Cough Syrups: Medications for Dry Cough, Phlegm & Allergies

Cough syrups can be taken to relieve productive, dry or allergic coughs. Syrups for a productive cough promote the elimination of phlegm, while syrups for a dry cough help to reduce the frequency and intensity of coughing. Syrups for allergic coughs help to both relieve the cough and other allergy symptoms.

Cough syrups can also be taken to relieve discomfort, throat irritation, general malaise or shortness of breath.

Cough syrups should always be prescribed by a doctor, who will assess your cough and health status to determine the best syrup for your cough. The dose of cough syrups for children will additionally vary depending on their age and height.

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Cough syrups for a dry cough

Some remedies for dry cough are:

  • Dextromethorphan (Robitussin, Dayquil/Nyquil, Delsym): This cough syrup is typically found over-the-counter in the form of a 2mg/mL for adults and children over 12.
  • Codeine or Promethazine + Codeine: These medications can be purchased the pharmacy with a prescription from the doctor, and can be taken by adults and children over 6 years old, with doses varying according to age and weight

Lozenges can also have an antitussive action that can help relieve coughing and throat irritation.

Cough syrup for dry coughs should be prescribed by a doctor, regardless if they are available over-the-counter, to ensure that they will be therapeutic effective for the patient. 

Also recommended: How to Treat a Baby Cough: Home Remedies & Medication

Cough syrups for a cough with phlegm

Cough syrups for a productive cough that your doctor may prescribe include:

  • Guaifenesin (Dimetapp, Mucinex, Tussin): This medication contains expectorant action and can be found in formulations for adults and children.
  • Acetylcysteine ​​(Mucomyst): While this medication is not a cough syrup in the traditional sense, it is an oral solution that is mixed and taken orally. It can be found in the form of a 200mg packet of granules, which are mixed with water and swallowed.

Doses for these cough syrups can vary depending on age and weight, which is why they should be prescribed by a doctor, even if they are available over the counter. These are taken to promote phlegm elimination, or make phlegm more fluid to help facilitate its elimination. 

Cough syrups for productive coughs can help to reduce airway obstruction and shortness of breath related to respiratory illnesses such as flu, cold, asthma or bronchitis.

Cough syrups for allergic cough

Some of the most recommended cough syrups for allergic coughs are:

  • Brompheniramine + Pseudoephedrine + Dextromethorphan (Bromfed): The combination of these active ingredients can help to reduce allergy symptoms, relieve congestion, and suppress coughs, respectively.
  • Chlorpheniramine + Hydrocodone + Pseudoephedrine (Tussionex): Similar to the syrup above, these ingredients work together to relieve allergy symptoms, reduce soughing and decongest the patient, respectively.
  • Codeine + Promethezine (Phenergan with Codeine): This combination is made up of an opioid cough suppressant and an antihistamine.

These medications are only available with a medication prescribed by a doctor, and can be obtained at the pharmacy.

The duration of treatment with allergic cough medicine and the recommended dose will vary from person to person, and are generally used for a short period of time, until the symptoms disappear.

Furthermore, to improve treatment and prevent new allergy attacks, it is important to avoid contact with the substance that triggered the allergic cough.

Homeopathic cough syrups

Homeopathic syrups can be used to treat dry or productive coughs. They also work to relieve throat irritation, to thin out phlegm, and to promote coughing-up phlegm.  well as relieve throat irritation, reducing the viscosity of secretions and facilitating expectoration. An example of a homeopathic cough remedy is Stodal​, in syrup form.

Also recommended: Homemade Cough Syrup: 8 Recipes for Dry & Wet Coughs

Check out other home remedies for coughs as well as teas for coughs that you can prepare at home.

Natural cough remedies

A great natural home remedy for coughs is eating dates. They help to thin-out phlegm, soothe bronchial irritation and combat fatigue and malaise

Other natural remedies that can help relieve a cough include increasing your fluid intake, inhaling water vapor, sucking on lozenges or honey. You can also use essential oils for coughs, such as eucalyptus, rosemary and peppermint.