Does Delsym contain alcohol? 

Does Delsym contain alcohol? 

No, Delsym does not contain alcohol. This oral liquid cough suppressant contains Dextromethorphan which does not go well with alcohol because of the possible interaction between them. 

The interaction usually causes increased drowsiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, confusion, unconsciousness, etc. This is why Dextromethorphan formulations usually either contain a very small amount of alcohol or no alcohol at all (1). 

Other cough formulations, like Halls cough drops, also don’t contain alcohol. Make sure you don’t consume Delsym excessively or pair alcohol with it. 

Important concerns when using alcohol-containing pharmaceuticals

Having a small amount of alcohol present in preparations like cold and flu syrups may carry some risks, although the potential dangers are generally minimal. Here are a few reasons why even small amounts of alcohol in these preparations can be a concern:

Sensitivity in certain individuals

Some individuals may be more sensitive to the effects of alcohol, even in small quantities. This can be especially true for certain populations, such as children (2), pregnant women, older adults, and individuals with liver or kidney problems. 

For these individuals, the presence of alcohol, even in small amounts, may have a greater impact on their health and well-being.

Potential interactions

Alcohol can interact with other medications present in the preparation, altering their effects. This can lead to unexpected reactions or reduce the effectiveness of certain active ingredients. 

It’s important to read the label carefully and consult with a healthcare professional or pharmacist to understand any potential interactions.

Sedation and impairment

Alcohol, even in small amounts, can have sedative effects and impair cognitive and motor functions. When combined with other medications, such as cold and flu remedies, these effects can be intensified, leading to drowsiness and reduced alertness.

Risks for specific conditions

Individuals with certain medical conditions, such as liver disease or a history of substance abuse, may be advised to avoid any amount of alcohol. Even small quantities present in cold and flu preparations could pose risks for these individuals.

Final words

To sum up, Delsym does not contain alcohol. Pharmaceutical preparations that do contain alcohol usually have a small amount added for stability purposes.

While the risks associated with small amounts of alcohol in cold and flu preparations are generally minimal, it’s always important to consider individual circumstances and consult with healthcare professionals if you have concerns.

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National Library of Medicine. Dextromethorphan: MedlinePlus Drug Information [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. National Library of Medicine; 2022 [cited 2022 Nov 7]. Available from:


Zuccotti GV, Fabiano V. Safety issues with ethanol as an excipient in drugs intended for pediatric use. Expert Opin Drug Saf. 2011 Jul;10(4):499-502. doi: 10.1517/14740338.2011.565328. Epub 2011 Mar 21. PMID: 21417862.