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Aspirin / chlorpheniramine / dextromethorphan Side Effects

Applies to aspirin/chlorpheniramine/dextromethorphan: oral tablet effervescent.


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.

Aspirin should not be given to a child or teenager who has a fever, especially if the child also has flu symptoms or chicken pox. Aspirin can cause a serious and sometimes fatal condition called Reye’s syndrome in children.

Avoid drinking alcohol while you are taking this medication. It can increase your risk of stomach bleeding, and can add to drowsiness caused by chlorpheniramine.

Do not use any other over-the-counter cough, cold, allergy, pain, or sleep 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 an antihistamine, decongestant, cough suppressant, pain reliever, or fever reducer.

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

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.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

Less serious side effects of aspirin / chlorpheniramine / dextromethorphan may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect.

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to aspirin / chlorpheniramine / dextromethorphan: oral tablet effervescent.


A 29-year-old female with a history of migraine developed chest pain, tachycardia and orthopnea following aspirin consumption at doses of 1500 mg per day for several days. After discontinuation of aspirin therapy, the patient's symptoms promptly resolved. The patient consented to a pharmacological challenge test which once again triggered the symptoms.[Ref]

Cardiovascular side effects of aspirin have included salicylate-induced variant angina, ventricular ectopy, conduction abnormalities, and hypotension, particularly during salicylate toxicity. In addition, at least one case of fluid retention simulating acute congestive heart failure has been reported during aspirin therapy.

Cardiovascular side effects of chlorpheniramine have included hypotension, tachycardia, and palpitations.[Ref]


Dermatologic side effects of aspirin have included Stevens-Johnson syndrome and a lichenoid eruption.[Ref]


Endocrine side effects of aspirin have included hypoglycemia (which has been reported in children) and hyperglycemia.[Ref]


Gastrointestinal side effects of aspirin have included epigastric distress (in as many as 83% of patients treated with regular aspirin), abdominal discomfort or pain, endoscopically identifiable gastric mucosal lesions, nausea, and vomiting. More serious gastrointestinal effects include hemorrhage, peptic ulcers, perforation, and esophageal ulcerations.

Gastrointestinal side effects of chlorpheniramine have included dry mouth and constipation in up to one-third of treated patients.

Gastrointestinal side effects of dextromethorphan have included stomach upset.[Ref]

Endoscopically identifiable gastric mucosal lesions occur in most patients who receive a single dose of aspirin. Clinically evident gastrointestinal bleeding has been reported in as many as 3% of treated elderly patients. Anorectal ulceration and rectal stenosis have been reported in patients who abuse aspirin-containing rectal suppositories. One case-controlled study has suggested that an association between aspirin (and other NSAID) consumption and appendicitis may exist.[Ref]


A fatal case of agranulocytosis has been reported in a patient taking chlorpheniramine, pseudoephedrine, acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, phenylpropanolamine, and aspirin. Chlorpheniramine was felt to be the cause.[Ref]

Hematologic side effects of aspirin have included increased blood fibrinolytic activity. In addition, hypoprothrombinemia, thrombocytopenia, thrombocyturia, megaloblastic anemia, and pancytopenia have been reported rarely. Aplastic anemia and eosinophilia have also been reported.

Hematologic side effects of chlorpheniramine have included bone marrow suppression, thrombocytopenia, and aplastic anemia.[Ref]


Hepatic side effects of aspirin have included hepatotoxicity and cholestatic hepatitis.[Ref]


Hypersensitivity side effects of aspirin have included bronchospasm, rhinitis, conjunctivitis, urticaria, angioedema, and anaphylaxis. Approximately 10% to 30% of asthmatics are aspirin-sensitive (with the clinical triad of aspirin sensitivity, bronchial asthma, and nasal polyps).

Hypersensitivity side effects of dextromethorphan have included rare reports of fixed-drug eruptions[Ref]

The mechanism of aspirin-induced hypersensitivity may be related to an up-regulation of the 5-lipoxygenase pathway of arachidonic acid metabolism with a resulting increase in the products of 5-lipoxygenase (such as leukotrienes).[Ref]


Metabolic side effects of aspirin have included dehydration and hyperkalemia. Respiratory alkalosis and metabolic acidosis, particularly during salicylate toxicity, have been reported. A case of hypoglycemia has been reported in a patient on hemodialysis. Salicylates have also been reported to displace triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) from protein binding sites. The initial effect is an increase in serum free T4 concentrations.[Ref]


Musculoskeletal side effects of aspirin have included rhabdomyolysis.[Ref]

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects of aspirin have included agitation, cerebral edema, coma, confusion, dizziness, headache, cranial hemorrhage, lethargy and seizures. Tinnitus and subjective hearing loss (or both) may occur. Some investigators have reported that modest doses may result in decreased frequency selectivity and may therefore impair hearing performance, particularly in the setting of background noise.

Nervous system side effects of chlorpheniramine have included depression resulting in drowsiness in 75% or more of treated patients. Dyskinesias have rarely been reported following chronic use of chlorpheniramine.

Nervous system side effects of dextromethorphan have included drowsiness and dizziness. Other side effects such as excitation, mental confusion, and opiate-like respiratory depression have been rare and occurred at higher dosages. In some cases of abuse, patients experienced euphoria, hyperactivity, mania, and auditory and visual hallucinations.[Ref]

Some investigators have suggested that tinnitus may be a less reliable indicator of salicylate toxicity than previously believed. Patients with high frequency hearing loss may have difficulty perceiving tinnitus. In a study of rheumatoid arthritis patients, those with tinnitus had no greater salicylate levels than those without tinnitus. Elderly patients may be less likely to perceive tinnitus than younger patients.

Nearly all patients treated with chlorpheniramine experience drowsiness. This drowsiness may subside in some patients with extended use. A few cases of dyskinesias and tremors, often of the face, have been reported in patients whose chronic use of chlorpheniramine extended over a period of 3 to 10 years. Some of these cases were only partially relieved by discontinuation of the drug. Haloperidol was successful in relieving symptoms.[Ref]


Respiratory side effects of aspirin have included hyperpnea, pulmonary edema, and tachypnea.[Ref]

Aspirin desensitization has been used to decrease disease activity and reduce the need for systemic corticosteroids in patients with aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease.[Ref]


Renal side effects of aspirin have included reduction in glomerular filtration rate (particularly in patients who are sodium restricted or who exhibit diminished effective arterial blood volume, such as patients with advanced heart failure or cirrhosis), interstitial nephritis, papillary necrosis, elevations in serum creatinine, elevations in blood urea nitrogen, proteinuria, hematuria, and renal failure.[Ref]

The mechanism of an aspirin-induced decrease in renal function may be related to inhibition of renal prostaglandin synthesis with consequent decreases in renal blood flow. Vasodilating renal prostaglandins may be particularly important in patients who exhibit arterial underfilling (i.e. heart failure, cirrhosis). The administration of high doses of NSAIDs to such patients has produced acute renal failure in rare instances.[Ref]


Ocular side effects of aspirin have included cases of localized periorbital edema.

Ocular side effects of chlorpheniramine have included blurred vision, diplopia, and dry eyes due to anticholinergic effects.[Ref]


Other side effects of aspirin have included Reye's syndrome in children with an acute viral illness. Reye's syndrome has also been reported even more rarely in adults.[Ref]

Reye's syndrome typically involves vomiting, neurologic dysfunction, and hepatic dysfunction during or shortly after an acute viral infection[Ref]


Oncologic side effects of aspirin have included reports of pancreatic cancer. Several epidemiologic studies have suggested that chronic aspirin use may decrease the risk of large bowel neoplasms. However, other studies have not found such a beneficial effect.[Ref]


Genitourinary side effects of chlorpheniramine have included dysuria, urinary hesitancy, and a decreased urine flow. In rare cases, the anticholinergic effect of chlorpheniramine has precipitated acute urinary retention.[Ref]

More about aspirin / chlorpheniramine / dextromethorphan

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