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Robitussin dry cough medicine

Written by Caidr's team of doctors and pharmacists based in UK | Updated: 26.01.2023 | 2 min read

Robitussin Dry Cough Medicine is used to provide relief from dry irritating coughs. It contains the active ingredient dextromethorphan, and it is only suitable for adults and children aged 12 and above.

How does it work?

Dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant (antitussive). It is thought that it may stop you from coughing by suppressing brain activity responsible for the normal cough reflex. However, it is not fully clear how effective dextromethorphan is – but if it works for you by reducing that irritating cough, then great!

How much should I take?

Adults and children aged 12 and above can take 10ml up to four times a day when required. Do not take the medication for longer than seven days.

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Who should not take the medication?

Do not take Robitussin dry cough medicine if you are allergic to dextromethorphan or another ingredient in it. The medication is not suitable for children under 12. If you have reasons to avoid alcohol, be aware that Robitussin dry cough medicine contains a small amount of alcohol.

You should speak with your doctor before taking the medication if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. You should also speak with your doctor before taking the medication if you have asthma, COPD, another respiratory problem, liver problems, current or past addiction to alcohol or drugs, or an intolerance to certain sugars.

Occasionally a cough can be a symptom of a more severe condition. Do speak to your doctor if you have had a cough for more than three weeks, are coughing up blood, have lost weight unexpectedly, or have chest pain or shortness of breath.

Dextromethorphan can interact with other medications such as antidepressants, amiodarone, tramadol, and terbinafine. If you take any prescription, over-the-counter, or herbal medicines, ask your doctor or pharmacist whether it is safe for you to take Robitussin dry cough medicine.

Are there any side-effects?

As with all medications, some people may experience side effects. If any side effects become bothersome, you should speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Potential side effects can include drowsiness, dizziness, stomach upset and confusion. It is best to avoid drinking alcohol when taking dextromethorphan, as it can increase the likelihood and severity of any side effects.

Sometimes dextromethorphan can cause addiction due to its euphoric effects (especially at high doses). It can also cause dependency, where you feel unwell if you don't take the medication. Withdrawal effects can include restlessness, difficulty sleeping, irritability, anxiety, feeling your heartbeat (palpitations), nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, shaking, shivering and sweating. Addiction and dependency are more likely to occur if you take the medication for a long time – so do not take the medication for any longer than seven days in a row. If you think you are suffering from dextromethorphan addiction or dependency, you should speak with your doctor.

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