Stop taking Mucinex Fast-Max liquid medicines

    Drugmaker recalls dozens of lots due to mislabeled bottles

    Published: April 2015

    If you have a bottle of Mucinex in your medicine cabinet, you may need to throw it away. Earlier this week, drugmaker RB recalled certain lots of over-the-counter Mucinex Fast-Max liquid products, including Night-Time Cold & Flu, Cold & Sinus, Severe Congestion & Cough, Cold, Flu & Sore Throat, Day Night Severe Cold and Night-Time Cold & Flu, and Daytime Severe Congestion & Cough Night-Time Cold & Flu.

    After receiving a confirmed report of mislabeling from a retailer, the company issued a recall stating that while the products are correctly labeled on the front of the bottles and list all active ingredients, they may have an incorrect corresponding drug facts label on the back. The mislabeling could put consumers at risk for unexpected side effects or an accidental overdose of the drugs' ingredients, which include acetaminophen (pain reliever/fever reducer), dextromethorphan (cough suppressant), guaifenesin (expectorant), phenylephrine (decongestant), and diphenhydramine (antihistamine). A side effect of diphenhydramine is that it can make you drowsy.

    Back in December, we raised some concerns about Mucinex Fast-Max pills, and other combination medicines, citing that the multi-symptom products can put consumers at a higher risk of doubling up on medicines. For this reason, our medical experts recommend using single-ingredient drugs whenever you can.

    For more information on the Mucinex recall and a list of the lot numbers involved, see You can find the lot number and expiration date by looking on the back of the bottle or package. If you have one of the products listed, stop using it. Instead, dispose of it safely in the trash. (Don't flush.) Mix the liquid with a substance that makes it less appealing, such as coffee grounds, kitty litter, or saw dust. Then place the mixture in a container that won't leak, such as a sealed plastic bag, and toss it in your household trash.  

    If you've already taken one of the products included in the recall and have concerns or have experienced adverse effects, contact your doctor and report it to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program at

    As a rule of thumb when taking any over-the-counter medication, first read carefully the Drug Facts label, usually on the back of the bottle or packaging. If that information is unclear or inconsistent, speak with a pharmacist or your doctor before taking it. 

    —Ginger Skinner


    Editor's Note:

    This article and related materials are made possible by a grant from the state Attorney General Consumer and Prescriber Education Grant Program, which is funded by the multistate settlement of consumer-fraud claims regarding the marketing of the prescription drug Neurontin (gabapentin).

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