experiments in self-medication

Sunday night, I felt an unwelcome prickle in my throat. By Monday, I was a snot machine on overdrive, and woke up every 30-60 minutes during the night to blow my nose and pound the mattress in frustration.

I am not one to use drugs; in fact, I avoid them as much as possible. If I have one of those rare headaches, I prefer to drink some herbal tea and wait it out (or sleep it away). However, this was a bad, bad situation, and led to a series of experiments with OTC drugs between yesterday and today.

1. Benadryl–left over from China trip. Expired in March 07…gave it a shot, in the throes of Monday night sinus headache + runny nose. No effect. Doubled dose; still no effect. Was that because they were expired? Or perhaps Benadryl does not work for me? I used them in China mainly to knock myself out during long bus/plane trips, so I can’t remember if it did a thing for runny nose and sinus shenanigans…

2. Sudafed–At teaching seminar today, a kindly classmate offered me a dose of the regular Sudafed (not the heavenly pseudoephedrine variety…more on this later). I proceed to leak and sniffle my way through class. No dice. Another friend sings the praises of the behind-the-counter version of Sudafed, which is locked away because meth makers like to use its active ingredient…hm.

3. Sudafed PE, Maximum Strength–Stumbled into grocery store after class, consult with pharmacist. Pharmacist suggests Sudafed PE, explaining that the BTC version of Sudafed recommended by my friend has been known to cause a racing heartbeat, nervousness, etc. He recommends the safer phenylephrine blend, and I dutifully purchase a box. At home, I swallow a tablet. Nothing really happens, though my headache subsides a bit, and my nose is as runny as ever. Argh! Frustration! Learn from my good friend wikipedia that phenylephrine is about as effective as a placebo.

4. Claritin-D–stomp into local CVS. Decide to throw caution to the wind and taste of the dark, heart-racing pleasures of pseudoephedrine. Select Claritin-D for its promise to resolve both congestion and runny nose. Head home. Check online for more information about Claritin, and learn about its tendency to cause massive, massive constipation. Ugh, no. Do a bit more research and come upon several positive reviews of some drug named Drixoral…

5. Drixoral–Return to the CVS and exchange the Claritin-D for Drixoral (and getting an irritated glance from the cashier–geez, what’s so bad about a return?). Go home. Decide to wait a half hour between letting the Sudafed PE expire and trying out the Drixoral. In that half hour, an intense pounding ensues in my temples, and my nostrils let loose. So I guess the Sudafed did something after all, though it didn’t do a whole lot (I was congested the whole damn day). I finally swallow a tablet of Drixoral. 30 minutes later, one side of my nose clears up, and the runny nose disappears. 1 1/2 later, and I am as clear as a summer sky. It is the holy grail of nasal decongestants, this drug called Drixoral. Sure, it makes me a wee bit manic, but look how much blogging I just did!

In short, if those Santa Ana winds are assaulting your respiratory system, look no further than Drixoral. Your nasal passages will thank you.


Woke up this morning with a slight headache, but the Drixoral was only supposed to last 12 hours…still, just a touch of congestion, and I can taste again! HuRRAH! Being a food lover, I must admit that the inability to taste is one of the worst parts of being sick 🙂 I lurve Drixoral. Lurve it.


6 thoughts on “experiments in self-medication

  1. Pat Staniskis

    Have been taking Drixoral for 20 years and it is the only one that helps me, also an asthmatic who can’t afford dripping sinuses into my broncis and lungs. Right now it is behind the counter and you must sign for it. I wish they would make it a prescription again. It is also the only antihistilmine that helps my granddaughters if they get allergies. Go for it! Pat S. in the desert…

  2. Bernie Brummond

    Dimetapp tablets (prescription) for years worked well for me. After they reformulated to a non-pre-scription it did not work. Switched to Drixoral, 2/day am & pm, it helped me but not as good as Dimetapp. Now cannot buy Drixoral because the manufacturer has ceased producing it because of relocation of their plant. I wonder if that is the real reason. I also use prescription Nasaral, but I need the Drixoral too.


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