Hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin (Oral)
Generic Name: guaifenesin/hydrocodone/pseudoephedrine (hye-droe-KOE-done bye-TAR-trate, soo-doe-e-FED-rin hye-droe-KLOR-ide, gwye-FEN-e-sin)
Warning: Addiction, Abuse, and Misuse; Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression, Accidental Ingestion, Medication Errors; Cytochrome P450 3A4 Interaction; Concomitant Use with Benzodiazepines or Other CNS Depressants; Interaction with Alcohol; Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal SyndromeHydrocodone bitartrate/pseudoephedrine hydrochloride/guaifenesin exposes users to risks of addiction, abuse, and misuse, which can lead to overdose and death. Assess patient’s risk before prescribing and monitor closely for these behaviors and conditions.Serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression may occur. Monitor closely, especially upon initiation or when used in patients at higher risk.Accidental ingestion of hydrocodone bitartrate/pseudoephedrine hydrochloride/guaifenesin, especially by children, can result in a fatal overdose of hydrocodone.Ensure accuracy when prescribing, dispensing, and administering hydrocodone bitartrate/pseudoephedrine hydrochloride/guaifenesin. Dosing errors can result in accidental overdose and death.Concomitant use with CYP3A4 inhibitors (or discontinuation of CYP3A4 inducers) can result in a fatal overdose of hydrocodone. Avoid the use of hydrocodone bitartrate/pseudoephedrine hydrochloride/guaifenesin in patients taking CYP3A4 inhibitors or inducers.Concomitant use of opioids with benzodiazepines or other central nervous system (CNS) depressants, including alcohol, may result in profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death. Avoid the use of hydrocodone bitartrate/pseudoephedrine hydrochloride/guaifenesin in patients taking benzodiazepines, other CNS depressants, or alcohol .Instruct patients not to consume alcohol or any products containing alcohol while taking hydrocodone bitartrate/pseudoephedrine hydrochloride/guaifenesin because co-ingestion can result in fatal plasma hydrocodone levels.Hydrocodone bitartrate/pseudoephedrine hydrochloride/guaifenesin is not recommended for use in pregnant women. Prolonged use of hydrocodone bitartrate/pseudoephedrine hydrochloride/guaifenesin during pregnancy can result in neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, which may be life-threatening if not recognized and treated. If hydrocodone bitartrate/pseudoephedrine hydrochloride/guaifenesin is used for a prolonged period in a pregnant woman, advise the patient of the risk of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome and ensure that appropriate treatment will be available .
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Dec 2, 2020.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Pharmacologic Class: Pseudoephedrine
Chemical Class: Hydrocodone
Uses for hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin
Hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin combination is used to relieve cough and nasal congestion (stuffy nose) caused by the common cold.
Hydrocodone is a narcotic cough suppressant. It acts directly on the cough center in the brain to relieve cough. Pseudoephedrine is a decongestant, which decreases nasal congestion by narrowing the blood vessels and reducing blood flow to the nasal passage. Guaifenesin is used to help clear mucus or phlegm from the chest when you have congestion from a cold or flu. It works by thinning the mucus or phlegm in the lungs.
When hydrocodone is used for a long time, it may become habit-forming. This could cause mental or physical dependence. Physical dependence may lead to unwanted withdrawal effects if treatment is stopped suddenly. Talk to your doctor if you have questions.
Hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin
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 hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin 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.
The use of hydrocodone in children younger than 6 years of age has caused serious breathing problems, sometimes causing death. Use of hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin combination is not indicated in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin combination in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related kidney problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin.
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. When you are taking hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
- Methylene Blue
Using hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Calcium Oxybate
- Chloral Hydrate
- Eslicarbazepine Acetate
- Gabapentin Enacarbil
- Iobenguane I 123
- Iobenguane I 131
- Magnesium Oxybate
- Methylene Blue
- Morphine Sulfate Liposome
- Nitrous Oxide
- Opium Alkaloids
- Potassium Oxybate
- Sodium Oxybate
- St John's Wort
- Tolonium Chloride
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. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin with any of the following is usually not recommended, but may be unavoidable in some cases. If used together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin, or give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.
- Grapefruit Juice
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Addison's disease (adrenal gland problem) or
- Alcohol abuse, history of or
- Brain tumor or
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or
- Diabetes or
- Drug dependence, especially narcotic abuse or dependence, or history of or
- Enlarged prostate (eg, BPH, prostatic hypertrophy) or
- Gallbladder disease or
- Head injury, history of or
- Increased pressure in the head or
- Pancreatitis, acute (swelling of the pancreas) or
- Seizures, history of or
- Thyroid disease—Use with caution. May increase risk for more serious side effects.
- Asthma, acute or severe or
- Cough, chronic or persistent or
- Glaucoma, narrow-angle or
- Hypertension (high blood pressure), severe or
- Heart disease (eg, coronary artery disease), severe or
- Problems with passing urine or
- Respiratory depression (very slow breathing) or
- Stomach or bowel problems (eg, paralytic ileus), known or suspected—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)—Use with caution. May make this condition worse.
- Kidney disease, severe or
- Liver disease, severe—Use with caution. The effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.
Proper use of hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin
Take hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin only 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. If too much of hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin is taken for a long time, it may become habit-forming (causing mental or physical dependence) or cause an overdose.
Hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin should come with a Medication Guide. Read and follow the instructions carefully. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.
Measure the oral liquid correctly using the marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup. The average household teaspoon may not hold the right amount of liquid. Ask your pharmacist for instructions for measuring the correct dose of hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin.
Do not mix hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin with liquids or other medicines.
The dose of hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin 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 hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin. 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 (solution):
- For relief of cough, sneezing, or runny or stuffy nose:
- Adults—10 milliliters (mL) every 4 to 6 hours as needed. Do not take more than 4 doses (40 mL) in 24 hours.
- Children—Use is not recommended.
- For relief of cough, sneezing, or runny or stuffy nose:
If you miss a dose of hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, 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.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Drop off any unused narcotic medicine at a drug take-back location right away. If you do not have a drug take-back location near you, flush any unused narcotic medicine down the toilet. Check your local drug store and clinics for take-back locations. You can also check the DEA web site for locations. Here is the link to the FDA safe disposal of medicines website: www.fda.gov/drugs/resourcesforyou/consumers/buyingusingmedicinesafely/ensuringsafeuseofmedicine/safedisposalofmedicines/ucm186187.htm
Precautions while using hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin
It is very important that your doctor check your progress while you are using hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin. 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 does not improve or if it gets worse within 5 days, call your doctor.
It is against the law and dangerous for anyone else to use your medicine. Keep your unused oral liquid in a safe and secure place. People who are addicted to drugs might want to steal hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin.
Do not use hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin if you are using or have used an MAO inhibitor (MAOI) such as Eldepryl®, Marplan®, Nardil®, or Parnate® within the past 14 days.
Hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin may be habit-forming. If you feel that the medicine is not working as well, do not use more than your prescribed dose. Call your doctor for instructions.
If you think you or someone else may have taken an overdose of hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin, get emergency help at once. Signs of an overdose include: dark urine, difficult or troubled breathing, irregular, fast or slow, or shallow breathing, nausea or vomiting, pain in the upper stomach, pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin, pinpoint pupils of the eyes, or yellow eyes or skin.
Hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin affects you.
Hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin will add to the effects of alcohol and other CNS depressants (medicines that can make you drowsy or less alert). Some examples of CNS depressants are antihistamines or medicine for allergies or colds, sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping medicine, other prescription pain medicine or narcotics, medicine for seizures or barbiturates, muscle relaxants, or anesthetics, including some dental anesthetics. Check with your doctor before taking any of these medicines while you are using hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin.
Using this medication can cause severe constipation. To prevent this, your doctor may direct you to take laxatives, drink a lot of fluids, or increase the amount of fiber in your diet. Be sure to follow the directions carefully, because continuing constipation can lead to more serious problems.
Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting may occur when you get up suddenly from a lying or sitting position. Getting up slowly may help lessen this problem. Also, lying down for a while may relieve the dizziness or lightheadedness.
Using hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin while you are pregnant may cause serious unwanted effects, including neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome in your newborn baby. Tell your doctor right away if you think you are pregnant or if you plan to become pregnant while using hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin.
Hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin may cause adrenal insufficiency. Check with your doctor right away if you have darkening of the skin, diarrhea, dizziness, fainting, loss of appetite, mental depression, nausea, skin rash, unusual tiredness or weakness, or vomiting.
If you are especially sensitive to the effects of hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin, do not suddenly stop using it without first checking with your doctor. Your doctor may want you to gradually reduce the amount you are using before stopping it completely. This may help reduce the possibility of withdrawal symptoms, such as abdominal or stomach cramps, anxiety, fever, nausea, runny nose, sweating, tremors, or trouble sleeping.
Using too much of hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin may cause infertility (unable to have children). Talk with your doctor before using hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin if you plan to have children.
Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin. Hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin may affect the results of certain medical tests.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.
Hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin 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:
Incidence not known
- blurred vision
- chest pain or discomfort
- cold, clammy, pale skin
- difficult or troubled breathing
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
- fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat
- irregular, fast or slow, or shallow breathing
- pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin
- shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
- stomach cramps or pain
- trembling or shaking of the hands or feet
- unusual tiredness or weakness
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:
- feeling of warmth
- redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest
- relaxed and calm feeling
- sudden sweating
Incidence not known
- Trouble sleeping
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.
More about guaifenesin / hydrocodone / pseudoephedrine
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- En Español
- Drug class: upper respiratory combinations
- FDA Alerts (3)
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