Side Effects of Robitussin


Robitussin is an over-the-counter medication used to relieve discomfort caused by coughs associated with the common cold, bronchitis and chest congestion. Robitussin is normally used for short-term relief and not ongoing health issues such as trouble breathing or a cough caused by smoking. Robitussin is an expectorant, which is a class of drugs that thins mucus in the respiratory system and makes breathing more comfortable. It is not commonly used in children under the age of 12 unless directed by a physician.


  • Robitussin may cause drowsiness in some users. The amount of Robitussin taken will directly affect how drowsy you become. Exercise caution when using Robitussin if you will be driving a vehicle, operating heavy machinery, or will be in a situation where quick reaction time is necessary. Robitussin is available in several formulations labeled as ''non-drowsy'' that lack dextromethorphan, which is the ingredient that causes drowsiness.


  • Some users of Robitussin may experience nausea. The nausea generally subsides about an hour after taking the medication. The body will adjust to the presence of Robitussin quickly and build a tolerance to the Robitussin. If nausea is commonly experienced by a user of Robitussin, its use should be discontinued and another treatment option should be considered.


  • Constipation is a common side effect of Robitussin. The constipation can be relieved through use of stool softeners or laxatives. Once the use of Robitussin is discontinued, the constipation should subside.

    Increasing fluid intake and employing a high fiber diet will aid in helping to relieve the constipation which sometimes occurs from taking Robitussin. If the user of Robitussin is dehydrated from illness, there is a greater chance for constipation to occur.

Drug Interactions

  • The use of alcohol while taking Robitussin should be limited. If the Robitussin being used contains dextromethorphan, feelings of drowsiness will increase. If the Robitussin formulation being used contains the pain reliever acetaminophen no alcohol should be consumed. Using alcohol with acetaminophen may cause liver damage.

    If an monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) is being used while taking Robitussin the effect of the MAOI will be increased.

Delirium and Halucinations

  • In doses higher than recommended, Robitussin may cause delirium. If delirium is experienced while taking Robitussin, a doctor should be contacted immediately. Robitussin containing dextromethorphan can also cause hallucinations if taken in a very high dose. Due to the presence of acetaminophen in some preparations of Robitussin a higher dose than recommended may also damage the liver.


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