Cough Medicine and Cough Syrups

View the Finding Relief for Your Cough Slideshow

Cough Medicine and Cough Syrups Introduction

Got a cold and need medicine for a nagging cough? While there is no quick fix for your cough, some over-the-counter (OTC) cough syrups and cough medicines may give you relief.

Three types of cough medicines are available OTC for the temporary relief of cough caused by a cold or bronchitis. These cough medicines include cough suppressants, oral expectorants, and topical (externally applied) drugs.

Who Should Not Take Cough Medicine or Cough Syrup?

Often, doctors believe that a cough from a cold should not be treated unless it is keeping you up at night or interfering with your activities. Coughing up mucus may help keep your lungs clear. This is especially true if you smoke or have asthma or emphysema.

Dextromethorphan can interact with many medicines including antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Paxil (paroxetine), Lexapro (escitalopram), or Zoloft (sertraline); serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) such as venlafaxine (Effexor) and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI). Do not take dextromethorphan if you are on other medication unless cleared by your doctor. In addition, some combination cold and cough medicines contain decongestants. If you have high blood pressure or heart disease, avoid taking these drugs. Decongestants can raise blood pressure.

Quick GuideCold and Flu: Finding Relief for Your Cough

Cold and Flu: Finding Relief for Your Cough
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