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Cough suppressants

Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Cough suppressants Cough suppressants Adult, Children

Cough suppressants - What is it for

​Cough suppressants are a group of medications which work by stopping the urge to cough and reducing the times you cough. Cough suppressants may contain ingredients such as codeine, dextromethorphan, pholcodine, promethazine and diphenhydramine. They may be found in either liquid, tablet form, or lozenges form.

They can be found in combination with other ingredients for runny or blocked nose.

Cough suppressants - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Cough suppressants cause?

  • Some cough suppressants may cause drowsiness or dizziness.
    • Avoid driving, operating machinery or other activities which require concentration if affected.
  • Common side effects of cough suppressants may include nausea or vomiting, stomach upset and constipation.
    • These effects are usually mild and will pass quickly.

The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:

  • Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately. 

Before taking Cough suppressants , what precautions must I follow?

​Inform your healthcare professional if:

  • You are allergic to cough suppressants or any of the other ingredients of cough suppressants
  • You are taking any long term medications, including supplements, traditional medications and herbal remedies
  • You have history of asthma, lung diseases, difficulty urinating, seizures, high blood pressure, heart or liver diseases.
  • You are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Cough suppressants ?

​Do let your healthcare professional know if you are taking any other long term medications, especially medications for mood disorders (e.g. Fluvoxamine), seizures (e.g. Phenytoin), runny nose (e.g. chlorpheniramine), muscle relaxants (e.g. Orphenadrine), sleeping pills (e.g. Lorazepam).

Cough suppressants - Dosage and How to Use

How should Cough suppressants be used?

  • ​Take cough suppressants as prescribed by your healthcare professionals. Consult your healthcare professional if you are not sure how to take the cough medication correctly.
  • Cough suppressants may be taken with or without food
  • For cough suppressant syrups, shake the bottle well before use
  • If your symptoms persist or worsen after one week of taking this medication, please speak to your healthcare professional.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

​If your forget to take a dose, take it as soon as your remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue normally. Do not take two doses to make up for the missed dose.

What should I do if I overdose?

Cough suppressants - Handling

How should I handle Cough suppressants safely?

Cough suppressants - Storage

How should I store Cough suppressants ?

Keep away from children;#Keep in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight;#

​For cough syrups, discard the bottle 6 months after first opening or if expired, whichever sooner.

How should I dispose of Cough suppressants safely?

​Pack cough suppressant into a black trash bag and seal it tightly before throwing it into the rubbish chute or bin.

Cough suppressants - Additional Information

​Signs that your condition may require further medical attention include:

  • Cough with thick yellow or green phlegm or mucus, or blood
  • Fever more than 38.6⁰C
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Drenching night sweats
  • Cough lasting for longer than 3-4 weeks
  • Cough that happens after your start a new medication
  • Development of new symptoms during self-treatment

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately. 

  • Updated on Sunday, February 28, 2021
  • Article contributed by PSS National Medication Information Workgroup PSS National Medication Information Workgroup

    The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

    If you take more than the recommended dose, please seek medical advice immediately. The information provided on this page does not replace information from your healthcare professional. Please consult your healthcare professional for more information.

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