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Dextromethorphan (DM) Dosage Table (Cough Suppressant)

Editor's Note: This dosage table only applies to the short acting form of this compound, dextromethorphan hydrobromide. It does not include information for the long-acting over-the-counter (OTC) form of the drug, dextromethorphan polisterex (eg, Del​sym), which has a much different dosing table and frequency of dosing (every 12 hours).

Child's Weight (pounds) 16-31 32-47  48-63  64-79  80-95  96-129  130+   lbs
 Liquid 5 mg/5 milliliters (mL) 2.5 5 7.5 10 12.5 15 -- mL
 Liquid 7.5 mg/5 milliliters (mL) -- -- 5 5 7.5 10 15 mL
 Liquid 10 mg/5 milliliters (mL) -- -- -- 5 5 7.5 10 mL

Indications:Cough suppressant. Dextromethorphan (DM) is present in most cough syrups.

Table Notes:

  • AGE LIMIT: Don’t use under 4 years of age.
  • Over 4 years of age: NOT recommended as primary treatment of cough. Use HONEY instead. Avoid multi-ingredient products in children under 6 years of age. (Reason: FDA recommendations 10/2008).
  • DOSAGE: Determine by finding child's weight in the top row of the dosage table.
  • MEASURING the DOSAGE: Syringes and droppers are more accurate than teaspoons. If possible, use the syringe or dropper that comes with the medication. If you use a teaspoon, it should be a measuring spoon. Regular spoons are not reliable. Also, remember that 1 level teaspoon equals 5 mL and that ½ teaspoon equals 2.5 mL.
  • FREQUENCY: Repeat every 6-8 hours as needed
  • ADULT DOSE: 20 mg

Last Updated
Adapted from My Child Is Sick! Expert Advice for Managing Common Illnesses and Injuries (Copyright © 2011 Barton D. Schmitt, MD, FAAP)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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