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Novahistine DH

Generic Name: chlorpheniramine, dihydrocodeine, and phenylephrine (klor feh NEER ah meen, dye hye droe KOE deen, feh nill EH frin)
Brand Name: DiHydro-PE, Novahistine DH

What is Novahistine DH (chlorpheniramine, dihydrocodeine, and phenylephrine)?

Chlorpheniramine is an antihistamine that reduces the natural chemical histamine in the body. Histamine can produce symptoms of sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and runny nose.

Dihydrocodeine is a narcotic cough medicine similar to codeine.

Phenylephrine is a decongestant that shrinks blood vessels in the nasal passages. Dilated blood vessels can cause nasal congestion (stuffy nose).

Chlorpheniramine, dihydrocodeine, and phenylephrine is a combination medicine used to treat sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, watery eyes, and cough caused by allergies or the common cold.

Chlorpheniramine, dihydrocodeine, and phenylephrine will not treat a cough that is caused by smoking, asthma, or emphysema.

Chlorpheniramine, dihydrocodeine, and phenylephrine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about Novahistine DH (chlorpheniramine, dihydrocodeine, and phenylephrine)?

Dihydrocodeine can slow or stop your breathing, and may be habit-forming. MISUSE OF THIS MEDICINE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription.

Do not use this medicine if you have used an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days, such as isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, or tranylcypromine.

This medicine should not be used to treat cold or flu symptoms in anyone younger than 6 years old, and should not be used as a pain medicine in children younger than 12 or anyone under 18 who recently had surgery to remove the tonsils or adenoids.

You should not use antihistamine medication to make a child sleepy.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking Novahistine DH (chlorpheniramine, dihydrocodeine, and phenylephrine)?

You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to chlorpheniramine, dihydrocodeine, or phenylephrine.

Do not use this medicine if you have taken an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, and tranylcypromine.

In some people, codeine (dihydrocodeine) breaks down rapidly in the liver and reaches higher than normal levels in the body. This can cause dangerously slow breathing and may cause death, especially in a child.

This medicine should not be used to treat cold or flu symptoms in anyone younger than 6 years old.

Chlorpheniramine, dihydrocodeine, and phenylephrine should not be used as a pain medicine in children younger than 12 or anyone under 18 who recently had surgery to remove the tonsils or adenoids.

To make sure chlorpheniramine, dihydrocodeine, and phenylephrine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • an ulcer or blockage in your stomach or intestines;

  • heart disease, high blood pressure;

  • a problem with your gallbladder, pancreas, or thyroid;

  • Addison's disease (an adrenal gland disorder);

  • a head injury, brain tumor, or seizure;

  • asthma, COPD, sleep apnea, or other breathing disorder;

  • diabetes;

  • glaucoma;

  • liver or kidney disease;

  • urination problems, enlarged prostate;

  • depression or mental illness; or

  • drug or alcohol addiction.

If you use dihydrocodeine while you are pregnant, your baby could become dependent on the drug. This can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the baby after it is born. Babies born dependent on habit-forming medicine may need medical treatment for several weeks. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Do not breast-feed. Dihydrocodeine can pass into breast milk and may cause drowsiness, breathing problems, or death in a nursing baby. Chlorpheniramine may slow breast milk production.

Artificially sweetened liquid medicine may contain phenylalanine. Check the medication label if you have phenylketonuria (PKU).

How should I take Novahistine DH (chlorpheniramine, dihydrocodeine, and phenylephrine)?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Never take this medicine in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed. Cough or cold medicine is usually taken only for a short time until your symptoms clear up.

Dihydrocodeine may be habit forming. Never share this medicine with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it. Selling or giving away this medicine is against the law.

Measure liquid medicine with the dosing syringe provided, or with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Keep track of your medicine. Dihydrocodeine is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if anyone is using your medicine improperly or without a prescription.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since this medicine is used when needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. If you are on a schedule, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. A dihydrocodeine overdose can be fatal, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription. Overdose symptoms may include slow breathing and heart rate, severe drowsiness, muscle weakness, cold and clammy skin, pinpoint pupils, and fainting.

What should I avoid while taking Novahistine DH (chlorpheniramine, dihydrocodeine, and phenylephrine)?

This medicine may impair your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how this medicine will affect you. Dizziness or severe drowsiness can cause falls or other accidents.

Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Get up slowly and steady yourself to prevent a fall.

Do not drink alcohol while you are taking medicine that contains dihydrocodeine. Dangerous side effects or death could occur.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using any other cold, allergy, cough, or sleep medicine. Many combination medicines contain antihistamines, decongestants, or cough suppressants. Taking certain products together can cause you to get too much of a certain drug.

Novahistine DH (chlorpheniramine, dihydrocodeine, and phenylephrine) side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

A person caring for you should seek emergency medical attention if you have slow breathing with long pauses, blue colored lips, or if you are hard to wake up.

Stop using this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest;

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;

  • severe anxiety, confusion, fear;

  • painful or difficult urination;

  • little or no urinating; or

  • dangerously high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath, uneven heartbeats, seizure).

Serious side effects may be more likely in older adults and those who are overweight, malnourished, or debilitated.

Common side effects may include:

  • dizziness, drowsiness, headache;

  • nausea, upset stomach;

  • constipation;

  • blurred vision; or

  • dry mouth.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Side Effects (complete list)

What other drugs will affect Novahistine DH (chlorpheniramine, dihydrocodeine, and phenylephrine)?

Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using this medicine if you are also using any other drugs, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Some medicines can cause unwanted or dangerous effects when used together. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Taking chlorpheniramine, dihydrocodeine, and phenylephrine with other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can cause dangerous side effects or death. Ask your doctor before taking a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, prescription cough medicine, a muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.

More about Novahistine DH (chlorpheniramine / dihydrocodeine / phenylephrine)

Professional resources

Other Formulations

Related treatment guides

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about chlorpheniramine, dihydrocodeine, and phenylephrine.
  • 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 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.01.

Date modified: October 13, 2017
Last reviewed: June 22, 2017

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