Suppressants do their job by blocking your cough reflex. Dextromethorphan is the most common ingredient for this. You’ll see it listed as DM on the bottle or package. This type of medication isn’t used to treat a cough with mucus. And it can’t relieve pain like the medicine codeine – you’ll need a doctor’s prescription for cough meds with that in it.
A cough with phlegm can be a good thing — it clears all the gunk from your airways. But talk to your doctor if it keeps you from sleeping.
Cough suppressants relieve your cough by blocking the cough reflex. Dextromethorphan, or DM, is the most common cough suppressant. Dextromethorphan does not have the pain-relieving and addictive properties of codeine, a narcotic cough suppressant that requires a doctor’s prescription.
Some doctors say drinking water is the best way to get rid of mucus, but you can also use medications like guaifenesin. This drug thins the drainage so it’s easier to move out. The most frequent side effect of this med is nausea and vomiting. If you have a dry, hacking cough, dextromethorphan may give you relief. Generally, these cough syrups and cough medicines are not used to suppress a cough where you cough up mucus. A productive cough helps clear secretions and mucus from the airways. Talk to your doctor if you have a productive cough that’s preventing you from sleeping.
Camphor and menthol are natural treatments. They usually come in an ointment you rub on your throat and chest. Their strong-smelling vapors may ease your cough and open up your stuffy head. You can also get them in liquid form to use with a vaporizer, a gadget that makes steam you can breathe in. You’ll find menthol in lozenges and compressed tablets.
Many over-the-counter treatments mix a suppressant and expectorant with medicines for other symptoms. That could include;
The mash-up can be a good thing if you have a range of cold symptoms, like body aches, coughs, and congestion. The downside is that you may get medicine you don’t need.
Many OTC cold and cough syrups and cough medicines contain a cough suppressant (dextromethorphan) plus an expectorant (guaifenesin) along with other cold medicines and pain relievers.
Combination cold and cough medicine may contain an;
Combination medicines may give optimal relief if you have multiple cold symptoms, such as;
The downside of the combination cold medicines is that you may be taking medication that you don’t need, depending on your symptoms.
The doctor may tell you not to treat a cough from a cold unless it keeps you up at night or gets in the way of your daily life. Coughing up mucus helps keep your lungs clear. This is especially true if you smoke or have asthma or emphysema.
The most important key is to understand how the cough syrup or cough medicine works. That includes knowing what the side effects are. Then talk to your doctor if you have concerns about your cough or cough medicine. Trust your doctor to make the best decision with your overall health in mind.
Dextromethorphan can interact with many medicines including:
Medically Reviewed on 12/9/2019
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on May 15, 2019.
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