How does Advil Cold & Sinus work to treat a sinus infection?

Advil Cold & Sinus is one of the most popular over-the-counter treatments for colds and sinus infections. The active ingredients, chlorpheniramine, ibuprofen and pseudoephedrine are found not only in Advil Cold & Sinus (the name-brand medication) but also in its generic counterparts.

Advil Cold & Sinus works to reduce the inflammation of the sinus passages and the build-up of excess mucus. The medication decreases sinus congestion and difficulty breathing by reducing swelling of the nasal tissues that restrict your airways. Advil also acts as a general pain reliever to ease the discomfort of sinus pressure. You can find Advil Cold & Sinus at your local pharmacy.

sinus pressure and pain areas

When suffering from the pain of a sinus infection we often jump at the quickest and easiest over-the-counter medication. Before reaching for the box of Advil at the drugstore at the onset of sinus congestion, take care to read the facts below concerning side effects. Even if you are not at risk for the serious side effects, it is important to remain aware of the milder, more common things you might experience before using this medication.

What are the mild and more common side effects of Advil Cold & Sinus?

All medications have side-effects. Consumers taking Advil Cold & Sinus potentially have a wide range of side effects. For example, the most common symptoms experienced by sinus sufferers after taking the medication include:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Tinnitus (Ringing in the ears)
  • Slight drowsiness
  • Minor headache
  • Decreased appetite
  • Mild Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting
  • General weakness

 

What are the severe and less common side effects of Advil Cold & Sinus?

 

Although it is unlikely that you will experience any of the uncommon side effects of Advil Cold & Sinus, take care to read over the list carefully. If you notice any of these symptoms, call 911 and seek immediate medical attention.

sinus medications

  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Severe chest pain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Numbness in extremities
  • Persistent drowsiness
  • Seizures
  • Severe vomiting
  • Sudden changes in speech or vision

 

Of the above side effects, the most frequent are a rapid or irregular heartbeat, persistent drowsiness and severe vomiting. Contact your doctor if you feel the onset of any of these symptoms.

 

Can Advil Cold & Sinus cause any gastrointestinal side effects?

Studies show that gastrointestinal (GI) issues are reported by roughly 25% of patients. Typically, these side effects are generally mild. Most gastrointestinal side effects do not extend past slight nausea and abdominal pain. More serious, yet uncommon gastrointestinal symptoms occur in an even smaller percentage of users. They include ulcers, hemorrhages and inflammation of the pancreas and colon.

Evaluate your personal and family medical history to determine whether you are at risk for any gastrointestinal issues, particularly the more unusual and severe side effects. Review this history together with your doctor to find out whether it is safe for you to take Advil Cold & Sinus.

Can Advil Cold & Sinus cause any cardiovascular side effects?

Cardiovascular side effects in Advil Sinus users are rare, occurring in roughly 1-3% of patients. Symptoms include swelling of fingers and toes, high blood pressure and peripheral edema. Research shows that a chief ingredient of Advil Cold & Sinus, pseudoephedrine, may increase the severity of previous hypertension issues. Pseduophedrine may also be responsible for additional cardiovascular side effects such as coronary artery spasm and chest pain.

heart shaped almonds

Find out whether you are predisposed to heart arrhythmias, as Advil Cold & Sinus is known to increase the likelihood of future incidents of arrhythmia in a small percentage of patients.

Can Advil Cold & Sinus have adverse effects on the nervous system?

Studies show that severe side effects on the central nervous system after taking Advil Cold & Sinus are very rare, and include pseduotumor cerebri,  meningitis and paresthesias. Milder side effects are the result of the pseudoephedrine ingredient. They include headache, lethargy, and vertigo, but are easily treatable.

Who should not take Advil Cold & Sinus medication?

If you are particularly sensitive to, or have a history of allergic reactions to the active ingredients in Advil Cold & Sinus (ibuprofen, chlorpheniramine or pseudoephedrine) consult first with your doctor before taking it. Those who have recently undergone heart surgery should call a doctor before taking the medication. Pregnant women or women who are breast-feeding should talk to their doctor before taking Advil Cold & Sinus.

pregnant woman

Your Safety First

Those with certain medical conditions should avoid taking Advil to treat sinus infections, particularly those who suffer from liver disease, heart disease, severe high blood pressure, Raynaud’s Syndrome, Crohn’s disease, or angioedema syndrome. If you are a smoker, you may also be an increased risk of suffering from both mild and severe side effects.

Note: This article does not contain an exhaustive list of side effects, as every medication includes adverse symptoms that have not yet been reported. Be sure to contact your primary care physician if you experience any abnormal side effects, and report them to the Food and Drug Administration. Call 911 if you have severe side-effects.