Benadryl Allergy Sinus Headache Side Effects
Generic Name: acetaminophen / pseudoephedrine
Note: This document contains side effect information about acetaminophen / pseudoephedrine. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Benadryl Allergy Sinus Headache.
For the Consumer
Applies to acetaminophen / pseudoephedrine: oral tablet
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
- Not able to pass urine or change in how much urine is passed.
- A very bad skin reaction (Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis) may happen. It can cause very bad health problems that may not go away, and sometimes death. Get medical help right away if you have signs like red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin (with or without fever); red or irritated eyes; or sores in your mouth, throat, nose, or eyes.
What are some other side effects of this drug?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Feeling nervous and excitable.
- Not able to sleep.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
For Healthcare Professionals
Cardiovascular adverse effects of pseudoephedrine have included significant rises in heart rate. Hypertension and arrhythmias have been problematic in susceptible patients.[Ref]
Pseudoephedrine causes vasoconstriction which generally does not produce hypertension, but may be problematic for patients with preexisting hypertension. Arrhythmias may be produced in predisposed patients. Rarely, pseudoephedrine has been reported to cause coronary artery spasm and chest pain.[Ref]
Nervous system side effects of pseudoephedrine have included nervous system stimulation, resulting in tremor, anxiety, and nervousness. Insomnia has been reported in up to 30% of pseudoephedrine-treated patients. Headache has also occurred in patients receiving pseudoephedrine.[Ref]
Hepatic side effects of acetaminophen have been rare, except in alcoholics and after overdose. In these settings, severe and sometimes fatal (3% to 4%) dose-dependent hepatitis has been reported. Several cases of hepatotoxicity from chronic acetaminophen therapy at therapeutic doses have also been reported despite a lack of risk factors for toxicity[Ref]
Alcoholic patients may develop hepatotoxicity after even modest doses of acetaminophen. In healthy patients, approximately 15 grams of acetaminophen is necessary to deplete liver glutathione stores by 70% in a 70 kg person, although hepatotoxicity has been reported with smaller doses. Glutathione concentrations may be repleted by the antidote N-acetylcysteine. One case report has suggested that hypothermia may also be beneficial in decreasing liver damage during overdose.
In a recent retrospective study of 306 patients admitted for acetaminophen overdose, 6.9% had severe liver injury but all recovered. None of the 306 patients died.
A 19-year-old female developed hepatotoxicity, reactive plasmacytosis and agranulocytosis followed by a leukemoid reaction after acute acetaminophen toxicity.[Ref]
One study has suggested that acetaminophen may precipitate acute biliary pain and cholestasis. The mechanism for this side effect may be related to inhibition of prostaglandin and alterations in the regulation of the sphincter of oddi.[Ref]
Gastrointestinal side effects of acetaminophen are rare, except in alcoholics and after overdose. Cases of acute pancreatitis have been reported rarely with acetaminophen use.
Gastrointestinal side effects of pseudoephedrine have included anorexia and gastric irritation in approximately 5% of patients. Dry mouth, nose, or throat has occurred in up to 15% of patients.[Ref]
Renal side effects of acetaminophen have been rare and included acute tubular necrosis and interstitial nephritis. Adverse renal effects were most often observed after overdose, after chronic abuse (often with multiple analgesics), or in association with acetaminophen-related hepatotoxicity.[Ref]
Acute tubular necrosis usually occurs in conjunction with liver failure, but has been observed as an isolated finding in rare cases.[Ref]
Hematologic side effects have included rare cases of thrombocytopenia associated with acetaminophen. Acute thrombocytopenia has also been reported as having been caused by sensitivity to acetaminophen glucuronide, the major metabolite of acetaminophen. Methemoglobinemia with resulting cyanosis has also been observed in the setting of acute overdose.[Ref]
Hypersensitivity reactions to pseudoephedrine have included fixed drug eruptions.[Ref]
Dermatologic side effects have included rare reports of general erythematous skin rashes associated with acetaminophen. A rare case of bullous erythema associated with acetaminophen has been reported. Acetaminophen has been associated with a risk of rare but potentially fatal serious skin reactions known as Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), and acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis (AGEP).[Ref]
Metabolic side effects including metabolic acidosis have been reported following a massive overdose of acetaminophen.
In the case of metabolic acidosis, causality is uncertain as more than one drug was ingested. The case of metabolic acidosis followed the ingestion of 75 grams of acetaminophen, 1.95 grams of aspirin, and a small amount of a liquid household cleaner. The patient also had a history of seizures which the authors reported may have contributed to an increased lactate level indicative of metabolic acidosis.
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Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.
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