Why I don’t need cold medication

Last night I felt like crap. I was nauseated, so at first I thought it was my lack of cooking skills. Then came the headache, and finally a tickle at the back of my throat that told me for sure that I was about to come down with something. I popped a couple of Tylenol and went to bed early.

I didn’t sleep well. Woke up at 4 am all stopped up, and I couldn’t go back to sleep. I popped a couple more Tylenol, then bundled up and went to my bank ATM to make a deposit. It made perfect sense to me because I would have no trouble finding parking so early in the morning, and, lo and behold, I didn’t! Got back to the apartment, worked on the computer for an hour, then decided to go back to bed. Even though that was about the time that I usually take my psych meds, Effexor XR and Adderall XR, I opted not to take them then so I could sleep a little more.

I have too much to do today to spend the day in bed, so I finally took my meds. Guess what! My sinuses cleared!!

Now, I am not advocating using Effexor or Adderall as a sinus decongestant. One or both, however, did help clear my sinuses. If they work the same way that over-the-counter cold medication does to clear sinuses, then

  1. taking OTC cold medication on top of my meds will NOT help my cold
  2. whatever side effects that are associated with how the meds cleared my sinuses would be doubled if I took both my psych meds and OTC sinus decongestants

Most OTC sinus decongestants have mild stimulant properties. While stimulation can be fun, the side effects from drug-induced stimulation are not. When I was in college, I had a professor who missed a lecture which was uncharacteristic of him. The next day he explained that he was in the emergency room being evaluated for heart problems. His heart was fine. Apparently the three pots of coffee he had consumed during the previous 12 hours sent his heart into palpitations.

Moral of the story: Just because you don’t need a prescription for it, don’t make it safe.