Does Robitussin DM Have Alcohol In It?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not Robitussin DM contains alcohol.

Question

I want to know if Robitussin DM has alcohol in it?

Asked by John On Aug 21, 2022

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By HelloPharmacist Staff

Published Aug 21, 2022
Last updated Jun 14, 2024

Key points

  • Robitussin DM does not contain ethanol, what most people mean when they want to know if a product contains alcohol or not.
  • Robitussin DM does contain menthol, a type of alcohol (chemically speaking), but has different effects, and is metabolized differently than ethanol.

Answer

Thanks for reaching out to us!

Robitussin DM is a combination product that contains the following active ingredients:

  • Dextromethorphan (cough suppressant)
  • Guaifenesin (expectorant)

Now, when people ask about a product and whether or not it has alcohol in it, they are generally referring to ethanol, the type of alcohol that is in beverages like wine and beer, etc.

Robitussin DM, manufactured by GSK, does not contain alcohol (ethanol) and is considered alcohol-free in that regard. However, it does contain menthol, which is a type of alcohol.

Below, are the inactive ingredients contained in Robitussin DM:

  • Anhydrous citric acid
  • Carboxymethylcellulose sodium
  • FD&C blue no. 1
  • FD&C red no. 40
  • Glycerin
  • Liquid glucose
  • Menthol
  • Natural and artificial flavors
  • Polyethylene glycol
  • Propylene glycol
  • Purified water
  • Sodium benzoate
  • Sodium citrate
  • Sucralose
  • Triacetin
  • Xanthan gum

Below is the full drug label for Robitussin DM:

Robitussin DM Label

Is Menthol An Issue?

There are many reasons why someone would want to avoid alcohol in a drug product. Menthol will not show up on a urine test that is looking for ethanol consumption, so it is safe in that regard. It also doesn't tend to cause any negative effects unless consumed in extremely large amounts. However, there have been reports of methol causing issues with breathalyzer tests, but it appears to be relatively uncommon.

If you need to abstain from alcohol (ethanol) consumption, Robitussin DM is safe to use.

Final Words

Thanks again for your question!

References

  • Robitussin DM Label, Robitussin.com
  • Menthol: a natural analgesic compound, PubMed
  • Urine Menthol as a Biomarker of Mentholated Cigarette Smoking, PubMed

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger, PharmD

Dr. Brian has been practicing pharmacy for over 13 years and has wide-ranging experiences in many different areas of the profession. From retail, clinical, program development, and administrative responsibilities, he's your knowledgeable and go-to source for all your pharmacy and medication-related questions! Dr. Brian Staiger also has herbalist training and educational certificates in the field of medical ethnobotany. Feel free to send him an email at [email protected]! You can also connect with Dr. Brian Staiger on LinkedIn.

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