Combination cold and flu medicines: an overview of autonomic nervous system receptors

Annatjie Bouwer
South African Family Practice | Vol 54, No 1 : January/February| a2602 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/safp.v54i1.2602 | ©
Submitted: 26 January 2012 | Published: 29 February 2012

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Annatjie Bouwer,, South Africa

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In the pharmacy, colds and flu are commonly treated illnesses, and medicines that contain decongestants, antihistamines, analgesics, cough suppressants and expectorants are used alone, or in combination, to relieve typical symptoms. Combination cold and flu medicines can have certain adverse effects on the autonomic nervous system. This article provides an overview of the functioning of the autonomic nervous system (ANS), the pharmacological effects of the common ingredients in cold and flu medicines on the ANS, as well as the contraindications to consider when offering these medicines.


colds; flu; autonomic nervous system receptors


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