Midol Ingredient Review: Effective for PMS?

Midol Ingredient Review: Effective for PMS?

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Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s). We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to over-the-counter (OTC) medication.

Midol is a popular OTC medication that's used to relieve period symptoms such as cramps, bloating and fatigue. It’s manufactured and sold by Bayer, which is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.

Many consumers turn to Midol when they’re experiencing uncomfortable period symptoms, but are its ingredients actually proven to work based on medical research? Does it contain any questionable additives? And is it safe for men to take Midol?

In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more, as we analyze the ingredients in Midol to give our take on whether or not the product is likely to be effective, and whether or not it's healthy

We'll also explain whether or not it's safe for men to take Midol.

Midol Complete Active Ingredient Analysis

Midol Complete active ingredients list

Midol Complete contains three active ingredients: acetaminophen, caffeine and pyrilamine maleate.

The brand claims this product provides six hours of symptom relief. 

Acetaminophen is a pain reliever that’s included in many OTC drugs.

As we documented in our DayQuil ingredients article, acetaminophen is proven in many clinical trials to reduce pain significantly, and it's effectively dosed in this product at 500 milligrams (mg).

Caffeine is the second active ingredient, and is included at a dosage of 60 mg.

This is around two-thirds of the caffeine content in a cup of coffee.

Caffeine is one of the most well-studied energy supplements in the world, and clinical research has shown that it can improve subjective energy levels at a dose similar to that in Midol.

Pyrilamine maleate is an antihistamine.

This ingredient appears to be particularly effective for treating premenstrual syndrome (PMS)-related pain as documented by a clinical trial published in the Medwave journal.

Antihistamines may also reduce other symptoms of PMS such as headache and fatigue.

Overall, we consider this to be a well-formulated drug that’s likely to reduce the severity of period symptoms and provide pain relief.

Inactive Ingredient Analysis

Midol Complete inactive ingredients list

The inactive ingredients in Midol Complete are shown above.

There are two ingredients we consider to be unhealthy.

FD&C Blue #2 is an artificial food dye, which is a class of compounds with questionable health effects and no nutritive or functional benefits.

A medical review on the toxicology of food dyes, published in the International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, concluded the following:

“The inadequacy of much of the testing and the evidence for carcinogenicity, genotoxicity, and hypersensitivity…indicates that all of the currently used dyes should be removed from the food supply and replaced, if at all, by safer colorings.”

Titanium dioxide is another food coloring agent which is banned in the European Union (EU) for use as a food additive due to toxicity concerns.

Can Men Take Midol?

Because Midol treats a number of discomforting symptoms like bloating and headache that either sex can experience, male consumers are often curious if they can take this OTC drug to relieve those same symptoms.

According to Midol’s FAQ page, it’s safe for men to take Midol if they’re experiencing similar symptoms to women with PMS.

The brand notes that the formulation was created specifically for women.

While we don’t believe that Midol is likely to be harmful to men, we wouldn’t recommend that men take this drug because there are other products used to treat headache and bloating that aren’t formulated specifically for painful periods, and which free of artificial dye and titanium dioxide.

Our Clean PMS Picks

Relizen by Bonafide is our top overall PMS relief pick.

Purified pollen extract is clinically shown to relieve PMS symptoms like night disturbances and irritability, and Relizen contains the same format of purified pollen as used in the above-linked trial.

Performance Lab Magnesium is our top value PMS relief pick.

Magnesium is clinically shown to relieve negative mood changes associated with PMS when supplemented orally.

Momentous Zinc is our top PMS health pick.

A medical review published in the Frontiers in Nutrition journal concluded the following:

"Overall, zinc supplementation for 12 weeks among women with PMS had a beneficial impact on physical and psychological symptoms, total antioxidant capacity, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor."

All of the products recommended in this section are entirely free of ingredients that we consider to be unhealthy.

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews


Midol Complete is likely to reduce symptoms of PMS.

It’s formulated with active pharmaceutical ingredients which are proven in research to relieve pain, reduce fatigue and relieve other symptoms of PMS.

Midol Complete contains additive ingredients like artificial dye and titanium dioxide which health-conscious consumers may wish to avoid.

Men can take Midol, but it seems illogical as this product was formulated specifically for women, and because there are other supplements that men can take to treat some of the same symptoms (like headache) which are free of questionable additive ingredients.