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Carrington College Blog

Cough Medicine Ingredient May Help Diabetes Fight

April 27, 2015

An ingredient found in cough syrup may help fight diabetes.If you’re in the process of becoming a certified medical assistant, then you may be interested in this recent news concerning one of the most common medicinal products on the market: cough syrup.

According to Health Central, new research has indicated that an ingredient found in many kinds of cough syrup and suppressants can actually benefit prevention and treatment of diabetes.1

While considerable research is still needed to draw final conclusions regarding the implications of these findings, this information has the potential to change the way that we deal with diabetes in the medical community.


The drug in question, dextromethorphan, is found in many kinds of cough syrup and, according to Live Science, is often denoted by the presence of the phrase ‘DM’ on the product label. While this chemical is usually intended to curb coughing and reduce inflammation, new research indicated that it may also increase insulin production in certain individuals.

The research was led by Eckhard Lemmart, who is a professor at Heinreich Heine University in Germany. In speaking with Live Science, Lemmart indicated that further research is needed, but that people should be guardedly optimistic about these findings.2

“To date, we only have results from a single-dose clinical trial, which makes us optimistic; but this is not sufficient to evaluate the clinical benefit of this drug for the long term treatment of people with diabetes,” said Lammert. “My hope is that our study triggers further clinical trials at established diabetes centers.”

Type 2 Diabetes

Though an extremely common disease, diabetes remains in need of a great deal of research in order to be combated effectively. According to Live Science, the ailment is lived with by an estimated 350 million individuals across the globe. Type 2 diabetes is caused by extremely heightened levels of blood sugar and glucose.

While the body uses this sugar to provide energy to the cells, it requires insulin to make this process happen. Without the requisite levels of insulin, the glucose simply remains in the blood, which can be unhealthy and cause symptoms such as sluggishness and lack of energy. If dextromethorphan can actually be proven to increase insulin production, it may be included in future medications used by individuals suffering from type 2 diabetes.

1) Health Central, ‘Cough Medicine Ingredient May Help Diabetes,’ 3/17/2015,

2) Wanjek, Christopher, Live Science, ‘Cough Medicine Ingredient May Aid Diabetes Fight,’ 3/16/2015,