"When faced with a problem you do not understand,
do any part of it you do understand; then look at it again."
~(Robert A. Heinlein - "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress")

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Diphenhydramine HCl + Phenylephrine HCl =

... about one step above a coma.

For my first spell in Houston (1964-1984), I could count on coming down with sinus problems and/or allergies about twice a year, usually following the same predictable pattern of a week or two of self-medication followed by finally giving up and going to a doctor to get a shot or something.

When I returned to Houston in 1994, for several years I didn't have this problem. Later, the old patterns returned.

When my job was outsourced in 2004, having a regular doctor was a luxury I simply could not afford. If things got bad enough, I would go to one of the many walk-in clinics we have down here.

A couple of years ago, on one of those occasions, I was prescribed a very expensive oral liquid containing the two ingredients of the title (The "HCl" is for "hydro-chloride"). It would have been about $80.00 for a four oz bottle. I don't recall what the brand name was, but CVS Pharmacies found a generic version for about $40.00. Still expensive, but Damn! - it was effective.

When you were suffering from a runny nose dripping mucus almost like water and dealing with it dripping down your throat, you'd swallow the dose (5 ml; maybe a couple of tablespoons worth) and begin feeling the mucus spigot turning off while the dose was still in your mouth. That's no exaggeration; I suspect it operates much like a nerve agent, perhaps being absorbed by the tongue.

About a year ago, during another bout, I went to CVS to see if I could get a refill, only to learn that neither the original prescribed drug nor its generic equivalent were still available. The girl I talked to looked up the ingredients  and then pointed me towards Delsym Night Time Cough & Cold medicine, for which I would not need a prescription.  Only $9.99 for a four oz bottle.

Every bit as effective as the prescribed version. But, it does pack a wallop. Diphenhydramine hydro-chloride is a key ingredient in many sleep aids.

The top line of this post (about "one step above a coma") is no exaggeration; I'm on it now, and just sitting here in front of the computer, composing this, is a Herculean task.

So, be careful with it. :-)

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