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Top 10 Dry Cough Syrups: Benefits and Uses

Written byRohini Mankar

Last updated on : 04 Jun, 2024

Read time : 14 min

Ah, the pesky cough. It’s that annoying tickle in your throat that won’t go away. Choose good cough syrup for your symptoms. This article will explore cough syrup’s uses, types, and potential side effects. 

Possible causes of cough are:

What is cough syrup?

Cough syrup is a liquid medication formulated to treat coughs and related symptoms, such as sore throat, congestion, and chest discomfort. It’s typically taken orally, and its active ingredients suppress coughing by reducing the sensitivity of the cough reflex in the brain. Cough syrup may contain ingredients that soothe the throat, loosen mucus, and relieve congestion.

What are the various types of cough syrup?

There are two main types of cough syrup: Expectorants and Suppressants.

  • Expectorants are medications that help loosen and thin mucus in the air passage, making it easier to cough up. They’re usually recommended for people with productive coughs, meaning they cough up mucus.
  • Suppressants, on the other hand, work to reduce the frequency and intensity of coughing. They’re recommended for people with dry, non-productive coughs, meaning they’re not coughing up mucus.
  • Combination cough Syrup is a type of cough medicine that contains multiple active ingredients to target different symptoms of coughing. This cough syrup is often used to relieve dry and wet coughs and other associated symptoms such as congestion and sore throat.

The intended use of cough syrup

  • Relieving Coughing: Cough syrups are primarily used to relieve coughing, regardless of whether it is a productive or dry cough.
  • Treating Sore Throat: Some cough syrups contain ingredients that help to soothe a sore throat and relieve discomfort.
  • Reducing Congestion: Certain cough syrups contain decongestants that help to reduce congestion in the respiratory tract, making it easier to breathe.
  • Inducing Sleep: Some cough syrups contain ingredients that cause drowsiness, making them helpful in inducing sleep.

How does cough syrup work? 

Once you take cough syrup, the active ingredients are absorbed into your bloodstream and distributed throughout your body. The cough suppressant or expectorant then begins to work by either blocking the cough reflex in the brain or thinning mucus in the airways.

Active Ingredients in Cough Syrup

Some standard compositions in cough syrup include

  • Dextromethorphan (DM): A cough suppressant that helps reduce the urge to cough. It’s often found in over-the-counter cough medications and can help treat dry coughs.
  • Guaifenesin is an expectorant that loosens and thin mucus, making coughing easier. It’s often found in medications for wet coughs and chest congestion.
  • Diphenhydramine: An antihistamine that can help relieve allergy-related coughing.
  • Promethazine:  It is an antihistamine commonly found in prescription cough syrups. It helps to reduce the urge to cough and can also cause drowsiness.
  • Pseudoephedrine is a decongestant that helps reduce swelling in the nasal passages, making breathing easier. It’s often found in medications for nasal congestion and sinus pressure.
  • Phenylephrine: A decongestant that helps relieve nasal congestion.
  • Chlorpheniramine: This antihistamine can help reduce inflammation in the airways and alleviate symptoms of allergies, such as a runny nose and itchy eyes.
  • Codeine: Codeine is an opioid medication sometimes used in cough syrup to relieve pain and help suppress coughs.

Choosing the Right Cough Syrup

Depending upon the following factors, cough syrups may be recommended.

1. Determining the type of cough 

  1. Dry Cough: A dry cough is non-productive, meaning you’re not producing mucus or phlegm. A dry cough can be persistent and irritating and may cause soreness in the throat. A viral infection, allergies, or irritants can cause this cough. Dry cough syrup can be an effective way to alleviate coughing and other symptoms associated with dry cough. Other dry cough remedies that may be helpful will include peppermint tea, eucalyptus oil, and ginger.
  2. Wet Cough: A wet cough is a productive cough, meaning you’re coughing up mucus or phlegm. A wet cough can accompany other symptoms, such as congestion, chest discomfort, and fatigue. A viral or bacterial infection can cause this type of cough or be a sign of a more serious respiratory condition such as bronchitis or pneumonia. Home remedies that may be helpful include ginger tea, honey, and thyme.
  3. Barky Cough: A barky cough is a harsh, barking cough often associated with croup, a viral infection affecting young children’s upper airways. An allergic reaction or irritation in the throat can also cause this type of cough.
  4. Wheezing Cough: A wheezing cough is a high-pitched whistling sound when breathing in or out. This type of cough can indicate asthma, bronchitis, or other respiratory conditions. Wheezing can accompany other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, chest tightness, and fatigue.
  5. Chronic Cough lasts for more than eight weeks. Various factors, including postnasal drip, acid reflux, allergies, and smoking, can cause this type of cough. A chronic cough can be persistent and disruptive to daily life and may be accompanied by other symptoms such as fatigue and chest discomfort.

2. Selecting the appropriate active ingredient

It’s essential to read the label carefully. It’s important to note that different cough syrups can contain different combinations and amounts of these active ingredients and other ingredients, such as flavourings and preservatives. Please talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist for any concerns or queries about the best cough syrup.

3. Avoiding dangerous drug interactions

It’s also essential to use cough syrup as directed and to avoid taking multiple medications that contain similar active ingredients, as this can increase the risk of side effects and overdose. Consult your healthcare provider for further evaluation and treatment if you’re experiencing a persistent cough or other symptoms.

Dosage and Administration

1. Recommended dosage based on age and weight

When taking cough syrup, following the recommended dosage guidelines based on age and weight is essential. Taking too much medication can lead to potential side effects or overdose, while taking too little may not provide enough relief from your symptoms.

The recommended dosage for cough syrup can vary depending on the specific medication and its active ingredients. In general, dosage recommendations are based on age and weight.

It’s essential to follow the instructions on the label carefully, as different medications may have different dosages.

2. How to correctly measure and administer cough syrup

Correctly measuring and administering cough syrup is essential to safely and effectively treat coughing and associated symptoms. Follow some tips on how to do it correctly:

  • Please read the label carefully: Before administering cough syrup, it’s essential to carefully read the label and understand the recommended dosage, frequency, and special instructions. Different cough syrups may have different dosages, so following the instructions for your specific medication is essential.
  • Use a suitable measuring device: It’s essential to use a proper measuring device, such as a dosing spoon or syringe, to ensure accurate measurement of the medication. Using a household spoon can lead to inaccurate measurements and potential overdose.
  • Shake the bottle well: Before measuring the medication, it’s essential to shake the bottle well to ensure that the active ingredients are evenly distributed.
  • Measure the medication carefully: Use the measuring device to measure the correct amount of medication as directed on the label. It’s essential to measure the medication at eye level to ensure accuracy.
  • Administer the medication as directed: On the label, once you have measured it. Some cough syrups may need to be taken with food or water, so following special instructions is essential.
  • Store the medication properly: After administering the medication, store the bottle according to the instructions on the label. It may involve keeping it in a cool, dry place or the refrigerator.
  • Dispose of the medication properly: Once you have finished taking the medication, be sure to dispose of any leftover medication properly according to local guidelines. Do not keep leftover medication for future use unless directed by a healthcare professional.

3. Common mistakes to avoid when taking cough syrup

Some common mistakes to avoid when taking cough syrup:

  • Not reading the label: It’s important to carefully read the label of the cough syrup and follow the recommended dosage, frequency, and any special instructions. Not following the label can lead to an overdose or underdose, which can be harmful.
  • Taking multiple medications with similar ingredients: Taking multiple cough syrups or medications with similar ingredients can increase the risk of side effects or overdose. Always read the labels and avoid taking multiple medications that contain the same active ingredients.
  • Taking cough syrup with alcohol: Mixing cough syrup with alcohol can be dangerous and increase the risk of side effects such as drowsiness or dizziness.
  • Giving cough syrup to young children: Cough syrup is generally not recommended for children under six. Determining the appropriate dosage based on weight can be challenging and lead to potential side effects.
  • Not measuring the medication accurately: Using a household spoon to measure cough syrup can lead to inaccurate measurements and potential overdose. Always use the measuring device that comes with the medication to ensure accurate dosing.
  • Storing cough syrup improperly: Improper storage of cough syrup, such as leaving it in a hot or humid environment, can reduce its effectiveness or cause it to spoil. Always store cough syrup according to the instructions on the label.
  • A prolonged intake of cough syrup after symptoms have improved: Cough syrup alleviates symptoms while the body fights off infection. Continuing to take it after improving symptoms can lead to potential side effects and unnecessary medication use.

Here are the Top 10 Cough Syrups for Dry Cough

Sr. numberName of the Cough SyrupComposition
1.Tusq Dx SyrupChlorpheniramine Maleate (2 Mg) + Dextromethorphan (15 Mg) + Phenylephrine (5 Mg)
2.Asthakind DX SyrupChlorpheniramine Maleate (2 Mg) + Dextromethorphan (15 Mg) + Phenylephrine (5 Mg)
3.Alex Sf SyrupChlorpheniramine Maleate (2 Mg) + Dextromethorphan Hydrobromide (10 Mg) + Phenylephrine (5 Mg)
4.Alkof SyrupChlorpheniramine (4 Mg) + Dextromethorphan (10 Mg)
5.Chericof SyrupDextromethorphan (10 Mg) + Phenylephrine (5 Mg)
6.Benadryl Dr Dry Cough Active Relief SyrupDextromethorphan Hydrobromide (15 Mg)
7.Ascoril D Plus SyrupChlorpheniramine Maleate (2 Mg) + Dextromethorphan Hydrobromide (10 Mg) + Phenylephrine (5 Mg)
8.Lincotus Dx Dry Cough Sf SyrupAmbroxol (15 Mg) + Chlorpheniramine Maleate (2 Mg) + Dextromethorphan (10 Mg) + Menthol (1.5 Mg) + Phenylephrine (5 Mg)
9.Zedex Sf SyrupAmmonium Chloride (50 Mg) + Bromhexine (4 Mg) + Dextromethorphan (5 Mg)
10.Cofsils Cough SyrupAmmonium Chloride (138 Mg) + Diphenhydramine (14.08 Mg) + Sodium Citrate (57.03 Mg)

Precautions and Side Effects

Possible side effects of cough syrup

Cough syrup can alleviate coughing and other symptoms. Still, like any medication, it can cause potential side effects. Here are some possible side effects of cough syrup:

  • Drowsiness: Many cough syrups contain ingredients that can cause drowsiness or sedation. It can make concentrating or operating machinery difficult, leading to falls and other accidents.
  • Dizziness: Cough syrups can cause dizziness, especially when taken in high doses or mixed with other medications.
  • Nausea and vomiting: Some cough syrups can cause stomach upset, leading to nausea and vomiting.
  • Allergic reactions: Cough syrup ingredients may cause allergic reactions in some people leading to hives, itching, and difficulty breathing.
  • Confusion: Some cough syrups can confuse, especially in older adults or those with underlying medical conditions.
  • Blurred vision: Cough syrup can cause blurred vision, especially when taken in high doses or mixed with other medications.
  • Dry mouth: Cough syrup can cause dry mouth, increasing the risk of dental decay and other oral health issues.

Safety concerns when taking cough syrup

Here are some safety concerns to keep in mind when taking cough syrup:

  • Allergic reactions:  If you experience allergic reactions like hives, itching, and difficulty breathing, stop taking the medication and seek medical attention immediately.
  • Overdose: Taking too much cough syrup can lead to an overdose, which can be dangerous or even fatal. Always follow the recommended dosage and use the measuring device that comes with the medication to ensure accurate dosing.
  • Interactions with other medications: Cough syrup can interact with other medications, especially those that contain similar ingredients. Always read the labels and avoid taking multiple medications that contain the same active ingredients.
  • Side effects: Some cough syrups can cause side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, and nausea. If you experience any side effects, be sure to consult with your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
  • Children and elderly: All cough syrups for adults may not be safe. Their bodies may not tolerate the medication.
  • Likewise, in children, all cough syrups aren’t recommended. Always consult a healthcare provider before giving cough syrup to children or elderly individuals.
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding: It’s essential to consult a healthcare provider before taking cough syrup if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Some medications may not be safe for use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
  • Substance abuse: Some cough syrups contain ingredients that can be abused or used recreationally. It’s essential to use cough syrup only as directed and not to misuse or abuse the medication.
  • Herbal tea: Herbal teas, such as peppermint, thyme, and eucalyptus, can help reduce inflammation in the airways and alleviate coughing.
  • Essential oils: Eucalyptus, peppermint, and lavender are essential oils that you can add to a diffuser or humidifier to help alleviate coughing symptoms.
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking fluids, such as water and herbal tea, can help thin mucus in the airways and alleviate coughing.

Conclusion

Cough syrup can be a lifesaver when dealing with coughing and other symptoms of respiratory illnesses. Whether you opt for a prescription-strength cough syrup or an over-the-counter remedy, there are plenty of options to help alleviate your discomfort and help you breathe easier. And if you’re looking for a convenient way to get the cough syrup you need, check out Truemeds online medicine app for fast, easy access to all your favourite cough syrups and more. So why suffer through that cough any longer? Get the relief you deserve today! You can save money by choosing an alternative or generic drug that the experts at Truemeds recommend. Save up to 72% on your purchase and get free home delivery across India.

Frequently Asked Question

What if I accidentally take too much cough syrup?

Overdosing on cough syrup can cause serious health problems, including difficulty breathing, seizures, and even death. Be sure to seek help before you start experiencing symptoms. If you accidentally take too much cough syrup, it’s essential to seek medical attention immediately.

How long should I take cough syrup?

When taking cough syrup, it’s essential to follow the instructions on the label and talk to your doctor if you have any concerns. You should only take cough syrup, usually no more than seven days.

What is the best time to take cough syrup?

You must take the cough syrup as the physician-directed. If you are self-treating, follow all directions on the product package. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

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Our healthcare experts have carefully reviewed and compiled the information presented here to ensure accuracy and trustworthiness. It is important to note that this information serves as a general overview of the topic and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, prevent, or cure any health problem. This page does not establish a doctor-patient relationship, nor does it replace the advice or consultation of a registered medical practitioner. We recommend seeking guidance from your registered medical practitioner for any questions or concerns regarding your medical condition.

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