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Benzonatate Oral capsule

It is used to treat cough.

Generic Name: benzonatate  |  Brand Name: Tessalon

Brand Names: Tessalon, Tessalon Perles

There is an FDA Alert for this drug. Click here to view it.

Special Alerts:

[Posted 12/14/2010] ISSUE: FDA is warning the public that accidental ingestion of benzonatate (Tessalon) by children under the age of 10 years can result in death from overdose. Overdose with benzonatate in children less than 2 years of age has been reported following accidental ingestion of as few as 1 or 2 capsules. Benzonatate may be attractive to children because of the drug's appearance (it is a round-shaped liquid-filled gelatin capsule).

BACKGROUND: Benzonatate is a prescription drug approved for relief of cough in patients over 10 years of age. The safety and effectiveness of benzonatate in children under 10 years of age have not been established. Benzonatate is sold under the brand-name Tessalon and is also sold in generic preparations. Individuals who experience overdose of benzonatate may exhibit restlessness, tremors, convulsions, coma, and cardiac arrest. Signs and symptoms of overdose can occur rapidly after ingestion (within 15-20 minutes). Deaths in children have been reported within hours of the accidental ingestion.

RECOMMENDATION: Patients who are taking benzonatate should keep the medication in a child-resistant container and store it out of reach of children. If a child accidentally ingests benzonatate, seek medical attention immediately. Signs and symptoms of benzonatate overdose can occur rapidly after ingestion (within 15-20 minutes) and may include restlessness, tremors, convulsions, coma, and cardiac arrest. For more information visit the FDA website at: [Web] and [Web].

What is this medicine?

BENZONATATE (ben ZOE na tate) is used to treat cough.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • kidney or liver disease
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to benzonatate, anesthetics, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Avoid breaking, chewing, or sucking the capsule, as this can cause serious side effects. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for children as young as 10 years old for selected conditions, precautions do apply.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
  • MAOIs like Carbex, Eldepryl, Marplan, Nardil, and Parnate

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse. If you have a high fever, skin rash, or headache, see your health care professional.

You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you. Do not sit or stand up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • breathing problems
  • chest pain
  • confusion or hallucinations
  • irregular heartbeat
  • numbness of mouth or throat
  • seizures

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • burning feeling in the eyes
  • constipation
  • headache
  • nasal congestion
  • stomach upset

Where should I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Keep tightly closed. Protect from light and moisture. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

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.


Last Updated: March 18, 2009
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