How Does Cough Suppressant Work?

As far as coughs go, a dry, nonproductive cough 12 Hour seems a bit less dramatic than its productive "mucus-ey" counterpart. But that doesn’t mean a dry cough isn’t disruptive, or that it can’t seriously ruin your day. Thankfully, you can likely get relief using an over-the-counter cough medication, like Delsym® 12 Hour cough relief. Here’s how it works and why it’s so effective against a pesky dry cough.

What Causes a Cough, Anyway?

Sure, you know what a persistent dry cough feels like – that’s why you’re here, right? But do you know what’s really going on? The urge to cough starts at the specialized nerve endings that line your throat and airways. When those nerves get activated by some sort of stimulus – like the irritation caused by an allergic reaction, cold or flu – they send a chemical signal up to the “cough center” in your brain.

When that cough center gets enough signals, it sends word down to your muscles to initiate that unfortunately familiar coughing action. If your airways contain enough excess mucus, you’ll have a productive, mucus-filled cough. If they don’t have excess mucus, then you’ll have a dry cough.

How Delsym® 12 Hour Cough Relief Works

The cough-relieving action of Delsym® 12 Hour cough relief comes from the active ingredient dextromethorphan polistirex, a cough suppressant. While there’s still more to learn about all the ways dextromethorphan polistirex helps control coughing, here’s what we do know: it changes the way that “cough threshold” works in your brain, making it harder for those nerves in your airways to trigger a cough. While dextromethorphan polistirex won’t wipe out your cough reflex entirely it filters out the “noise” that causes a pesky, persistent dry cough.

A Time-Released Formula for Longer Relief

When you check out the label on Delsym® 12 Hour cough relief, you’ll see the active ingredient listed as “dextromethorphan polistirex.” You just learned what the “dextromethorphan” part does for you, but what about the “polistirex”?

Including cough suppression in the form of “dextromethorphan polistirex” means that, instead of a short-acting dose of dextromethorphan, you’ll get a time-released version. This translates into longer-term cough suppression. This patented time-relief formula means that Delsym® 12 Hour cough relief can help suppress your cough for up to 12 hours.

How to Take Delsym® 12 Hour Cough Relief

Since Delsym® 12 Hour cough relief offers up to 12 hours of relief, you should not exceed two doses daily. For adults, take 10 mL every 12 hours, for a maximum of 20 mL per day. Children need even less for effective cough relief — kids ages 6 to under 12 should take a dose of 5 mL every 12 hours (not to exceed 10 mL per 24 hours), while children age 4 to under 6 should take 2.5 mL every 12 hours (not to exceed five mL per 24 hours). Children under the age of 4 should not use Delsym seeing as they should not “Children’s” version either.

Contact your doctor if over-the-counter medication isn’t managing your symptoms, your cough lingers longer than seven days, you experience shortness of breath, wheezing or have a lung condition such as asthma that requires medication to control.



As far as coughs go, a dry, nonproductive cough seems a bit less dramatic than its productive "mucus-ey" counterpart. We can help.





  • how does cough medicine work
  • stopping dry cough