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Dexchlorpheniramine/ phenylephrine

Generic Name: dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine (DEX-klor-fen-IR-a-meen/FEN-il-EF-rin)
Brand Name: Examples include NalDex and RhinaHist

Dexchlorpheniramine/ phenylephrine is used for:

Relieving symptoms of sinus congestion, sinus pressure, watery eyes, runny nose, and sneezing caused by colds, upper respiratory infections, and allergies. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine is an antihistamine and decongestant combination. The antihistamine works by blocking the action of histamine, which helps reduce symptoms such as watery eyes and sneezing. The decongestant works by promoting sinus and nasal drainage, which relieves congestion and pressure.

Do NOT use dexchlorpheniramine/ phenylephrine if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine
  • you have severe high blood pressure, severe heart blood vessel disease, rapid heartbeat, or severe heart problems
  • you are unable to urinate or are having an asthma attack
  • you are taking droxidopa or sodium oxybate (GHB), or you have taken furazolidone or a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) (eg, phenelzine) within the last 14 days

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Slideshow: 2014 Update: First Time Brand-to-Generic Switches

Before using dexchlorpheniramine/ phenylephrine:

Some medical conditions may interact with dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a history of adrenal gland problems (eg, an adrenal gland tumor); heart problems (eg, cor pulmonale; fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat); high blood pressure; diabetes; liver or kidney problems; myasthenia gravis; nervous system problems; mental or mood problems; dry mouth; blood vessel problems; a stroke; glaucoma or increased pressure in the eye; seizures; or thyroid problems
  • if you have a history of asthma or other breathing problems, chronic cough, lung problems (eg, chronic bronchitis, emphysema), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or sleep apnea
  • if you have a blockage of your bladder, stomach, or bowels; stomach or bowel problems (eg, ulcers, reflux); trouble sleeping; trouble urinating; an enlarged prostate or other prostate problems; or Down syndrome

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Digoxin or droxidopa because the risk of irregular heartbeat or a heart attack may be increased
  • Barbiturates (eg, phenobarbital), beta-blockers (eg, propranolol), catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitors (eg, tolcapone), furazolidone, indomethacin, linezolid, MAOIs (eg, phenelzine), sodium oxybate (GHB), or tricyclic antidepressants (eg, amitriptyline) because they may increase the risk of dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine's side effects
  • Bromocriptine or hydantoins (eg, phenytoin) because the risk of their side effects may be increased by dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine
  • Guanadrel, guanethidine, mecamylamine, methyldopa, or reserpine because their effectiveness may be decreased by dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use dexchlorpheniramine/ phenylephrine:

Use dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine by mouth with or without food. If stomach upset occurs, take with food to reduce stomach irritation.
  • If you miss a dose of dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine and you are taking it regularly, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine.

Important safety information:

  • Dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine may cause drowsiness, dizziness, or blurred vision. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Do not drink alcohol or use medicines that may cause drowsiness (eg, sleep aids, muscle relaxers) while you are using dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine; it may add to their effects. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines may cause drowsiness.
  • Do not take diet or appetite control medicines while you are taking dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine without checking with your doctor.
  • Dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine has an antihistamine and a decongestant in it. Before you start any new medicine, check the label to see if it has a decongestant or antihistamine in it too. If it does or if you are not sure, check with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Do NOT take more than the recommended dose or use for longer than prescribed without checking with your doctor.
  • If your symptoms do not get better within 5 to 7 days or if they get worse, check with your doctor.
  • Dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine may cause you to become sunburned more easily. Avoid the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine. Use a sunscreen or wear protective clothing if you must be outside for more than a short time.
  • Dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine may interfere with skin allergy tests. If you are scheduled for a skin test, talk to your doctor. You may need to stop taking dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine for a few days before the tests.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Use dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, excitability, low blood pressure, and trouble urinating.
  • Caution is advised when using dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine in CHILDREN; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially excitability.
  • Different brands of dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine may have different dosing instructions for CHILDREN. Follow the dosing instructions that your doctor has given you. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about giving dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine to your child.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of taking dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine while you are pregnant. It is not known if dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine.

Possible side effects of dexchlorpheniramine/ phenylephrine:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Constipation; diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth; excitability; headache; loss of appetite; nausea; nervousness or anxiety; trouble sleeping; upset stomach; vomiting; weakness.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); blurred vision or other vision changes; difficulty urinating or inability to urinate; fast or irregular heartbeat; fever, chills, or persistent sore throat; hallucinations; mood or mental changes; persistent trouble sleeping; restlessness; seizures; severe dizziness, light-headedness, or headache; severe drowsiness; tremor.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include blurred vision; confusion; hallucinations; ringing in the ears; seizures; severe dizziness, light-headedness, or headache; severe drowsiness; unusually fast, slow, or irregular breathing; unusually fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat.

Proper storage of dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine:

Store dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using dexchlorpheniramine/phenylephrine.

Issue Date: September 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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