Many of us have certain things that we refuse to get from dollar stores. For me, it’s certain foodstuffs, like cereal, or even macaroni and cheese. Sure, some of the things in those aisles are decent quality, and can represent good deals, but I’ve been burned more often than not by their foods in the past, and unless it’s a name brand, or something I trust, I generally won’t go anywhere near it.
For many, I would assume medicine would be another area of hesitancy. After all, living in America we are trained to believe that healthcare has to cost a fortune in order to “work”; offering multi-packs of pills for just a dollar certainly goes against that method of thinking. And if they can’t even get decent-tasting cereal for a dollar, how can they make functioning medicines?
I still can’t answer that question, but what I can say is that Dollar Tree medicines are, generally speaking, every bit as good as the brands you would pay up to 20x more for. But even despite knowing this helpful tidbit of information, we nevertheless always find ourselves without medicine when we need it, and of course the only time we think about it is when it’s too late and a sickness is already running through the family. In this case, it was a weird conglomeration of everything but the flu (thank goodness for those flu shots!) with sniffles, fevers, coughing, tears, and phlegm being shared by everyone.
Vowing not to let this happen again, I went to DT and stocked up on all the essentials we already should have had: by the end of the trip, I had no fewer than five cold, flu, and allergy medicines in my basket, and one of those was Assured Nitetime Cold & Flu relief, a liquid take on the famous name brand liquid cold medicine that handles a bevy of symptoms “so you can get your rest.” That medicine always knocked me on my ass when I took it as a younger adult, and so Assured’s version had some pretty large shoes to fill. How did it stack up?
First of all, even though no one reading this will care, the reason I chose the liquid over the others that I bought, is because I have an irrational anxiety of taking pills. And I don’t mean because I think the government’s chipping them to track me, or there are weird unnatural ingredients that cause more harm than good (though, if proven true, I wouldn’t be shocked at either of those): I just have a weird fear of choking. I don’t know where it came from, because I know of no one else in my family that has this issue, but I pretty much refuse to take “large” pills (and what constitutes “large” for me, others would probably scoff at), and so I generally just prefer to take liquids, where applicable.
The only problem with that is, I hate the taste of liquid medicine, too. This one is no different, and is pretty much exactly how I remembered the flavor as a kid: a bitter combination of licorice and metals that immediately made me pucker and want to gag. But then there was a final component that I don’t remember: a weird, soothing feeling of mint. Oh, you don’t get the benefit of actually tasting it: it just slowly flows over your tongue, as if offering itself as an apology to the atrocity you just tasted. It’s completely weird, but does no harm, so whatever.
I didn’t even take the medicine until after midnight, and made the conscientious decision only to take around half of the recommended 30mL dose (it was closer to 20), knowing that our baby would probably be up early in the morning, and that my wife—who was worse off than I was—was in even less condition to watch him. About fifteen minutes after taking the medicine, I settled into bed.
All I remember is waking up, semi-groggily, around 4 a.m. just to use the restroom, after which point I fell back asleep almost immediately—and didn’t fully wake up until 8 a.m, just in time to hear baby rustling around in his bed. A solid 8 hours of rest, from around half of the recommended dose. But the amazing thing was, I didn’t feel groggy…in fact, I honestly felt kind of refreshed! As to how the medicine itself worked (aside from putting me out for eight hours), I had a ridiculous cough that just would not stop prior to taking it, as well as some chest congestion, so it managed to suppress all those long enough to put me to sleep. In other words, it’s every bit as good as the name brand!
Now, this being a product from Dollar Tree, there are a couple things worth noting: The bottle is a mere 4 oz., which is 1/3 the size of the typical 12 oz. bottles found in most other retail stores. This equates to just four full-size servings. Still, all you have to do is buy 3 for $3 total, and you’ll still be well under the cost of even most store brands for similar sizes elsewhere (just as a reference point: as of this writing, Walmart sells 12 oz. bottles of their Equate store brand for $5.97). This is a great product, and one you shouldn’t be without when the cold (or flu) eventually storms its way through your household.
Two other things I feel are worth noting: it still contains the 10% alcohol found in the national brand, so if you’re looking for an alcohol-free alternative, you’ll have to grab the pills instead (which are also available at Dollar Tree); and the licorice-y “original” is the only flavor available, either in-store or online, so if you prefer cherry or whatever else they offer, you’re out of luck. Other than that, it performs as it should, and for a truly outstanding price.
Overall: 10/10. An outstanding product at an outstanding price, that’s easily on par with the national brand. It tastes every bit as awful as the original, with a weird, minty finish that completely caught me off guard. But once you get past that, you’re most likely on a crash course with peaceful sleep and slumber, even with strong symptoms. I had a cough that kept both my wife, as well as myself, awake the previous night, and for eight hours (on a smaller than recommended dose), this took care of that like it was nothing, putting me to sleep for eight hours and without leaving me feeling groggy upon waking up. The bottles are small, but even buying three to equal a normal 12 oz. bottle only comes out to $3, far cheaper than even most store brands. Maybe the biggest drawback for some will be that the 10% alcohol content of the original is kept intact, so if you need an alcohol-free alternative, you’ll have to grab the pills instead (which are also available at Dollar Tree). Outside of these small issues, this is a fantastic product that should be in everyone’s medicine cabinet in preparation of cold and flu season.