Robitussin, an over-the-counter medicine made by Pfizer, Inc. to treat cough, runny nose, and/or chest congestion, comes in two versions: regular and DM. Reading the label can give you a basic idea of the differences between the two, but you should also understand the medical implications of the additional ingredients in Robitussin-DM.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Generic and Brand Name Differences

According to, the generic name for Robitussin is dextromethorphan 12. Robitussin-DM is a combination of dextromethorphan and guaifenesin, another drug 123.

Ingredient Differences

According to, dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant that affects the signals in the brain that trigger the cough reflex 12. Dextromethorphan does not treat coughs that are the result of smoking, asthma, or emphysema 2.

Dextromethorphan and guaifenesin combined treat cough and chest congestion that is caused by the common cold, infections, or allergies 123.

Guaifenesin is an expectorant, which means that it helps loosen congestion in your chest and throat, making it easier to cough out through your mouth 3.

For Consumers with Medical Problems

Asthma (and other respiratory illness) sufferers should be aware that, according to, dextromethorphan decreases coughing but makes it difficult to get rid of the mucus that collects in the lungs and airways 12. It also can result in slow breathing.

Diabetics should watch out for products that contain sugar, as some cough syrups do, since these formulations may affect glucose levels.

Consumers with liver disease should consult with a physician because dextromethorphan may build up in the body and cause additional health issues 12. advises consumers to seek the advice of their doctor or pharmacist if use of cough or cold medications is necessary. ?

Taking While Breast Feeding

According to, studies in women suggest that dextromethorphan poses minimal risk to infants when the mother uses it while breastfeeding 12.

Since it is currently unknown whether or not guaifenesin poses harm to unborn babies, or whether or not it passes through breast milk, consumers are advised to consult their physicians prior to consuming Robitussin-DM or similar products 3.

Possibility of Abuse

Although only a rare occurrence, dextromethorphan has become habit-forming in some users who consume more than the recommended dosage for prolonged periods 2.