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How Safe are Cough Syrups for Diabetics?

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Business | November 29, 2023 2:19:35 PM IST

New Delhi [India], November 29: Coughing serves an important bodily function - it is your body's attempt to clear your airways of mucus or other irritants when changing weather, allergies, colds, flu or lung infections. A wet or dry cough takes a toll, causing discomfort and fatigue. The common reflex is to reach for cough syrup, but those with diabetes have good reason to pay close attention to ingredients.

The aim of this blog is to provide necessary information around effective cough treatment for diabetics.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes springs from the body's broken glucose process. The pancreas produces insulin to regulate sugars for cell energy. But when levels stay too high, its results in diabetes.

There are two types of Diabetes:

Type 1: Where insulin production drops

Type 2: Where the body resists or does not use available insulin correctly

Why Diabetics Should Take Care Before Buying Cough Syrups?

Many cough syrups pack hidden sugars that diabetics should avoid. Always read labels before purchasing cold and flu remedies to ensure they won't spike blood sugar.

There are two types of ingredients listed on the cough syrup labels: Inactive and Active.

Inactive Substances

While they don't cure illness themselves, inactive substances still influence cough syrup's form and function. As preservatives, stabilizers, or sweeteners, these supporting ingredients maintain freshness, texture, taste and visual appeal without directly easing symptoms. Still, patients must note impacts like rising blood sugar when nonactives include sugar or alcohol that may complicate existing conditions.

Active Substances

Contrastingly, a syrup's clinically curative capacity depends wholly upon its active ingredients. Directly confronting coughs, congestion and ache, these pharmacological combinations take center stage. Formulations vary, with some brands combining medicinal strengths while others feature just one active component.

People suffering from diabetes should check for these active substances that are found in cough syrups:

1. Dextromethorphan

The cough suppressant dextromethorphan safely and effectively suppresses coughs for those with diabetes when taken as directed.

2. Guaifenesin

The expectorant guaifenesin helps diabetic patients' clear mucus through productive coughs without issue.

3. Doxylamine

The antihistamine doxylamine blocks excessive histamine chemicals produced by allergic reactions, decreasing related cough and congestion symptoms for people with diabetes without impacting blood sugar levels.

Side Effects in Diabetic Patients Caused by Consuming Cough SyrupsDiabetics can experience the following symptoms after consuming cough syrup:


Stomach pain








Feeling restless


Nausea & vomiting

Diabetic patients should follow these directions before using a cough syrup


Consume the cough syrup only as directed by your doctor - with or without food. Do not increase the dose or duration of treatment.


Some doctors may adjust daily diabetes medications or insulin to balance side effects of the cough syrup.


Keep monitoring blood sugar levels when taking any cough syrup to watch for high or low levels.


You must consult a doctor or pharmacist before buying any cough syrup. Informing them of diabetes and providing recent reports will help select an appropriate syrup.

In conclusion, opt for cough syrups containing active ingredients like dextromethorphan, guaifenesin, or doxylamine. These are typically safer options. Steer clear of syrups with inactive ingredients like alcohol or sugar as they can spike blood sugar levels. Always consult your doctor before taking any new medication when you have diabetes, including over-the-counter cough syrups.

(ADVERTORIAL DISCLAIMER: The above press release has been provided by ATK. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of the same)

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