Compare Delsym vs. Sudafed

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Delsym
(Dextromethorphan)

Sudafed
(Pseudoephedrine)

Relieves coughing. Delsym (Dextromethorphan) is a good option for treating dry cough. It's not safe to take with MAO inhibitors though.Clears your sinuses. Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) relieves stuffy nose, but it could keep you up at night. Don't forget your photo ID or you won't be able to buy it in the drugstore.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
4.487394957983193Delsym
Reviews for Delsym (Dextromethorphan)
64%
of people say Delsym (Dextromethorphan) is worth it
31%
say it works well
12%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine)
82%
+18% vs. Delsym (Dextromethorphan)
45%
+14% vs. Delsym (Dextromethorphan)
6%
+6% vs. Delsym (Dextromethorphan)
Side effects
DelsymSudafed

We haven’t found good data for Delsym side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Delsym »

We haven’t found good data for Sudafed side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Sudafed »
How it works
DelsymSudafed
Delsym (Dextromethorphan) is a cough suppressant.Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) is a decongestant. It narrows blood vessels and reduces swelling in your nasal passages to make breathing easier.
Type of medication
DelsymSudafed
Cough suppressantOver-the-counter
DecongestantPrescription or OTC
Available as
DelsymSudafed
  • Pill
  • Liquid extended release
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
DelsymSudafed
Risk factors for serious side effects
DelsymSudafed
  • Using other medications that affect serotonin
Detailed Delsym (Dextromethorphan) risks & warnings »
  • History of high blood pressure
  • History of heart problems
  • Age 65 years or older
  • History of seizures
  • Women of childbearing age
Detailed Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy category
DelsymSudafed
NFDA pregnancy category (Unknown)

The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

See the FDA package insert
NFDA pregnancy category (Unknown)

The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

See the FDA package insert
Alcohol
No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
Food
No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
Kidneys and liver
No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
Sex
No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
Sleep
No specific sleep-related info.
  • It can affect the quality of your sleep, so you can't take it too close to going to bed.
Weight
No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
Upsides and benefits
DelsymSudafed
  • Good for treating dry cough.
  • Available in drugstores either by itself or in combination with other medications to treat cold and allergy symptoms.
  • Available as a liquid and a tablet.
  • Some products relieve cough for up to 12 hours.
  • One of the best over-the-counter options to clear stuffy nose and help you breathe better.
  • Clears nasal congestion better than other decongestants like phenylephrine.
  • Can be helpful in relieving congestion-related headaches and pressure in your ears.
  • Available in regular and extended release forms.
Downsides and risks
DelsymSudafed
  • Can't take dextromethorphan if you're taking MAO inhibitors (drugs used to treat Parkinson's disease, depression, and other emotional conditions). If taken together, they will cause dangerously high blood pressure levels.
  • If you're taking this in combination with other cold and allergy medications, you should read labels closely to make sure you're not accidentally taking too much of a single ingredient.
  • Pseudoephedrine (a decongestant) can make your heart race or make you feel anxious and restless.
  • It can affect the quality of your sleep, so you can't take it too close to going to bed.
  • Can raise blood pressure so check with your doctor before using it if you have high blood pressure or other heart conditions.
  • Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) isn't as effective after using it for more than 4 days straight.
  • Need to show a photo ID to buy it in the drugstore and there is a limit on how much you can buy each visit.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
DelsymSudafed
  • Cough suppressant starts working in 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Follow age-specific dosing instructions on how much to take. Don't take more than the recommended dose.
  • If your cough lasts more than 7 days, call your doctor.
  • Starts working in 30 minutes.
  • You need to show an ID to buy Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) in the drugstore because it contains pseudoephedrine.
  • Follow age-specific dosing instructions on how much to take. Don't take more than recommended on the package.
  • Don't take Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) too close to bedtime since it can keep you awake.
  • Can cause an irregular or fast heartbeat, and can raise your blood pressure.
  • Talk to your doctor if your symptoms don't get better in 1 week.
Learn more
More about DelsymSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
More about SudafedSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert