10 Best OTC Cold Medicines Tested & Compared

Colds suck, period. And although you are more susceptible during seasonal transitions, contact is possible any time of year. Not only do colds make you feel like crap, they can interfere with a good running routine.

We thought we could help and did some research, finding the 10 best OTC cold medicines to keep you active. Although it’s good to rest when you're feeling a little under the weather, a good run and sweat can help speed up healing. Furthermore, an efficient OTC cold medicine can assist in keeping you on your feet.

These 10 Best OTC Cold Medicines aren't going to heal you, however, we are certain they can keep you moving while offering relief from pain, coughing and snotty noses. Check out our FAQs section as well to see what a best OTC option offers while assisting you in finding the best choice for your symptoms.

Standout Picks

OHCO Cold Snap
Topping the list is this herbal remedy, with 20 herbs derived from traditional Chinese herbal medicine. The OHCO Cold Snap Powder works by protecting and strengthening the immune system, effectively empowering and allowing your body to fight off sickness.
Amazon Link
Sambucol Tablets
These tasty tablets have an elderberry flavor and provide fast relief from a whole host of symtoms related to illness. The Sambucol Tablets have a homeopathic formula with natural ingredients and are a very effective solution.
Amazon Link
Genexa Crush
Genexa Crush is homeopathic, non-GMO and organic, and relieves all symptoms associated. It’s the only solution in the world to be certified both non-GMO and organic, so if these are concerns to you, then you’ve found your cold solution! They’re chewable and they taste good.
Amazon Link
Zicam Dissolving Tablets
Zicam Dissolving Tablets have a tasty citrus flavor and they’re homeopathic with natural ingredients. They’re best taken at the first sign of illness and the two active ingredients help to give your immune system a boost which helps prevent future bugs.
Amazon Link
Mucinex Day and Night Caplets
Mucinex Day and Night Caplets work to fight really severe symptoms, so if you’re suffering from something major, these are a great option. They have both a night and day caplet which provides double relief, and they’re perhaps the best option on the list if you’re looking to hit a heavy cold once it’s already set in.
Amazon Link
Tylenol Multi-Symptom Relief Caplets
Tylenol Multi-Symptom Relief Caplets help to relieve cold symptoms that have already set in, so they’re another great option for when you’re in the middle of a horrible cold. They cover a wide range of symptoms and are drug-based, which may be good or bad depending on your taste. These have to be swallowed whole with water, and you shouldn’t take more than the recommended dose.
Amazon Link
Coricidin HBP
While doing our research, we encountered many different kinds of options but this one is exceptional. Many people, runners included, suffer from high blood pressure. Some OTC medicines could make your blood pressure rise. Well, definitely not with this product. Coricidin HBP is a medicine that relieves cold symptoms and it's dedicated to people with high blood pressure. Let's see the other features of this product.
Amazon Link
Theraflu Powder
Theraflu Powder is another option for severe sickness and coughs, so if you want an intense hit of medicinal help, it’s a decent choice. The powder dissolves in hot water, which in itself gives a nice relief while having a pleasant taste. The honey, lemon and chamomile flavor is nice and it gets to work on symptoms that are at their worst. If you want relief for mild symptoms, this is for you.
Amazon Link
Robitussin Honey DM Max
Offering a little bit of nature and a little bit of ‘Tussin, Robitussin Honey DM Max offers relief from cough and chest congestion. Their True source guarantee offers a 19.2% of honey in every dose with the promise o sustainably sourced, Grade A, real honey. Robitussin Honey DM Max is a powerful combination of nature and science and comes in a non-drowsy formula so you can get up and running, keeping up with the daily grind without all the hacking and congestion interruptions. It is also available in a nighttime relief formula so you can get the rest you need without interruption.
Amazon Link
EZC Pak
We know that antibiotics do both bad and good things for our body. When you are sick, there's usually no need to take antibiotics as you can easily boost your immune system with something else. The good way to help you survive is trying EZC Pak. Check out more information about this product.
Amazon Link

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Potency

Depending on how strong your symptoms are will depend on the strength or potency of the OTC medicine you will need. These OTC cold remedies are for less aggressive cold symptoms that don’t require a doctors visit. Furthermore, a lot of brands offer different levels of relief for different symptoms.

A good supply of well balanced OTC cold medicines can help you through the cold season. Suggested things to look at are the ingredients and how much is in each serving. We also suggest inquiring if they are all natural or have allergy warnings. Depending on the potency of any ingredient allows you to know which is best for any set of symptoms associated with the common cold.

Some are designed more for suppressing coughs while others are more geared toward relieving sinus pressure and chest congestion. Also, are you looking at a child or adult dose?

Potency can also affect how long you will take medicine. Some OTC cold medicines are designed to kick it out in one to two doses while others offer relief for those long annoying colds that just don't seem to want to leave.

With all that being said, if you are suffering from what seems to be chronic symptoms for more than 2 weeks, most labels will encourage a visit to the doctors. No matter how potent certain medicine is, it isn't a cure and you may need something extra to add to your cold regimen that only a doctor can prescribe.

Side Effects

Side effects can be described as the negative and unexpected reactions the medicine produces. The side effects of OTC medicines should be an important thing to consider. When the composition of a non-prescribed drug contains a harmful substance to your body’s immune system, it is advisable that you look for an alternative or keep away from such medicines. Side effects may be dangerous or fatal.

Effectiveness

When buying any medicine you need to know how well it can function and how long will it take for you to notice any changes. This also depends on your immune system. Some people have a weak immune system while others have a strong one, so for weak immune systems you will need a much stronger medicine to work, but for someone who has a stronger immune system, it may not take long for the body to fight off the cold with just a little boost from the medicine. Some cold drugs are immediately effective while others tend to take time to start functioning. You should tell your physician what OTC medicines you’re taking and get their opinion and advice.

Value

In most cases, OTC medicines are less costly than ones prescribed by a doctor. Getting the right medicine for less than you would have spent in the hospital is one of the great things any sick person looks forward to, as it helps save a lot in the end. Just make sure you do not get fake drugs which might cause you more problems than you already have.

10 Best OTC Cold Medicines

1. OHCO Cold Snap

Where to buy
Amazon Link
OHCO Cold Snap
Amazon Link

Topping the list is this herbal remedy, with 20 herbs derived from traditional Chinese herbal medicine. The OHCO Cold Snap Powder works by protecting and strengthening the immune system, effectively empowering and allowing your body to fight off sickness.

Read more

Effectiveness
With this one, you start with a small dose and increase as you see fit, which helpfully allows you to tailor the medicine to your needs without dosage restrictions. This works best for interrupting an oncoming cold, and it’s great at doing that. If you feel the sniffles coming on, have some of this and you’re cold really shouldn’t develop in the way that it otherwise would. It works very well for most users, so it’s a great option if you want something natural and effective.

Ingredients
Among other things, they include forsythia, ginseng, and mint, with 20 natural ingredients in all. These won’t solve just your cold problems, but will also boost your overall health!

Cost and Value
A great bargain option!

Amazon Link

2. Sambucol Tablets

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Sambucol Tablets
Amazon Link

These tasty tablets have an elderberry flavor and provide fast relief from a whole host of symtoms related to illness. The Sambucol Tablets have a homeopathic formula with natural ingredients and are a very effective solution.

Read more

Effectiveness
These are great at working quickly on your cold, and they’re another fantastic natural option. They’re best used at the onset of symptoms, but they also provide decent relief when things get nasty. They’ll get rid of sore throats, coughs, sneezes, runny noses, and more. A really effective product.

Ingredients
The ingredients here are all natural, and they combat a wide range of symptoms for a good fix. These include bryonia, sulphur and zinc. These also include vitamin C and dried elderberry extract.

Cost and Value
Slightly more expensive than others on this list, but only marginally so.

Amazon Link

3. Genexa Crush

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Genexa Crush
Amazon Link

Genexa Crush is homeopathic, non-GMO and organic, and relieves all symptoms associated. It’s the only solution in the world to be certified both non-GMO and organic, so if these are concerns to you, then you’ve found your cold solution! They’re chewable and they taste good.

Read more

Effectiveness
Again, these are fantastic. They provide immediate relief while shortening the length of the illness overall, which is a great combination. It’s not going to completely blow away your cold in one fell swoop, but nothing will – and for an organic product, it works very well.

Ingredients
Loads of active ingredients including allium cepa, belladonna, and Bryonia alba. Inactive ingredients include acai berry flavor and a range of natural additions.

Cost and Value
Around average for this list.

Amazon Link

4. Zicam Dissolving Tablets

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Zicam Dissolving Tablets
Amazon Link

Zicam Dissolving Tablets have a tasty citrus flavor and they’re homeopathic with natural ingredients. They’re best taken at the first sign of illness and the two active ingredients help to give your immune system a boost which helps prevent future bugs.

Read more

Effectiveness
These don’t work too well once the illness has already set in, but they’re very good otherwise. A small number of users seem to find that these don’t work for them, but overall, they're a very good choice.

Ingredients
The two active ingredients are zincum aceticum and zincum gluconicum. Having only two active ingredients, these are a little different than the other solutions already listed here. If you’re looking for these specific ingredients, Zicam is a good choice. If you want something with more active ingredients, you might want to look elsewhere.

Cost and Value
Another average-priced offering.

Amazon Link

5. Mucinex Day and Night Caplets

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Mucinex Day and Night Caplets
Amazon Link

Mucinex Day and Night Caplets work to fight really severe symptoms, so if you’re suffering from something major, these are a great option. They have both a night and day caplet which provides double relief, and they’re perhaps the best option on the list if you’re looking to hit a heavy cold once it’s already set in.

Read more

Effectiveness
If you want something to blast away an intense illness and an option that gives you protection both day and night, you really won’t find anything much better than this. The nighttime caplets help you to sleep through your symptoms, and the ingredients fight a massive range of symptoms including coughs, congestion, runny nose, headaches, and sore throat.

Ingredients
The main active ingredient here is acetaminophen to reduce pain, while others reduce the other symptoms of a cold. Unless you’re looking for a natural remedy, this might be your best option.

Cost
Marginally pricey, but well worth it.

Amazon Link

6. Tylenol Multi-Symptom Relief Caplets

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Tylenol Multi-Symptom Relief Caplets
Amazon Link

Tylenol Multi-Symptom Relief Caplets help to relieve cold symptoms that have already set in, so they’re another great option for when you’re in the middle of a horrible cold. They cover a wide range of symptoms and are drug-based, which may be good or bad depending on your taste. These have to be swallowed whole with water, and you shouldn’t take more than the recommended dose.

Read more

Effectiveness
Being a somewhat hardcore option, they do indeed work well. They are great at battling lots of symptoms, but they are, quite heavy duty, so they’re not a good option if you don’t want something too intense. They can amplify tinnitus in those who suffer from the condition, which might be of significance.

Ingredients
Active ingredients here include acetaminophen and dextromethorphan among others with many ingredients to help lighten your suffering.

Cost and Value
A good low-cost option given its' strength.

Amazon Link

7. Coricidin HBP

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Coricidin HBP
Amazon Link

While doing our research, we encountered many different kinds of options but this one is exceptional. Many people, runners included, suffer from high blood pressure. Some OTC medicines could make your blood pressure rise. Well, definitely not with this product. Coricidin HBP is a medicine that relieves cold symptoms and it's dedicated to people with high blood pressure. Let's see the other features of this product.

Read more

Effectiveness
It provides very fast relief, even in just a few hours, and is great for cough relief. Fever and headache are also less prone and in general, you feel stronger. Runners said that while taking this product, they were able to do mild training. The medicine doesn't raise the blood pressure. High blood pressure is a common problem even for runners who don't suffer from it, and many medicines tend to raise blood pressure.

Ingredients
There are many ingredients in this product. Although it's natural, there are some less good ingredients. One of them is sugar. However most of the ingredients are very healthy for your body, and they help to provide the relief.

Cost and Value
Buying this is a great deal. It costs less than 10 dollars for a package. For one pill, it's about 50 cents. There are two quantity options- just one package or multiple packages, 16 capsules in each package. Again, the price is really attractive.

Amazon Link

8. Theraflu Powder

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Theraflu Powder
Amazon Link

Theraflu Powder is another option for severe sickness and coughs, so if you want an intense hit of medicinal help, it’s a decent choice. The powder dissolves in hot water, which in itself gives a nice relief while having a pleasant taste. The honey, lemon and chamomile flavor is nice and it gets to work on symptoms that are at their worst. If you want relief for mild symptoms, this is for you.

Read more

Effectiveness
Helps you to sleep which is always good, and gets to work on intense symptoms. It helps to soothe symptoms as well as actually remedying them. The drink itself is pretty comforting too. It works fast and helps with lots of symptoms. It’s not the most effective on this list, but there are still plenty of good reasons to buy some!

Ingredients
Your three active ingredients are acetaminophen, diphenhydramine, and phenylephrine. It tastes pretty good too!

Cost and Value
A little pricey compared to most other options on this list, which is often the case with options that come in a powder form.

Amazon Link

9. Robitussin Honey DM Max

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Robitussin Honey DM Max
Amazon Link

Offering a little bit of nature and a little bit of ‘Tussin, Robitussin Honey DM Max offers relief from cough and chest congestion. Their True source guarantee offers a 19.2% of honey in every dose with the promise o sustainably sourced, Grade A, real honey.

Robitussin Honey DM Max is a powerful combination of nature and science and comes in a non-drowsy formula so you can get up and running, keeping up with the daily grind without all the hacking and congestion interruptions. It is also available in a nighttime relief formula so you can get the rest you need without interruption.

Read more

Effectiveness

Effective and fast relief from all those cold symptoms is what Robitussin Honey DM Max offers. Staying true to the brand, Robitussin still offers all the “Doctor Mom” comfort while delivering some of mother nature's goodness. It soothes and allows more symptom-free time for more rapid healing.

Robitussin Hone DM MAx suppresses your coughing by thinning out mucus and coating the bronchial lining and throat. It has fast relief of symptoms and helps control those coughing urges. The honey is a natural antiseptic and not only coats but assist the immune system in mending your body more rapidly.

Ingredients

Gluten-free and containing no artificial colors, Robitussin is known for its powerful combination of ingredients that offer multi-symptom relief. This is why it has been a steady household OTC Cold Medicine, offering decades of relief for families everywhere.

The Dextromethorphan HBr suppresses coughing and the Guaifenesin works simultaneously to thin mucus, helping you get back to regularly scheduled activities faster. What makes this Robitussin stand out is its ethically sourced honey, giving you a 19.2% dose in every serving. Mother earth knows what's up and so does Robitussin so it only makes sense they mix it up to offer a top 10 Best OTC Cold medicine.

Value

Another reason Robitussin is a huge hit is its affordability. You get a great OTC medicine that keeps you going without having to spend tons of money. It also helps you stay out of the doctor's office and that alone adds to its value, saving you even more time and money.

Amazon Link

10. EZC Pak

Where to buy
Amazon Link
EZC Pak
Amazon Link

We know that antibiotics do both bad and good things for our body. When you are sick, there's usually no need to take antibiotics as you can easily boost your immune system with something else. The good way to help you survive is trying EZC Pak. Check out more information about this product.

Read more

Effectiveness
This pack has a special formula and you need to take it for about 5 days to get the best results. It boosts your immune system and you can easily do mild workouts while your body fights off the cold. Users said that it doesn't take long to start feeling better.

Ingredients
An echinacea blend with vitamin C and zinc are the main ingredients of this product. There's about 250 mg of vitamin c, this is more than 4x the daily value. You can take this product with or without food. The capsules are suitable for vegetarians and there's no sugar added.

Cost and Value
This product is a little bit more expensive, it costs around 19 dollars for 28 capsules. When you buy it for the first time, you should buy the lowest amount in case it doesn't work for you. However, if it works well, you can buy more packages (and the price per capsule is lower).

Amazon Link

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Inside RunnerClick Pro, runners of all strengths come together to meet and support one another, get answers to burning questions, learn from experts, participate in personal challenges, and more.