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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.

Upsides

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

Downsides

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.

Tips

  • 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.

References

Benzonatate [Package Insert]. Revised 09, 2017. Major Pharmaceuticals Inc. https://www.drugs.com/pro/benzonatate.html

  • 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.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. This drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. It is an informational resource designed 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. Drugs.com does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of this information. 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 1996-2018 Drugs.com. Revision Date: 2017-10-25 01:51:29

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