Children's Hospital Colorado

Dextromethorphan (DM)

Disclaimer: The below information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational and reference purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information. Please call your primary care provider or our ParentSmartTM Healthline with any questions. Pediatric nurses are available 24/7 at 720-777-0123.

You can take a cough syrup with dextromethorphan if you have a cough that keeps you up at night. It can also help with a dry, hacky cough at the end of a cold or flu.


  • DM comes as a capsule, liquid, lozenge, or spray.
  • Use as directed on the label. Do not take more than the recommended amount in a day.

Extra Notes and Warnings:

  • This is an over-the-counter (OTC) drug. You can buy it at the drugstore.
  • DM comes alone or mixed in with other medicines.
  • Do not try to stop a cough if you are coughing up phlegm. Coughing is helpful in bringing up mucus from the lungs. This helps keep you from getting pneumonia.
  • Do not take DM if you have taken a MAO inhibitor in the past 2 weeks. These include: isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), and tranylcypromine (Parnate).
  • Do not take this drug if you are taking venlafaxine (Effexor).
  • Research Notes: Some research shows DM helps a cough get better. Other research shows it has little to no effect.
  • Drug Abuse: DM has become a drug of abuse.

Common Brand Names:

  • Adult Tussin DM
  • Adult Tussin Cough - Capsule or Liquid
  • Robitussin Cough and Chest Congestion DM
  • Robitussin Long-Acting CoughGels
  • Vicks DayQuil Cough
  • Vicks Formula 44
  • Zicam Cough MAX

Other Names:

  • DM

Read the instructions and warnings on the package insert for all medicines you take.