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Side Effects of Delsym Cough Suppressant

author image Sarah Harding
Sarah Harding has written stacks of research articles dating back to 2000. She has consulted in various settings and taught courses focused on psychology. Her work has been published by ParentDish, Atkins and other clients. Harding holds a Master of Science in psychology from Capella University and is completing several certificates through the Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association.
Side Effects of Delsym Cough Suppressant
Side Effects of Delsym Cough Suppressant Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Delsym Cough Suppressant contains the active ingredient dextromethorphan, Drugs.com reports. It is often used to treat colds or coughing associated with the flu. This medication does not cure the underlying cause of the cough but instead decreases the activity in the part of the brain that causes coughing, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Common Side Effects

According to the NIH, the use of Delsym Cough Suppressant may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, drowsiness, nervousness, restlessness, nausea, vomiting and stomach pain. If these side effects are uncomfortable the medication should not be continued. These effects are not serious unless they are persistent.

Serious Side Effects

NIH recommends seeking medical attention if a rash occurs while taking the cough suppressant. Other side effects that require medical care include constipation, headache and stomach pain that is severe or persistent, per Drugs.com. These side effects are generally rare, according to Drugs.com. This medication does have the potential for allergic response in some individuals. Signs of allergy include swelling of the throat, mouth or tongue and/or difficulty breathing.

Overdose and Abuse

An overdose should be suspected if an individual experiences unsteadiness, changes in vision, difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, hallucinations, seizures or a loss of consciousness, the NIH advises. Individuals with these symptoms should seek emergency medical attention. Drugs.com identifies symptoms of overdose as severe vomiting, difficulty urinating, drowsiness, unsteady walk, severe irritability, or unusual excitement. According to the U.S. Office of Diversion Control, dextromethorphan is often abused for a sense of euphoria or hallucination. The term "skittling" refers to the act of getting high on the medicine. Signs that someone is abusing Delsym Cough Suppressant include slurred speech, sweating, elevated blood pressure, and a heightened sense of perceptual awareness, per the U.S. Office of Diversion Control. They also point out that high doses of Delsym can lead to serious cardiovascular issues, and deaths have been reported.

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