Vitussin Expectorant Side Effects
Generic Name: guaifenesin / hydrocodone
Note: This page contains side effects data for the generic drug guaifenesin / hydrocodone. It is possible that some of the dosage forms included below may not apply to the brand name Vitussin Expectorant.
It is possible that some side effects of Vitussin Expectorant may not have been reported. These can be reported to the FDA here. Always consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.
For the Consumer
Applies to guaifenesin / hydrocodone: oral capsule, oral liquid, oral solution, oral syrup, oral tablet, oral tablet extended release
As well as its needed effects, guaifenesin / hydrocodone may cause unwanted side effects that require medical attention.
If any of the following side effects occur while taking guaifenesin / hydrocodone, check with your doctor immediately:Incidence not known
- Difficult or troubled breathing
- irregular, fast or slow, or shallow breathing
- pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin
- shortness of breath
Some guaifenesin / hydrocodone side effects may not need any medical attention. As your body gets used to the medicine these side effects may disappear. Your health care professional may be able to help you prevent or reduce these side effects, but do check with them if any of the following side effects continue, or if you are concerned about them:More common
- feeling of warmth
- redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest
- sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
- sudden sweating
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to guaifenesin / hydrocodone: oral capsule, oral liquid, oral syrup, oral tablet, oral tablet extended release
One study has suggested that the respiratory depression caused by hydrocodone may be of benefit in the treatment of dyspnea related to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and restrictive lung disease. However, the potential for the precipitation of respiratory insufficiency makes such use of hydrocodone hazardous and such use should be undertaken, if at all, only with extreme caution.[Ref]
Nervous system side effects of guaifenesin have included dizziness and headache. Central nervous system adverse effects of hydrocodone have included mental depression, dizziness, lightheadedness, respiratory depression (which is sometimes fatal), stupor, delirium, somnolence, agitation, and dysphoria.[Ref]
Other side effects of hydrocodone have included withdrawal symptoms, such as agitation, restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, tremor, abdominal cramps, blurred vision, vomiting and sweating, after either abrupt cessation or fast tapering of narcotic analgesics.[Ref]
Gastrointestinal side effects of guaifenesin have included upset stomach and vomiting with higher than recommended doses. Doses recommended for expectoration are rarely associated with gastrointestinal upset. Gastrointestinal side effects of hydrocodone have included nausea, vomiting, constipation, and dry mouth.[Ref]
Genitourinary side effects of hydrocodone have included ureteral spasm, spasm of vesicle sphincters, and urinary retention.[Ref]
Dermatologic side effects of guaifenesin have included rash. Narcotic-induced rash has also been reported.[Ref]
1. Morrow PL, Faris EC "Death associated with inadvertent hydrocodone overdose in a child with a respiratory tract infection." Am J Forensic Med Pathol 8 (1987): 60-3
2. Turturro MA, Paris PM, Yealy DM, Menegazzi JJ "Hydrocodone versus codeine in acute musculoskeletal pain." Ann Emerg Med 20 (1991): 1100-3
3. Sackner MA "Effects of hydrocodone bitartrate on breathing pattern of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and restrictive lung disease." Mt Sinai J Med 51 (1984): 222-6
4. "Product Information. Vicodin Tuss (guaifenesin-hydrocodone)" Knoll Pharmaceutical Company, Mount Olive, NJ.
5. Covington TR, Lawson LC, Young LL, eds. "Handbook of Nonprescription Drugs. 10th ed." Washington, DC: American Pharmaceutical Association (1993):
6. "Product Information. Robitussin (guaifenesin)." Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, Philadelphia, PA.
7. Fricke J, Halladay SC, Bynum L, Francisco CA "Pain relief after dental impaction surgery using ketorolac, hydrocodone plus acetaminophen, or placebo." Clin Ther 15 (1993): 500-9
8. Cohen J, Tattersfield H, Lloyd D, Cantopher T "A request for a strong analgesic." Practitioner 234 (1990): 691-4
9. Sorensen JL, Hargreaves WA, Weinberg JA "Heroin addict responses to six weeks of detoxification with LAAM." Drug Alcohol Depend 9 (1982): 79-87
10. Morrison AB "Toxicity and abuse of hydrocodone bitartrate." Can Med Assoc J 120 (1979): 1338
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