Pros: Non drowsy, no side effects, quick relief, tastes good
Cons: Relief not very long lasting
My husband and I both came down with colds, being hit hard and out of the blue with few telltale precursor symptoms before the full blown cold had set in. My usual cold remedy, propolis - bee harvested tree resin, found in health food stores - wasn't able to work its magic on this cold from hell, probably because of its rapid onset. Great. My head felt like it was filled with wet cement and about to explode, my nose was running, yet my sinuses were packed tight, my eyes were watery. You know how it goes...
I do not like taking cold remedies, because I am very susceptible to drowsiness, being "out of it", and other typical side effects from many decongestants. But lying there in bed trying to sleep, with a headache that was unbearable, my sinus cavities throbbing, nose running, terrible sore throat - I simply couldn't take it anymore. I HAD to do something. Looking in the medicine cabinet I saw a box of Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold & Sinus Tablets, and I remembered that I had used these once before with good results, and it is formulated to take care of all my symptoms. Here's what Alka-Seltzer tells us on the box about this product:
~ Product Description
Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold & Sinus Tablets are a nasal decongestant and analgesic, for the fast relief of sinus pain and pressure, headache, and nasal congestion. It is also advertised as non-drowsy, which is good for me.
These come in a box of 20 effervescent tablets, individually packaged by dose of two tablets - so you'll get 10 doses in a box. I see that www.drugstore.com is selling this for $4.99 - quite reasonable.
Active Ingredients: Each tablet contains 250 mg. of Acetaminophen (pain reliever/fever reducer), and 5 mg. of Phenylephrine Hydrochloride (nasal decongestant). Inactive ingredients: Acesulfame Potassium, Aspartame, Citric Acid, Flavors, Fumaric Acid, Glyceryl Behenate, Maltodextrin, Polyethylene Glycol Behenate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Saccharin, Sorbitol. Each tablet also contains 475 mg. of sodium.
The directions for use say for adults and children 12 years and over - take two tablets fully dissolved in 4 oz. of water, every 4 hours. Do not exceed 8 tablets in 24 hours, or as directed by a doctor. For children under 12, consult a doctor.
There are some important cautions and warnings you should be aware of before considering using this medicine. If you consume 3 or more alcoholic drinks every day, ask your doctor whether you should take acetaminophen or other pain relievers/fever reducers. Acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Do not use with any other products containing acetaminophen. Do not use if you are now taking a prescription MAOI. Ask a doctor before use if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid disease, difficulty in urination due to enlargement of the prostate gland. If you are pregnant or breast feeding, ask a doctor before use.
~ My Experience
As I mentioned, I was trying to sleep but the pain in my head, sore throat, sinus pressure, was just too much to bear. I pulled out a pre-packaged dose of two tablets, tore open the foil-like wrapper, which incidentally was easy to do. Nothing bugs me more than a package that's difficult to open, especially when you're in pain. I filled a small glass with cold water and plopped in the two tablets. They fizzed away and finally dissolved, taking about one or two minutes. The effervescent bubbles were pleasant and I sipped warily at first until I discovered it tasted quite good actually, kind of a slightly sweet citrus-like taste. I don't like chugging liquids, so I pretty much sipped until it was all gone, then went back to bed and hoped for the best.
I noticed some slight relief from the headache within 20 minutes, and after about a half hour my headache was almost entirely gone, my runny nose had stopped, the sinus pressure was relieved but not entirely gone. My terribly sore throat, miraculously, was hardly noticeable.
After an hour, most symptoms were entirely gone, although some pressure remained in one sinus cavity. Thankfully, I did not experience ANY side effects at all. No feeling "out of it", no jitters, - nothing. Just a relief of most of my symptoms. That one sinus cavity never did completely clear though. After about two and a half hours, I started to notice some return of my runny nose. I managed to get some sleep, but still woke up a lot - not due to the Alka-Seltzer. After 3 and half hours I could feel the headache coming back, and more sinus pressure, but still nothing as bad as before I took the medicine.
The next morning I did take another dose, with basically the same results. Most symptoms went away completely, but again started to gradually return within about 2 and a half hours.
~ Final Thoughts
Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold & Sinus Tablets work well for me because I do not experience any side effects. These do a good job of relieving headache and nasal congestion, but I did still have some sinus pressure. The relief is not terribly long lasting, maybe a good 2 and a half hours before I start to feel some symptoms returning. The effervescent tables make a refreshing, sparkling citrus-tasting drink and is pleasant. If you have a hard time swallowing pills, this is a nice alternative. Also, the two-tablet individually packaged doses make this easy to slip in your purse, bag, or car if you need to take it with you.