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Dextromethorphan/ promethazine syrup

Generic Name: dextromethorphan/promethazine (DEX-troe-meth-OR-fan/proe-METH-a-zeen)
Brand Name: Generic only. No brands available.

Dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup should not be used in children younger than 2 years of age. Potentially fatal side effects (eg, difficult or slowed breathing, drowsiness leading to coma) may occur in this age group while taking dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup.

Caution should be used when using dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup in children 2 years of age and older. The lowest possible dose of dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup should be used in this age group, and it should not be used with other medicines that cause slowed breathing.


Dextromethorphan/ promethazine syrup is used for:

Temporarily relieving cough and upper respiratory symptoms due to the common cold or allergies.

Dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup is a cough suppressant/phenothiazine antihistamine combination. The antihistamine works by blocking histamine, which decreases the symptoms of allergies and helps decrease nausea and vomiting. The cough suppressant works in the cough center of the brain to reduce a dry or nonproductive cough.

Do NOT use dextromethorphan/ promethazine syrup if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup
  • you have had an unusual reaction to a phenothiazine (eg, promethazine)
  • you have severe central nervous system depression
  • you have certain breathing problems (eg, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], sleep apnea)
  • you are taking or have taken furazolidone or a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) (eg, phenelzine) within the last 14 days

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Slideshow: OTC Medication Use In Pregnancy: Wise or Worrisome?

Before using dextromethorphan/ promethazine syrup:

Some medical conditions may interact with dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a history of nervous system problems, bone marrow depression, heart or blood vessel problems, a blood disease (eg, porphyria), increased eye pressure, glaucoma, or a risk of glaucoma, low blood pressure, liver problems, stomach problems (eg, ulcer), a blockage of your bladder or bowel, an enlarged prostate, Parkinson disease, seizures, diabetes, or Reye syndrome
  • if you regularly consume large amounts of alcohol
  • if you have chronic cough, chronic bronchitis, asthma, or emphysema, or if your cough occurs with a large amount of mucus
  • if you have been very ill or weak, are sedated, have a condition that causes drowsiness, or are confined to a bed

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Furazolidone or MAOIs (eg, phenelzine) because severe toxic side effects may occur
  • Haloperidol because irregular heartbeat may occur
  • Anticholinergics (eg, methscopolamine), barbiturates (eg, phenobarbital), meperidine, narcotics (eg, codeine), or tricyclic antidepressants because the risk of severe drowsiness, difficult breathing, and low blood pressure may be increased
  • Local anesthetics (eg, lidocaine) because the risk of seizures may be increased
  • Levodopa or pergolide because their effectiveness may be decreased by dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use dextromethorphan/ promethazine syrup:

Use dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup by mouth with or without food. If stomach upset occurs, take with food to reduce stomach irritation.
  • Use a measuring device marked for medicine dosing. Ask your pharmacist for help if you are unsure of how to measure your dose.
  • If you miss a dose of dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup and you are taking it regularly, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup.

Important safety information:

  • Dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup may cause drowsiness, dizziness, or blurred vision. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Do not drink alcohol or use medicines that may cause drowsiness (eg, sleep aids, muscle relaxers) while you are using dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup; it may add to their effects. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines may cause drowsiness.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) is a possibly fatal syndrome that can be caused by dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup. Symptoms may include fever; stiff muscles; confusion; abnormal thinking; fast or irregular heartbeat; and sweating. Contact your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms.
  • Dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup may cause you to become sunburned more easily. Avoid the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup. Use a sunscreen or wear protective clothing if you must be outside for more than a short time.
  • Diabetes patients - Dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup may cause the results of some tests for urine ketones to be wrong. Ask your doctor before you change your diet or the dose of your diabetes medicine.
  • If your cough lasts for more than 1 week or comes back, or if you also have a fever, rash, or persistent headache, contact your doctor. A persistent cough could be a sign of a serious condition.
  • Dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup has dextromethorphan in it. Before you start any new medicine, check the label to see if it has dextromethorphan in it too. If it does or if you are not sure, check with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup may interfere with certain lab tests, including some pregnancy tests. Be sure your doctor and lab personnel know you are taking dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup.
  • Use dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially confusion and drowsiness.
  • Dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup should not be used in CHILDREN younger than 2 years old. Serious, and sometimes fatal, side effects (difficult or slowed breathing, drowsiness leading to coma) have occurred when dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup has been used in children in this age group.
  • Dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN 2 years of age or older. The lowest effective dose should be used in children 2 years of age and older.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: It is not known if dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup can cause harm to the fetus. If become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup while you are pregnant. It is not known if dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of dextromethorphan/ promethazine syrup:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth; nausea; stomach upset.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); blurred vision; confusion; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; fever, chills, or sore throat; hallucinations; seizures; sensitivity to light; tremor; uncontrolled muscle movements; unusual bruising or bleeding; yellowing of skin or eyes.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include dry mouth; flushing; hallucinations; loss of consciousness; nightmares; seizures; shortness of breath; trouble breathing; unusual drowsiness or restlessness.

Proper storage of dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup:

Store dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep tightly closed. Keep dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using dextromethorphan/promethazine syrup.

Issue Date: July 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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