What Is Dextromethorphan Hydrobromide?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 21 October 2019
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Dextromethorphan hydrobromide is a type of cough suppressant that is added to many over-the-counter and prescription cold and cough medications. This drug is metabolized by the liver, so it is safe for many people who have compromised kidney function. Although dextromethorphan hydrobromide is derived from morphine, it does not have the same opioid effects as morphine. Those taking certain medications or with some medical conditions may not be able to safely use this drug. Any questions or concerns about dextromethorphan hydrobromide should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

The primary use of dextromethorphan hydrobromide is as an antitussive, or cough suppressant. This is one of the most popular ingredients in over-the-counter cold and cough medications. This medication may be added to other preparations to help treat pain and a variety of psychological disturbances as well.

Those with underlying medical conditions such as asthma or emphysema may not be able to take this medication due to the possibility of respiratory depression. Dextromethorphan hydrobromide may not mix well with certain medications and could cause potentially life-threatening complications. It is important to discuss any pre-existing health issues and medications with a doctor before taking any medication that contains this ingredient.


Some of the most commonly reported side effects of dextromethorphan hydrobromide include nausea, dizziness, and drowsiness. The symptoms are normally mild and disappear once the medication has been discontinued, although any persistent or bothersome symptoms should be reported to a doctor for further evaluation. The effects of this medication on pregnant or lactating women are not completely understood, so this product should be used with caution by these patients and only under the supervision of a physician.

In some areas of the world, dextromethorphan hydrobromide abuse has become a popular recreational activity, perhaps due to the alcohol contained in many of the products that contain this drug. Overdosing on this medication can be fatal, and immediate medical attention is crucial if an overdose is suspected. Some of the possible signs of overdose include slurred speech, behavioral changes, and seizures. Coordination issues and difficulty breathing may develop as the result of misusing this medication.

When taking dextromethorphan hydrobromide, it is important to increase fluid intake, as this helps to thin the respiratory secretions. Diabetic patients should note that many products that include this drug contain sugar, so special care should be taken to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Deep breathing and coughing while taking this medication may help to strengthen the lungs and allow for a quicker return to health.


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