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Benzonatate Patient Tips

Medically reviewed on Oct 25, 2017 by C. Fookes, BPharm.

How it works

  • Benzonatate reduces coughing by anesthetizing certain receptors located in the breathing passages and lungs, dampening down their activity and reducing the cough reflex.
  • Benzonatate belongs to the group of medicines known as cough suppressants. Benzonatate may also be called an anti-tussive.


  • Used to relieve a dry, irritating cough.
  • Fast-acting.
  • Benzonatate is not a narcotic.
  • Benzonatate is available as a generic.


If you are between the ages of 18 and 60, take no other medication or have no other medical conditions, side effects you are more likely to experience include:

  • Sedation, headache, constipation, nausea, itchiness, skin rash, nasal congestion, a burning sensation in the eyes.
  • Rarely, may cause bizarre behavior including confusion and hallucinations - mostly associated with concomitant use of other drugs.
  • Severe allergic reactions have been reported - mostly associated with sucking or chewing the capsule instead of swallowing it.
  • Overdosage can be fatal, especially in children.

Notes: In general, seniors or children, people with certain medical conditions (such as liver or kidney problems, heart disease, diabetes, seizures) or people who take other medications are more at risk of developing a wider range of side effects. For a complete list of all side effects, click here.

Bottom Line

Benzonatate relieves a dry cough; however, the capsules must be swallowed whole because the risk of a fatal overdosage is increased if the capsules are opened in any way.


  • Swallow the capsule whole. Do not suck, chew, crush, cut, or break open as this can cause overdosage.
  • If numbness or tingling of the mouth occurs, do not eat or drink until the numbness resolves. Seek medical attention if it does not resolve.
  • Only take as directed. Do not exceed a single dose of 200mg or a total daily dose of 600mg. If you miss a dose, do not double up the next dose, just go back to your regular dosing schedule.
  • Keep out of reach of children. If children accidentally take benzonatate seek medical attention immediately. Signs and symptoms of overdosage include tremors, convulsions, coma, and heart attack.
  • Do not give to children aged less than 10.

Response and Effectiveness

  • Benzonatate starts to work within 15 to 20 minutes and its effects last for 3 to 8 hours.


Benzonatate [Package Insert]. Revised 09, 2017. Major Pharmaceuticals Inc.

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use benzonatate only for the indication prescribed.

Copyright 1996-2018 Revision Date: 2017-10-25 01:51:29

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.