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mazingerz88's avatar

How does a cough syrup effectively work?

Asked by mazingerz88 (18450 points ) December 19th, 2012

Is it ok if after taking it, you chase it with water or soda to get rid of the taste? What I do is put some salt on my tongue sometimes. Does this take away the cough medicine’s potency? And after drinking it, it goes down straight to your insides. How does that help you?

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7 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Drinking water or soda will have no affect (nor will the salt) on the cough syrup’s effectiveness.

Here is how the two types work: “suppress or expectorate coughs. Cough suppressants prevent coughs by temporarily drying out the mucous membranes. Cough suppressants include Codeine, Hydrocodone, Noscapine, Acetylmorphone and Pholcodine. Expectorants do just the opposite of suppressants. If a patient is complaining of congestion, he or she may be given an expectorant to loosen the phlegm in order to expel it from the body.”

Source

Rarebear's avatar

The soda doesn’t work, and neither does the cough syrup. Unless, of course, the cough syrup has codeine in it.

JLeslie's avatar

I think maybe you are thinking cough syrup is like a cough drop. Cough syrup has medication in it, just like if you take a pill. Most cough syrups you can eat and drink with and it does not affect the efficacy.

@Rarebear You and my mom both say the same thing. When I was little she would make me take codeine with terpin hydrate, because she couldn’t stand the coughing. Robitussin DM and similar usually helps curb my cough pretty well when I am sick.

bookish1's avatar

I really don’t think a chaser or salt would affect the effect!

@marinelife‘s right about suppressants vs. expectorants. Things like guafenisin (sp?!) are expectorants and thin out bronchial mucus so you can cough it up. Things like dextromethorphan and indeed heroin, a venerable old cough suppressant, work on your nervous system to suppress the cough reflex itself.

Rarebear's avatar

@JLeslie The DM is supposed to be a cough suppressant but it doesn’t really work in studies.

JLeslie's avatar

@Rarebear Interesting. I had never looked up any studies.

woodcutter's avatar

If you use enough of it it might knock your ass out. Thats how it works.

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