Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Feb 24, 2023.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
- Tessalon Perles
Available Dosage Forms:
- Capsule, Liquid Filled
Therapeutic Class: Antitussive
Uses for benzonatate
Benzonatate is used to relieve coughs due to colds or influenza (flu). It is not to be used for chronic cough that occurs with smoking, asthma, or emphysema or when there is an unusually large amount of mucus or phlegm with the cough.
Benzonatate relieves cough by acting directly on the lungs and the breathing passages. It may also act on the cough center in the brain.
Benzonatate is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using benzonatate
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For benzonatate, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to benzonatate or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of benzonatate in children younger than 10 years of age. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of benzonatate in the geriatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of benzonatate. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Mucus or phlegm with cough—Since benzonatate decreases coughing, it makes it difficult to get rid of the mucus that may collect in the lungs and airways with some diseases.
Proper use of benzonatate
Take benzonatate exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. To do so may increase the chance of side effects.
Swallow the capsules whole. Do not break, crush, or chew them. If the capsules come in contact with the mouth, it may cause the mouth and throat to become numb (loss of feeling) and choking may occur.
If numbness or tingling of the mouth, tongue, throat, or face occurs, do not eat or drink until these symptoms disappear. Check with your doctor right away if these symptoms persist or become worse.
The dose of benzonatate will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of benzonatate. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For oral dosage form (capsules):
- For cough:
- Adults and children 10 years of age and older—100 milligrams (mg) three times a day. Do not take more than 200 mg at one time or more than 600 mg per day.
- Children younger than 10 years of age—Use is not recommended.
- For cough:
If you miss a dose of benzonatate, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
Keep the capsules in a child-resistant container and store it out of reach of children at all times.
Throw any unused medicine by mixing it with used coffee grounds or kitty litter and place it in a sealable bag, empty can, or container.
Precautions while using benzonatate
It is very important that your doctor check your progress while you or your child are using benzonatate. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to take it.
If your cough has not become better after 7 days or if you have a high fever, skin rash, or continuing headache with the cough, check with your doctor. These signs may mean that you have other medical problems.
Benzonatate overdose can occur in children (younger than 10 years of age) within 15 to 20 minutes after accidentally taking benzonatate. In children under 2 years of age, ingestion of even 1 or 2 capsules has resulted in overdose. Signs and symptoms may include: convulsions (seizures), loss of consciousness, restlessness, or trembling or shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet. If your child took benzonatate by accident, call the poison control center (1-800-222-1222) and go to the hospital immediately.
Benzonatate side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- difficult breathing
- difficulty with speaking
- seeing things that are not there
- shortness of breath
- tightness in the chest
Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur:
Symptoms of overdose
- Change in consciousness
- convulsions (seizures)
- loss of consciousness
- no blood pressure or pulse
- shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
- stopping of the heart
- trembling or shaking of the hands or feet
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
Less common or rare
- Burning sensation in the eyes
- dizziness (mild)
- drowsiness (mild)
- nausea or vomiting
- skin rash
- stuffy nose
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Frequently asked questions
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