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Mucinex vs Delsym


Mucinex Overview

Delsym Overview


Mucinex Usage

Delsym Usage

Mucinex Side Effects

Delsym Side Effects






For patients dealing with the discomfort of a persistent cough or excessive mucus, certain over-the-counter drugs that target different aspects of these symptoms can help in managing and alleviating this discomfort. Mucinex and Delsym are two such drugs that are commonly used for coughs and related symptoms. They each work differently but both have effects aimed at reducing coughing.

Mucinex is an expectorant, working by thinning and loosening mucus in the airways, clearing congestion, and making breathing easier. It contains Guaifenesin as its active ingredient which helps increase the flow of natural secretions along the lower respiratory tract.

Delsym on the other hand acts as a cough suppressant. It contains dextromethorphan which affects signals in the brain that trigger the cough reflex thereby providing relief from prolonged bouts of dry irritating coughs.

Mucinex vs Delsym Side By Side

Brand NameMucinexDelsym
ContraindicationsShould not be taken with, or within 2 weeks of taking, monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitorsShould not be taken with, or within 2 weeks of taking, monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors
CostApproximately $20 for a 20 count box of Mucinex DM (600 mg guaifenesin, 30 mg dextromethorphan), or about $0.80 - $2.00/tablet for generic versionsBetween $12 and $15 for a 5 oz bottle (approximately ten doses), or about $0.75 - $1.25/dose for generic versions
Generic NameGuaifenesinDextromethorphan
Most Serious Side EffectSevere allergic reaction, skin reactions, vision problems, cardiovascular issues, central nervous system concerns, digestive symptomsSevere allergic reaction, seizures, fast or irregular heartbeats, signs of hallucinations, unusual changes in mood or behavior, blurred vision with eye pain
Severe Drug InteractionsMAO inhibitors, risk of serotonin syndrome with certain drugsMAO inhibitors, risk of serotonin syndrome with certain drugs
Typical Dose600-1200 mg every 12 hours for adults; 600 mg every 12 hours for children aged 6–11 years10 mL (equal to 30 mg) every 12 hours for adults and children over the age of 12; 5 mL every 12 hours for children aged 6-11 years

What is Mucinex?

Guaifenesin (the generic name for Mucinex) was the first drug of its kind to help thin and loosen mucus in the airways, clearing congestion, and making breathing easier. This medicine belongs to a class known as expectorants. Guaifenesin was initially approved by the FDA in 1952. Mucinex works by increasing the water content of your mucus so that it is less sticky and thick, allowing you to cough up the mucus more easily.

On the other hand, Dextromethorphan (Delsym's active ingredient), is a type of medication called a cough suppressant because it controls and reduces your urge to cough. It does this by affecting signals in an area of your brain responsible for triggering coughing fits. Its effects last longer than those of guaifenesin.

Mucinex has a direct influence on mucus consistency with only minor side effects such as nausea or vomiting when consumed without enough liquid intake while Delsym affects how our central nervous system responds to dry irritating persistent coughs with rare but possible side effects like dizziness or allergic reactions.

What conditions is Mucinex approved to treat?

Mucinex is approved for the treatment of a variety of symptoms related to common cold and respiratory illnesses, including:

  • Chest congestion
  • Thinning and loosening mucus in the airways, making it easier to cough up
  • Cough caused by bronchitis and other breathing illnesses

On the other hand, Delsym is primarily used for:

  • Temporary relief of cough caused by minor throat and bronchial irritation as may occur with common cold or inhaled irritants.

How does Mucinex help with these illnesses?

Mucinex works to alleviate congestion by thinning and loosening mucus in the airways. It does this through its active ingredient, guaifenesin, which is an expectorant. Guaifenesin increases the hydration of secretions in the bronchi and trachea within your respiratory system. This helps to reduce the stickiness and adhesiveness of mucus, making it easier for you to cough up and clear your airways.

On the other hand, Delsym contains dextromethorphan, a cough suppressant that acts on a part of the brain (the cough center) to reduce the urge to cough. Unlike Mucinex that thins out mucus enabling easier expulsion from lungs, Delsym primarily works by decreasing brain signals triggering a cough reflex.

Both medications serve different purposes; while Mucinex can be effective for productive or 'wet' coughs with excess mucus production, Delsym may be more beneficial for dry unproductive coughs where suppressing frequent or intense bouts could provide relief.

What is Delsym?

Delsym is a brand name for dextromethorphan, which is an antitussive drug that works by acting on the signals in the brain that trigger cough reflex. It's a long-acting oral formulation that provides cough suppression for up to 12 hours. Dextromethorphan was first approved by the FDA in 1958 and it can be found over-the-counter in many forms such as syrup or lozenges.

As Delsym doesn't have expectorant properties, it does not help with loosening mucus or clearing out bronchial tubes like Mucinex (guaifenesin). Its primary function is to suppress dry, nonproductive coughs. Side effects of Delsym are generally mild but can include dizziness, stomach discomfort or nausea. Importantly, its extended action formula means fewer doses per day compared to other similar medicines like Mucinex making it more convenient for symptom management especially during night time.

What conditions is Delsym approved to treat?

Delsym is an FDA-approved medication used primarily in the treatment of symptoms associated with:

  • Temporary relief from coughing caused by common cold, bronchitis and other breathing illnesses
  • Suppressing long-term coughs that don't go away or chronic, non-productive (dry) coughs.

How does Delsym help with these illnesses?

Dextromethorphan, the active ingredient in Delsym, functions as a cough suppressant by acting on signals in the brain that trigger the urge to cough. It is a central acting antitussive drug that provides relief from nonproductive and dry irritating coughs. Its effectiveness can be seen in its ability to provide up to 12 hours of cough relief with a single dose, which is significantly longer than other over-the-counter treatments such as Mucinex. Delsym's action on certain neurotransmitters may also play roles in its efficacy as an effective OTC product for managing symptoms of upper respiratory infections or allergies. Since it does not contain an expectorant component like guaifenesin found in Mucinex, it is sometimes chosen when a patient suffers primarily from uncontrolled bouts of dry hacking cough rather than productive (mucus producing) ones or may be combined with other products containing expectorants for comprehensive symptom control.

How effective are both Mucinex and Delsym?

Both Mucinex (Guaifenesin) and Delsym (Dextromethorphan) are popular over-the-counter medicines used in treating cold and cough symptoms, each with a long history of usage. They were initially approved by the FDA several decades apart, with Guaifenesin first gaining approval in 1952 and Dextromethorphan in 1982. Given their distinct mechanisms of action, they can be prescribed under different circumstances.

Mucinex is an expectorant that works by thinning out mucus in the airways making it easier for patients to cough up phlegm. A study conducted on guaifenesin efficacy found that this drug may help increase patient comfort during acute respiratory tract infections due to its ability to reduce chest congestion.

On the other hand, Delsym is a cough suppressant or antitussive that acts centrally on the brain’s cough center to suppress dry hacking coughs which don't produce any phlegm. It's particularly effective when you need relief from non-productive coughs associated with common cold or allergies.

In terms of safety profile both drugs have been proven safe for use at recommended dosages though side effects may occur like dizziness or gastrointestinal disturbances but these are typically mild.

A comprehensive review published in 2011 went over decades' worth of data about Guaifenesin's effectiveness showing it as an established remedy for easing chest congestion related symptomatic discomfort due to its excellent safety profile even among elderly population groups who often face greater risks from medication use.

While research has also indicated that dextromethorphan seems more effective than placebo at suppressing unproductive chronic nocturnal coughing, there isn’t much difference between using this active ingredient versus others like codeine or diphenhydramine based products because all seem equally efficacious according clinical trials review released back in 2016. Nonetheless, since every person responds differently some might find better relief using one product over another depending individual responses including potential side effect sensitivities such as those prone towards developing nauseous reactions versus having problems dealing with excessive sedation side effects which some people experience whilst taking certain types of OTC medications meant specifically aimed towards alleviating various forms upper respiratory ailment symptomologies including persistent bothersome hack-like type unproductive couging especially problematic during night time hours when trying get good night sleep uninterrupted bouts incessant couging spells induced whether triggered post nasal drip syndrome caused either seasonal allergy flare ups common cold virus infection onset symptoms manifestation periods leading cause increased difficulty breathing normally without constantly being interrupted sudden unexpected uncontrollable urge want start couging incessantly thus resulting poor quality life issues needing immediate attention before situation gets worse leading potentially serious health complications arising if not treated promptly appropriately so therefore always best consult healthcare provider whenever facing similar scenarios where unsure what course action take next deciding upon choosing right kind OTC medication suitable addressing particular set given circumstances presented currently facing moment requiring quick resolution without further delay possible avoid unnecessary suffering prolongued discomfort lasting longer necessary had sought earlier intervention sooner rather later waiting things get bad point no return leaving little choice left but seek emergency medical assistance instead could avoided altogether had taken steps beforehand prevent reaching critical stage development thereby saving oneself lot trouble worry needless stress anxiety building up overtime causing undue hardship strain emotional wellbeing 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At what dose is Mucinex typically prescribed?

Oral dosages of Mucinex range from 600-1200 mg every 12 hours, and studies suggest that the lower end of this range is typically sufficient for treating chest congestion in most adults. For children aged 6–11 years, a dosage of 600 mg every 12 hours is usually recommended. In both populations, if symptoms persist after a few days or worsen while taking Mucinex, medical attention should be sought. On the other hand, Delsym has a standard dosage of 10 ml (containing 30 mg dextromethorphan) every 12 hours for adults and adolescents over the age of twelve; children between ages six and eleven may take half this amount but not exceed it within any given day without consulting their healthcare provider.

At what dose is Delsym typically prescribed?

Delsym treatment is typically started at a dosage of 10 mL (equal to 30 mg) every 12 hours for adults and children over the age of 12. For younger patients aged between 6-11 years, it's recommended to administer a dose of 5 mL every 12 hours. The medication should ideally be spaced out evenly throughout the day, say at intervals of approximately twelve hours apart. It's important not to exceed a maximum daily dose of two doses within any given twenty-four-hour period. If there is no response or relief from cough symptoms after several days, consult your healthcare provider for further recommendations or adjustments in dosing regimen.

What are the most common side effects for Mucinex?

Common side effects of Mucinex and Delsym can vary, but may include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Rash or hives
  • Itching
  • Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles or lower legs
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing

Less common side effects might include:

  • Headache
  • Agitation or nervousness
  • Insomnia (difficulty sleeping)
  • Diarrhea

Remember to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new medication as individual responses can vary.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Mucinex?

While Mucinex and Delsym are generally well-tolerated, some people might experience side effects. It is important to be aware of any potential reactions:

  • Severe allergic reaction: hives, difficulty breathing, swelling in your face or throat
  • Skin reactions: severe rash, itching, blistering or peeling skin
  • Vision problems: blurred vision or other changes in vision
  • Cardiovascular issues: rapid heartbeat or chest tightness; lightheadedness or fainting
  • Central nervous system concerns - restlessness, hallucinations (seeing things that aren't there), tremors or shaking
  • Digestive symptoms: severe nausea/vomiting/diarrhea

Remember that these medications are usually safe and most people do not experience adverse effects. However, you should always consult with a healthcare professional if you have concerns about potential side effects.

What are the most common side effects for Delsym?

While Mucinex is known for its efficacy in thinning and loosening mucus in the airways, Delsym has its own unique set of characteristics. When using Delsym, one could experience:

  • Dry mouth or scratchy throat
  • Mild dizziness or light-headedness
  • Stomach discomfort, loss of appetite
  • Loose stools or constipation
  • Sleep disturbances such as unusual dreams or insomnia
  • A minor rash may appear but typically subsides quickly.

It's also important to note that overuse can lead to more serious side effects like confusion, hallucinations, severe dizziness and nervousness. If these occur, it's essential to seek medical help immediately. Remember not everyone experiences these side effects; this list serves as a guide for possible reactions when taking Delsym.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Delsym?

While Delsym is generally safe for use, some people may have adverse reactions to this medication. Be sure to seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following:

  • Signs of a severe allergic reaction such as hives; difficulty breathing; swelling in your face, lips, tongue or throat
  • Seizures (convulsions)
  • Fast or irregular heartbeats
  • Signs of hallucinations: hearing voices, seeing things that are not there
  • Unusual changes in mood or behavior like confusion and restlessness
  • Blurred vision with eye pain and seeing halos around lights

These symptoms could indicate serious health problems associated with Delsym usage. If these issues arise after taking Delsym cough medicine, it's recommended that you discontinue its use immediately and consult with a healthcare professional.

Contraindications for Mucinex and Delsym?

Both Mucinex and Delsym, similar to many over-the-counter cough medications, may cause side effects in some people. If you notice your symptoms worsening or the development of severe side effects like chest pain or rapid heartbeat, please seek immediate medical attention.

Neither Mucinex nor Delsym should be taken if you are currently using, or have recently used monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors. Always inform your healthcare professional about all medications you're taking; MAOIs will require a period of approximately 2 weeks to clear from the system to prevent potential dangerous interactions with Mucinex and Delsym. These drugs also contain dextromethorphan which can cause serotonin syndrome when combined with certain other drugs so it's always necessary to keep your doctor informed about any medication changes.

How much do Mucinex and Delsym cost?

For the brand-name versions of these drugs:

  • The price of a 20 count box of Mucinex DM (600 mg guaifenesin, 30 mg dextromethorphan) averages around $20, which works out to about $1 per pill or $2-$4/day depending on your dose.
  • The price of Delsym extended-release oral suspension cough suppressant (5 oz bottle, equivalent to approximately ten doses) is typically between $12 and $15, working out to roughly $1.20–$1.50/dose.

Therefore, if you are taking two doses per day as recommended for adult usage with Mucinex DM, then Delsym can be less expensive on a per-day treatment basis. However cost should not be the primary factor in determining which medication is right for you.

Regarding generic versions:

  • Guaifenesin/Dextromethorphan extended release tablets (equivalent to Mucinex DM), available in packs starting from 10 tablets and above have an approximate cost ranging from about $.80 - 2.00/tablet depending on quantity purchased.
  • Dextromethorphan Polistirex extended-release oral suspensions (generic equivalent for Delsym) are available at prices that start from around $.75 - 1.25 /dose based upon size purchased.

Popularity of Mucinex and Delsym

Guaifenesin, both in its generic form and under brand names such as Mucinex, was estimated to have been used by millions of people in the US for the relief of chest congestion due to colds, infections or allergies. It falls into a category known as expectorants that work by loosening and thinning mucus in the lungs, making it easier to cough up and clear airways. The use of Guaifenesin has been generally steady over the last decade.

Dextromethorphan HBr which is found under brands like Delsym, is an antitussive drug used for temporary relief from cough caused by minor throat and bronchial irritation like those happening with common cold or inhaling irritants. In 2020 alone, it was taken advantageously by thousands of individuals across America seeking much-needed comfort from persistent coughing symptoms. Delsym differs significantly from Mucinex as it acts on signals in the brain that trigger a cough reflex hence suppressing them but doesn't do anything about underlying congestion issues.


Both Mucinex (guaifenesin) and Delsym (dextromethorphan) are widely used in the treatment of cold, flu and allergy symptoms, with solid histories of usage. They have different mechanisms of action; Mucinex is an expectorant that helps to thin and loosen mucus in the airways, making it easier to cough up. On the other hand, Delsym is a cough suppressant which acts by reducing the urge to cough.

In some cases, these medications can be combined for comprehensive symptom relief but this should be done under medical supervision as they also carry potential interactions with each other and other medications. While both drugs are available over-the-counter without a prescription, their use must still be guided by careful reading of instructions or consultation with a healthcare provider.

Both Mucinex and Delsym are generally well tolerated although side effects can occur. The most common side effects include dizziness, headache or feeling nervous or restless for Delsym while side effects for Mucinex may include stomach upset or rash.

For both drugs patients should monitor their reactions closely especially when first starting them. If symptoms persist after several days or worsen then immediate medical attention should be sought.