower with ibuprofen, and yet it's just as effective in relieving pain in my experience.
Advil Cold & Sinus does not contain any antihistamine. If you are suffering from a runny nose, sneezing, or itching, this medication will not treat those symptoms; you will have to combine it with something like Benadryl or Unisom (diphenhydramine).
It also does not treat coughs as there is no expectorant included. This may seem odd given that Advil Cold & Sinus is advertised in part as a cold medication as its name suggests, but its use is more ideally suited for sinus issues.
As instructed on the back of the box, one caplet can be taken every 4 to 6 hours. If symptoms are very strong, two caplets may be used - but this seems unlikely given how powerful the pseudoephedrine content is. The box also warns against taking this medication for a prolonged period of time, but since this is not an inhaled decongestant, its remedial properties do not decrease with extended use. Additionally, my family has taken this medication regularly since our allergy and sinus problems are quite constant, and yet we have not experienced any bad effects from taking this medication on a normal basis. As a result, I highly recommend Advil Cold & Sinus on an overall level - it is fairly safe and very useful.