It comes up regularly on blogs and message boards, Wick Medinait, the German version of Vicks NyQuil, just doesn’t stack up with the original. I always wrote that talk off to psychology, we’re just more comfortable with what we’re used to. Personally, the couple times I used the German version, I didn’t really noticed a difference in the reduction of my symptoms, but I brought NyQuil from the US simply because you can buy it in a much bigger bottle!
So what is the truth? Are they the same? Are they different? I finally decided to put it to the test.
Wick Medinait Active Ingredients in each 30 ml dose:
- 8,0 mg Ephedrinhemisulfat (Decongestant)
- 7,5 mg Doxylaminhydrogensuccinat (Antihistamine/sedative)
- 15,0 mg Dextromethorphanhydrobromid (Cough suppressant)
- 600,0 mg Paracetamol (Pain reliever/fever reducer)
- 4,3 g Alcohol (18%)
Vicks NyQuil Active Ingredients in each 30 ml dose:
- Acetaminophen 1000 mg
- Dextromethorphan HBr 30 mg
- Doxylamine succinate 12.5 mg
- Alcohol content is never declared, but several pharmacy websites claim it is 10%
And what do you know? They are actually different! NyQuil does not contain a decongestant and has a lower alcohol content. Apparently, Vicks stopped including pseudoephedrine in Nyquil after the passage of the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act, because it can by used in the manufacture of crystal meth, much to the chagrin of the blogger who posted back in 2005 when the change occurred that The New Dayquil (and NyQuil) Blows … A Lot.
But how significant are these differences really?
According to the Wikipedia page, the cough suppressant Dextromethorphan is effective in doses between 10mg and 30mg. I looked for dose escalation studies to see if there was a significant anti-tussive difference between a 15mg and a 30mg dose, but was not able to find any online and available to the public (I’m not paying $25 bucks for one day of access to a pharma journal, thank you very much). I did find an abstract of an article that finds that a 30 mg dose is more effective than placebo though.
Without access to studies to read for myself, what was I to do? I contacted one of Rainer’s college buds, Sascha, a German professor of pharmacology. Here’s what he had to say:
my opinion is:
The German version is much worse!
The important ingredients are underdosed. Especially ephedrin is only about 6,2 mg per Single-Dose and thus a kind of homeopathic that you can neglect! (You need about 25 – 50 mg of ephedrin base to realize an effect!) The American version is about double dosed concerning the decisive ingredients – Much better!
But generally spoken I do not like combination drugs with more than 2 ingredients. Although is easy for the patient you will never know what component was responsible for side effects!
Surprise, surprise, surprise! It seems my psychology theory has been blown out the window and all those bloggers were right. So keep importing that NyQuil if it’s your favorite cold medicine.
And just to be sure, I’ll ask my American pharmacist reader if she’ll offer an opinion as well. Grafs – any thoughts?