Precautions and Warnings With Dextromethorphan

Specific Dextromethorphan Warnings and Precautions

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of before taking this medicine include the following:
  • Talk to your healthcare provider before using dextromethorphan if you smoke; have asthma, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis; or have mucus or phlegm with your cough. This medication could make your condition worse.
  • Stop using dextromethorphan and talk to your healthcare provider if your cough does not go away after a week, returns after going away, or is accompanied by fever, rash, or a persistent headache. These may be signs of a more serious problem.
  • This medication should not be used in children younger than four years old, unless directed by a healthcare provider.
  • Some dextromethorphan products may contain tartrazine, which can cause allergic reactions in people with tartrazine sensitivities. Your healthcare provider or pharmacist can help you choose a product that does not contain tartrazine, if needed.
  • Some dextromethorphan products may contain sugar, which could affect blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist about a sugar-free product if this is a concern for you.
  • There have been reports of people abusing dextromethorphan by using it recreationally for nonmedical purposes. This type of abuse seems to be more common in teenagers, who may use dextromethorphan to get "high." Although dextromethorphan is considered safe when used as directed, abusing it can be dangerous and may even cause seizures, loss of consciousness, or death. Talk to your healthcare provider if you or someone you know may be abusing this medication.
  • Dextromethorphan may cause a potentially dangerous group of symptoms called serotonin syndrome, especially when someone overdoses on this drug or takes it with other medications that affect serotonin levels (see Drug Interactions With Dextromethorphan). Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you notice any possible symptoms of serotonin syndrome, including:
    • Confusion
    • Seeing or hearing things that are not really there (hallucinations)
    • A fast heartbeat (tachycardia)
    • High blood pressure (hypertension)
    • Fever
    • Sweating
    • Shivering
    • Tremors
    • Muscle spasms
    • Overactive reflexes.
  • Dextromethorphan is a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are unknown (see Dextromethorphan and Pregnancy).
  • It is unknown whether this medication passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to beginning treatment (see Dextromethorphan and Breastfeeding).
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Dextromethorphan Medication Information

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