benzonatate, Tessalon Perles
GENERIC NAME: benzonatate
BRAND NAME: Tessalon Perles
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Benzonatate is a medication taken orally to suppress coughs. It has an anesthetic (numbing) action similar to that of benzocaine and "numbs" the stretch sensors in the lungs. It is the stretching of these sensors with breathing that causes the cough. Benzonatate begins to work within 15 to 20 minutes, and its effects last for approximately 3 hours. Benzonatate is unrelated to narcotics such as codeine which are frequently used to suppress coughs. (Another frequently used cough suppressant, dextromethorphan, which is found in many over-the-counter cough and cold preparations, is a derivative of the narcotics.) Benzonatate was approved by the FDA in 1958.
GENERIC AVAILABLE: yes
PREPARATIONS: Capsules: 100mg.
STORAGE: Capsules should be stored at room temperature, between 15° (59°F) and 30°C (86°F).
PRESCRIBED FOR: Benzonatate is used for relieving coughs.
DOSING: Benzonatate usually is given three times daily as needed for cough. A maximum doses of 6 capsules per day is recommended by the manufacturer. The capsules should be swallowed whole; they should not be broken or chewed.
DRUG INTERACTIONS: There are no known drug interactions with benzonatate.
PREGNANCY: There is very little information about the effects on the fetus of benzonatate given to pregnant women. Physicians may use it during pregnancy if its benefits are deemed to outweigh its potential but unknown risks.
NURSING MOTHERS: It is not known whether benzonatate is secreted into breast milk.
SIDE EFFECTS: The most frequent adverse reactions of benzonatate include sedation, headache, mild dizziness, constipation, nausea, and vomiting.
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information
Last Editorial Review: 7/23/1998
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