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guaifenesin and dextromethorphan

Generic Name: dextromethorphan and guaifenesin (dex troe me THOR fan and gwye FEN e sin)
Brand Names: Benylin Expectorant, Cheracol-D, Duratuss DM, Fenesin DM, GG-DM SR, Glycotuss-DM, Guaibid DM, Guaifenex DM, Halotussin DM, Iophen DM NR, Mucobid DM, Naldecon DX Liquigel, Relacon LAX, Respa-DM, Robitussin-DM, Safetussin 30 DM, Scot-Tussin DM, T-Tussin DM, Touro DM, Tuss-DM, Vicks 44E, Vicks 44E Pediatric

What is the most important information I should know about dextromethorphan and guaifenesin?

Always ask a doctor before giving a cough or cold medicine to a child. Death can occur from the misuse of cough and cold medicines in very young children. Do not use a cough or cold medicine if you have used an MAO inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam), or tranylcypromine (Parnate) within the past 14 days. Serious, life-threatening side effects can occur if you take cough or cold medicine before the MAO inhibitor has cleared from your body. Do not use any other over-the-counter cough or cold medication without first asking your doctor or pharmacist. If you take certain products together you may accidentally take too much of one or more types of medicine. Read the label of any other medicine you are using to see if it contains dextromethorphan or guaifenesin. Dextromethorphan will not treat a cough that is caused by smoking, asthma, or emphysema.

What is dextromethorphan and guaifenesin?

Dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant. It affects the signals in the brain that trigger cough reflex.

Guaifenesin is an expectorant. It helps loosen congestion in your chest and throat, making it easier to cough out through your mouth.

The combination of dextromethorphan and guaifenesin is used to treat cough and chest congestion caused by the common cold, infections, or allergies.

Dextromethorphan will not treat a cough that is caused by smoking, asthma, or emphysema.

Dextromethorphan and guaifenesin may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking dextromethorphan and guaifenesin?

Do not use a cough or cold medicine if you have used an MAO inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam), or tranylcypromine (Parnate) within the past 14 days. Serious, life-threatening side effects can occur if you take cough or cold medicine before the MAO inhibitor has cleared from your body.

Before taking dextromethorphan and guaifenesin, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have emphysema or chronic bronchitis. If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to use this medication, or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.

FDA pregnancy category C. This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. It is not known whether this medication passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Artificially-sweetened liquid forms of cold medicine may contain phenylalanine. This would be important to know if you have phenylketonuria (PKU). Check the ingredients and warnings on the medication label if you are concerned about phenylalanine.

How should I take dextromethorphan and guaifenesin?

Take this medication exactly as it has been prescribed by your doctor. Do not use the medication in larger amounts, or use it for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label. Cold medicine is usually taken only for a short time until your symptoms clear up.

Always ask a doctor before giving cough or cold medicine to a child. Death can occur from the misuse of cough or cold medicine in very young children.

Measure the liquid form of this medicine with a special dose-measuring spoon or cup, not a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

Drink extra fluids to help loosen the congestion and lubricate your throat while you are taking this medication. Do not crush, chew, break, or open a controlled-release, delayed-release, or extended-release tablet or capsule. Swallow the pill whole. It is specially made to release medicine slowly in the body. Breaking or opening the pill would cause too much of the drug to be released at one time. Talk with your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 7 days of treatment, or if you have a fever with a headache, cough, or skin rash.

If you need to have any type of surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time if you have taken a cold medicine within the past few days.

Store this medicine at room temperature, away from heat, light, and moisture.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since cough or cold medicine is usually taken only as needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. If you are taking the medication regularly, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose take the medicine at your next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

Symptoms of an overdose may include feeling restless or nervous.

What should I avoid while taking dextromethorphan and guaifenesin?

This medication can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert. Avoid drinking alcohol. It can increase some of the side effects of this medication.

Avoid taking diet pills, caffeine pills, or other stimulants (such as ADHD medications) without your doctor's advice. Taking a stimulant together with cough or cold medicine can increase your risk of unpleasant side effects.

Do not use any other over-the-counter cough or cold medication without first asking your doctor or pharmacist. Dextromethorphan and guaifenesin are contained in many medicines available over the counter. If you take certain products together you may accidentally take too much of one or more types of medicine. Read the label of any other medicine you are using to see if it contains dextromethorphan or guaifenesin.

What are the possible side effects of dextromethorphan and guaifenesin?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Stop using this medication and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
  • severe dizziness, anxiety, restless feeling, or nervousness;

  • confusion, hallucinations; or

  • slow, shallow breathing.

Keep taking dextromethorphan and guaifenesin and talk to your doctor if you have any of these less serious side effects:

  • dizziness or headache,

  • skin rash or itching; or

  • nausea, vomiting, or stomach upset.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect dextromethorphan and guaifenesin?

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:

  • celecoxib (Celebrex);

  • cinacalcet (Sensipar);

  • darifenacin (Enablex);

  • imatinib (Gleevec);

  • quinidine (Quinaglute, Quinidex);

  • ranolazine (Ranexa)

  • ritonavir (Norvir);

  • sibutramine (Meridia);

  • terbinafine (Lamisil);

  • medicines to treat high blood pressure; or

  • antidepressant medications such as amitriptyline (Elavil, Etrafon), bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), fluvoxamine (Luvox), imipramine (Janimine, Tofranil), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), others.

If you are using any of these drugs, you may not be able to use dextromethorphan and guaifenesin, or you may need dosage adjustments or special tests during treatment.

There may be other drugs not listed that can affect dextromethorphan and guaifenesin. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has information about dextromethorphan and guaifenesin written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Dextromethorphan and guaifenesin is available with a prescription under many different brand and generic names. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 5.04. Revision Date: 04/03/2007 15:07:58.
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