I've had a mild cough for the past couple of days, something that my recently discovered homeopathic remedy Airborne didn't kick.  I looked through the medicine cabinet at home and found surprisingly little in the way of remedies.  Berta has been on a frenzy of throwing out over-the-counter drugs that even look like they're expired.  I have to hide bottles of ibuprofen just to keep them around when I need them.  I figured I could probably do without any cough medicine, but finally on Wednesday I was done being bothered by it.  On the way home from work I stopped at Eckerd (Doesn't everyone else like the name "Thrift Drug" better than "Eckerd"?  What were they thinking?) to look through their drug selection.  One of the things I like to do when I'm shopping for drugs is to compare the drug contents of the various pills.  It's amazing how much the drug store is a marketing paradise. 
For example, in Electronics Botique (Whoa- did I break your brain with that topic break?) different game producers fight for positioning on the high-value retail shelves.  Producing a video game is a feat, no doubt, and getting it to sit on the shelves at ElBo is downright Olympic.  But then you look at the drug store shelves.  Tylenol must make 30 different "kinds" of Tylenol.  And they all contain the same ingredients.  Does changing the color of the box make it better?  I guess there is some different between the "Extra Strength" version and the... Wait... Where's the "Regular Strength" version?  But here they have a box for Tylenol for back pain, and Tylenol for Headaches, and Tylenol for Migraines.  They all have the same thing in them!  Different dye in the pill shell?  Very weird.  And nevermind that the generic brand has the exact same stuff and is always cheaper.  Cold and Cough drugs are the same with with a few exceptions and additional oddities.  For example, it seems that they've gotten lazy about producing separate cold and cough medicines.  They assume that because you're coughing, you must also have a blocked nose.  I don't have a blocked nose.  Nonetheless, there is no "cough" medicine without the "cold" medicine also in it.  Why?  Alka-Seltzer, my preferred delivery method, seems to have an odd monopoly on the effervescent cold market.  Why doesn't anyone else produce fizzy drugs?  Fizzy drugs rock!  And here's my million-dollar question: Sometimes I just want to take a drug to reduce my symptoms enough so that I can rest and heal myself.  Where have all the drugs gone that were available when I was a kid that would knock you on your butt for two days?  No.  Today, it's all "non-drowsy".  Bah!  I want "This will put you into a deep sleep until you've made up the rest that you didn't get because you were hacking all last night." Does NyQuil even do it any more?  I think they expect me to sleep normally just because my symptoms are reduced.  And what exactly is the point of DayQuil?  The whole reason I wanted the NyQuil is to knock me out!  Well, I grabbed some Cough and Cold Alka-Seltzer, and I could only stomach half a glass of it after dinner.  It was just too flavored.  So much for that.  Cough.  Hack. 


There're still plenty of things that will knock you out - all of the traditional antihistamines. These include:
-diphenhydramine (aka Benadryl as a name brand; 25-50mg is a typical dose)
-chlorpheniramine (no idea for the name brand; 4-8mg is a typical dose)
-doxylamine (spelling? it's in Nyquil and generic "nighttime" copies, don't recall the typical dose)

There are a couple of others you'll hit less frequently (brompheniramine?), but you should be able to find any of those three at any good size supermarket pharmacy section. In general, your best bet price-wise is to ignore all the name brands and go with generics.


And that stuff that does supposedly knock you out? Never works on me. The only thing that ever knocked me out was Pamprin and that only worked when I took it before leaving for school and driving an hour at 6.45am, without Mountain Dew. But NyQuil or NyQuil-wannabe? Forget it. Tylenol PM? Forgetaboutit.

OTC drugs are all incredibly overpriced, don't work like they claim, and as confusing as all get out to even find what you want. If it's even available rather than a "this item must be purchased at the counter, one per customer" sign. Annoys me as much as the rest of the medical profession.

OTC drugs don't work on everyone, because people react differently to different types of drugs. I know people who can use Tylenol for really bad pain, and some people for whom no OTC painkiller works.

Something like diphenhydramine (Benadryl) will make you tired, no matter who you are (depending on the dose), but stuff like NyQuil is entirely different. NyQuil has a bunch of different drugs in it, and while doxylamine is sleep-inducing, dextromethorphan often makes it difficult to sleep (dextromethorphan is the most common cough medication).

The problem with OTC drugs is that you don't know if they work until you've tried them before, and, well, hopefully no one is sick so often that they actually get the chance to do that. I know for sure that Benadryl (or the cheaper store-brand varieties, which are often only 15% the price of the brand-name drug) is the only allergy medication that gets rid of my allergy symptoms, and that none of the others (especially non-drowsy ones) work. They work for other people, though, just not for me.

Depending on the cough, something with only dextromethorphan as an active drug (Tussin DM) will be your best choice, in general, even though it probably won't do anything. If you just want to sleep, Benadryl will kick your ass. The problem with Benadryl is that you actually get a hangover after taking it, which can make you feel even more shitty than before you took it.

Other problems with Benadryl is that it stops working and for some people it causes restless legs. This also makes it very difficult to sleep.

Speaking of which..I just took a benadryl and I feel like i'm going to pass out while typing. the sad thing is that i work at Convergys as a comp tech and can barely stop my head from nodding.

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