The effects of dextromethorphan (DM, CAS 6700-34-1), a common over-the-counter cough suppressant, on the reference memory have been investigated by a three-panel runway setup in rats. This study was designed by using a repeated acquisition procedure such as a radial-arm maze task or a water maze task. DM (20-40 mg/kg i.p.) produced a significant decrease in the number of errors (pushes made on the two incorrect panels of the three panel gates at four choice points) and latency. Systemically administered scopolamine (CAS 114-49-8) (1 mg/kg i.p.) impaired the performance on both parameters. DM (40 mg/kg i.p.) was effective in reversing the reference memory deficit induced by administration of scopolamine. DM acts as a noncompetitive antagonist of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. Our results suggest that inhibition of NMDA receptors by DM supports its potential positive properties. This finding might present an oppurtunity for the evaluation of this old antitussive drug.