What is Delsym?

Delsym is a drug that belongs to a class of medicines referred to as antitussives. These are cough suppressants. Delsym is a brand name for dextromethorphan, and comes in other brand names as Babee Cof, Buckleys Mixture, Sucrets DM Cough, DayQuil Cough, Elixsure Cough, Robafen Cough Liquidgels, Father John’s Medicine, Scot-Tussin Diabetic, or Benylin DM Pediatric.1,2

Delsym cough syrup

Uses of Delsym

Dextromethorphan is a combination drug that helps to treat cough in the short term. It helps relief symptoms caused by flu, common cold, allergies and other breathing conditions like bronchitis and sinusitis. The medication may not be used to treat ongoing coughs caused by smoking or asthma. It may not be used to treat long term breathing problems like emphysema and chronic bronchitis or coughs that present with too much mucus (productive coughs).3

How Delsym Works?

As a cough suppressant, it works to reduce the feeling of coughing. The medication does not shorten healing time of common cold and it does not cure it. The drug affects brain signals that trigger cough reflex. It suppresses dry, hacking coughs, and works only for short-term.2,3,4

Important Info

You should not use Delsym to treat cold symptoms among children who are less than 6 years old. It’s not safe to give cough-and-cold medicines to children of young age. Death may occur if cough-and-cold medications are misused in young children. Talk to a physician before you can give Delsym to a young child.

Also, don’t use this drug if you have taken MOA inhibitors within the past two weeks. A dangerous interaction may occur. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs or MAOs) are a class of antidepressants that were first to be developed, but they have become unpopular due to their level interactions with other drugs and certain foods. MAOIs block the activities of monoamine oxidase enzymes that helps breakdown chemicals in brain such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.5,6

Examples of MAOIs include methylene blue injection, isocarboxazid, tranylcyprominem, linezolid, phenelzine, selegiline, and rasagiline among others.

Delsym is intended to treat non-productive cough, which is usually a dry, hacking cough accompanying common cold and irritation of the throat by inhalation of irritants. A productive cough on the other hand is that which brings up mucus or phlegm. The mucus is helpful in clearing airways. So, Delsym may not work well for the case of a productive cough. 5

Because it’s not known if Delsym can harm fetus or unborn baby, you don’t want to use the medication if you are pregnant. It is important to realize that dextromethorphan can pass into the mother’s breast milk, and therefore may harm a breastfeeding baby, so you shouldn’t use it if you are nursing a baby.

How to Use Delsym?

You should use Delsym as has been directed by a doctor or as has been labeled in the pack. It’s not advisable to take the medication in excess or use it for extended periods. Take it only for a limited time until you see the symptoms have cleared up. You should measure liquid medicine using the syringe that is provided or a dose-measuring cup or spoon.

When taking the medication, you want to drink more fluids that lubricate the throat and loosen up the congestion. If you take dextromethorphan and the symptoms don’t improve after 7 days of taking the drug, you should consult with a physician. Also see a doctor if you experience skin rash, headache, fever, and cough. Again, tell your doctor about any cough medicine you may have used in the last few days if you are going for surgery.1,2

What to Do if You Miss Delsym Dose?

Cough medicines may not rely on a strict dosing schedule, so if you missed a dose, you just need to take it soon you remember. If the time for the next dose has come and you haven’t taken the missed dose, just skip it and take the next scheduled one.

What to Do if You Overdose on Delysm?

If you overdose on dextromethorphan, you should seek doctor’s help. An overdose on Delysm may present with symptoms such as:1

  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Slowed breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Unsteady walk and shakiness
  • Unusual nervousness, excitement, irritability, or restlessness

Things to Avoid

You should not take alcohol if you are using dextromethorphan medication because it can increase the drug’s side effects. Be careful when you drive or operate machinery because the medication can impair your reactions or thinking. You should avoid taking caffeine pills, diet pills, and other stimulants including ADHD medicines, unless you talk to a physician.

Stimulants, when taken along with Delsym, may bring about unpleasant side effects. Many drugs you find over the counter could be having Delsym, so if you take them along with the medication, you may increase the amount you put in your body at any one time.1

What are Delsym Side Effects?

Taking cough suppressant like Delsym may bring side effects some of which include:1

  • Severe dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Nervousness
  • Restless feeling
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Shallow or slow breathing

If you notice these side effects, consult with a doctor. A person taking Delsym may also experience signs of an allergy such as:

  • Difficult breathing
  • Hives
  • Swollen lips and throat, or tongue

If you have these signs of allergic reactions, you should get emergency help from a doctor. It is also common for individuals taking the drug to have stomach upset.

Delsym Drug Interaction

Many drugs or even food products may interact with Delsym and you should explain to the doctor the kind of medications you may be using prior to being administered with dextromethorphan. Just because there is a possibility of having a drug interact with Delsym doesn’t necessarily mean that you should stop taking it. A doctor’s advice is however needed to see what works best for you.

The following medicines may cause drug-drug interaction when taken along with Delsym:2

  • MAO inhibitors such as maprotiline, selegiline, and moclobemide
  • lopinavir
  • delavirdine
  • ritonavir
  • quinidine
  • methotrimeprazine
  • migraine medications like zolmitriptan, sumatriptan, or almotriptan
  • tricyclic antidepressants like imipramine and amitriptyline
  • terbinafine
  • St. John’s wort
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as paroxetine, fluoxetine, and citalopram.

Reference List

  1. Delsym.
  2. Delsym DM.
  3. Delsym Cough-Cold Liquid.
  4. Delsym Liquid Extended Release.
  6. Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors.

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