- Side Effects
- Drug Interactions
- Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
- What Else to Know
Generic Name: chlorpheniramine
Brand Names: ChlorTrimeton, Diabetic Tussin
Drug Class: Antihistamines, 1st Generation
What is chlorpheniramine, and what is it used for?
Chlorpheniramine is an over-the-counter medication used to relieve symptoms of colds and allergies including sneezing, runny nose, itchy and watery eyes. Chlorpheniramine is a first generation antihistamine that can easily cross the blood-brain barrier, causing drowsiness as a side effect, which the second generation antihistamines do not cause.
Chlorpheniramine works by blocking the activity of histamine, a natural compound in the body that causes allergy symptoms. Histamine is released by mast cells and basophils, types of immune cells, in response to allergen exposure. Chlorpheniramine binds to histamine H1 receptors in blood vessels, respiratory tract, and gastrointestinal tract, preventing their activation by histamine and the resultant allergic reaction.
Chlorpheniramine may be used for symptom relief in the following conditions:
- Perennial and seasonal allergic rhinitis
- Perennial and seasonal vasomotor rhinitis
- Allergic conjunctivitis
- Common colds
- Hives (urticaria)
- Itching (pruritus)
- Swelling of tissue under the skin and mucous membranes (angioedema)
- Severe allergic reactions (anaphylactic reactions) such as swelling of throat, difficulty breathing, drop in blood pressure, dizziness, and fainting.
- Do not use chlorpheniramine to treat:
- Avoid using chlorpheniramine in nursing mothers
- Use chlorpheniramine with caution in the following conditions:
What are the side effects of chlorpheniramine?
Common side effects of chlorpheniramine include:
- Central nervous system depression
- Sedation ranging from mild drowsiness to deep sleep (most frequent)
- Lack of energy (lassitude)
- Impaired coordination
- Muscular weakness
- Abnormal skin sensation (paresthesia)
- Seizures (less common)
- Balance disorder (labyrinthitis)
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Visual disturbances
- Double vision (diplopia)
- Dryness of nose, mouth and throat
- Thickening of bronchial secretions
- Nasal stuffiness
- Involuntary facial movements (facial dyskinesia)
- Tightness of the chest
- ECG changes
- Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
- Irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia)
- High or low blood pressure (hypertension/hypotension)
- Greater incidence of dizziness, sedation, and hypotension in elderly patients
- Upper abdominal (epigastric) distress
- Loss of appetite (anorexia)
- Impaired bile flow (cholestasis)
- Abnormal liver function
- Liver inflammation (hepatitis)
- Liver failure
- Jaundice (rare)
- Painful urination (dysuria)
- Urinary retention
- Early menstrual periods
- Blood disorders such as:
This is not a complete list of all side effects or adverse reactions that may occur from the use of this drug. Call your doctor for medical advice about serious side effects or adverse reactions. You may also report side effects or health problems to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What are the dosages of chlorpheniramine?
- 4 mg
- 8 mg
- 12 mg
- 2 mcg/5 mL
Suspension (pediatric only)
- 2 mg/mL
- Tablets or syrup: 4 mg orally every 4-6 hours; not to exceed 24 mg/day
- Extended-release tablets: 8 mg orally every 8-12 hours or 12 mg every 12 hours; not to exceed 24 mg/day
- Extended-release capsules: 12 mg orally once/day; not to exceed 24 mg/day
- Sustained-release capsules: 8-12 mg orally every 8-12 hours, up to 16-24 mg/day
- Children under 2 years: Safety and efficacy not established
- Children 2-6 years: 1 mg orally every 4-6 hours; not to exceed 6 mg/day
- Children 6-12 years: 2 mg orally every 4-6 hours; not to exceed 12 mg/day or sustained release at bedtime
- Children over 12 years:
- Tablets or syrup: 4 mg orally every 4-6 hours; not to exceed 24 mg/day
- Extended-release tablets: 8 mg orally every 8-12 hours or 12 mg every 12 hours; not to exceed 24 mg/day
- Extended-release capsules: 12 mg orally once/day; not to exceed 24 mg/day
- Sustained-release capsules: 8-12 mg orally every 8-12 hours, up to 16-24 mg/day
- 4 mg orally once/day or every 12 hours
- Sustained-release: 8 mg orally at bedtime
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What drugs interact with chlorpheniramine?
Inform your doctor of all medications you are currently taking, who can advise you on any possible drug interactions. Never begin taking, suddenly discontinue, or change the dosage of any medication without your doctor’s recommendation.
- Chlorpheniramine has no known severe interactions with other drugs.
- Serious interactions of chlorpheniramine include:
- sodium oxybate
- Chlorpheniramine has moderate interactions with at least 201 different drugs.
- Mild interactions of chlorpheniramine include:
The drug interactions listed above are not all of the possible interactions or adverse effects. For more information on drug interactions, visit the RxList Drug Interaction Checker.
It is important to always tell your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider of all prescription and over-the-counter medications you use, as well as the dosage for each, and keep a list of the information. Check with your doctor or health care provider if you have any questions about the medication.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Chlorpheniramine use during pregnancy is recommended only when potential benefit outweighs potential risk. There is no controlled data for chlorpheniramine use in pregnancy, however, antihistamine exposure in first trimester is not reported to be associated with increased risk of malformations.
- Chlorpheniramine is excreted in breast milk. Small, occasional doses of the drug is acceptable during breastfeeding. Large doses or prolonged use, particularly before nursing for the first time, may reduce milk production, and may cause effects in the infant.
What else should I know about chlorpheniramine?
In geriatric treatment:
- Non-anticholinergic antihistamines should be considered first when treating allergic reactions (Beers Criteria). Anticholinergic antihistamines block the activity of a neurotransmitter known as acetylcholine, which can affect involuntary muscle function and fluid secretions
- Avoid use of chlorpheniramine in the elderly because of the high incidence of anticholinergic effects
- Drug clearance is reduced with advanced age and poses a greater risk of confusion, dry mouth, constipation, and other anticholinergic effects and toxicity
- Chlorpheniramine may exacerbate existing lower urinary conditions or prostate enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia)
Chlorpheniramine is an over-the-counter medication used to relieve symptoms of colds and allergies including sneezing, runny nose, itchy and watery eyes. Common side effects of chlorpheniramine include central nervous system depression, sedation ranging from mild drowsiness to deep sleep (most frequent), dizziness, lack of energy (lassitude), impaired coordination, muscular weakness, restlessness, faintness, insomnia, euphoria, nervousness, irritability, delirium, and others. Consult your doctor before taking chlorpheniramine if pregnant or breastfeeding.
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Scientists believe that allergies are getting worse because of climate change.
Are Food Allergies Passed Down Genetically?
A food allergy is a condition that causes your immune system to fight against a particular part of food — which is called an allergen. Food allergies can be hereditary — that is, parents can pass the likelihood of developing a food allergy to their children through genes that code for inherited traits.
How Long Does a Cold Last?
Most often, a common cold lasts anywhere from 5 to 10 days in length.
Drug Allergy (Medication Allergy)
Drug or medication allergies are caused when the immune system mistakenly creates an immune response to a medication. Symptoms of a drug allergic reaction include hives, rash, itchy skin or eyes, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, fainting, and anxiety. The most common drugs that people are allergic to include penicillins and penicillin type drugs, sulfa drugs, insulin, and iodine. Treatment may involve antihistamines or corticosteroids. An EpiPen may be used for life-threatening anaphylactic symptoms.
Sinus Infection vs. Cold
Viruses cause the common cold and most sinus infections. Bacterial and fungal infections may also cause a sinus infection. Signs and symptoms of colds and sinus infections include nasal irritation or dryness, sore throat, stuffy nose, nasal discharge/congestion, sneezing, and cough. Additional symptoms of sinus infections include sinus pressure behind the cheeks or eyes, facial pain when pressure is applied, bad breath, and thick yellow or green mucus. Treatment focuses on symptom relief.
What Causes Allergy Flare-ups?
During certain seasons, allergies can make you miserable. Learn what causes allergy flare-ups during spring and summer.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Allergic Conjunctivitis?
What is allergic conjunctivitis, and how do you recognize it? Learn the signs of allergic conjunctivitis and how to treat it.
Is There a Lot of Sneezing With COVID-19?
While sneezing is not a definitive symptom of COVID-19, some people infected with the Delta variant have complained of sneezing.
Is My Sore Throat Allergies or COVID-19?
Sore throat can be a symptom of allergies or COVID-19, and it can be difficult to tell which one you have. Understanding the difference between these two illnesses can help.
What Can You Take for a Cold While Pregnant?
You may take over-the-counter (OTC) treatment after consulting with the physician because these are generally safe. OTC medications for colds and flus include acetaminophen, guaifenesin syrup and saline nasal drops or spray. You can also use natural remedies to treat a cold during pregnancy.
COVID-19 vs. Allergies
Though there is some overlap in allergy and COVID-19 signs and symptoms there are also significant differences. Symptoms that they have in common include headache, fatigue, tiredness, shortness of breath, wheezing, and sore throat. Fever does not occur with allergies but is one of the defining symptoms of COVID-19 infections.
Latex allergy is a condition where the body reacts to latex, a natural product derived from the rubber tree. The reaction can either be delayed and cause a skin rash or immediate, which can lead to anaphylaxis. Avoiding latex is the most effective way to prevent an allergic reaction.
Why Won’t My Allergy Symptoms Go Away?
Allergies happen when your body's immune system reacts to certain substances as though they are harmful. Allergy symptoms may not go away unless you avoid your triggers, stick to your medications, find the right combination of medications, and consider surgery.
What Are Typical Allergy Symptoms?
Allergy symptoms differ depending on the type of allergy and body part involved. For example, food allergies may cause different symptoms than nasal allergies or eye allergies. The severity of symptoms may also vary, ranging from mild irritation to a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis.
Does Being Cold Make Your Muscles Ache?
Cold weather can tighten the muscles and joints, leading to muscle aches and pain.
How Common Is It to Be Allergic to Nickel?
Nickel allergies are common in 10 percent of the population in the United States and 18 percent of people in North America, including 11 million children.
What Can Trigger a Cold Sore?
After you get infected with HSV, it lies inactively in the nerve cells inside your skin and may appear as another cold sore at the same place as before.
What Are the 4 Most Common Allergens?
The four most common types of allergens include food and medications, pollen, pet dander, and latex.
What Are the Symptoms of Ragweed Allergy?
The common symptoms of ragweed allergy are sneezing, runny nose, itchy, watery red eyes, headache, nasal congestion, eye swelling, rashes and coughing.
How Can Teens Cope With A Cold?
Usually, teens have a healthy immune system to cope with common cold. Getting plenty of rest and drinking lots of fluids can ease the symptoms.
How Do You Know if You Are Allergic to Pollen?
Pollen is a powdery yellow grain that fertilizes other plants of the same species. The only way to know for sure if a person has pollen allergy is to see a board-certified allergist for allergy testing.
What Are Typical Seasonal Allergy Symptoms?
Typical seasonal allergy symptoms include a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, congestion, and a sore throat.
Should I Exercise Outside if I Have Allergies?
An allergy is a condition in which the immune system overresponds to a foreign substance. With the right treatment and precautions, you can completely eliminate allergy flare-ups during your outdoor workout.
Emphysema, Chronic Bronchitis, and Colds
If you have a COPD such as emphysema, avoiding chronic bronchitis and colds is important to avoid a more severe respiratory infection such as pneumonia. Avoiding cigarette smoking, practice good hygeine, stay away from crowds, and alerting your healthcare provider if you have a sinus infection or cold or cough that becomes worse. Treatment options depend upon the severity of the emphysema, bronchitis, or cold combination.
Do Allergy Desensitization Shots Work?
Allergies happen when your immune system overreacts to harmless substances called allergens. Allergy desensitization shots make your body less likely to react to allergen.
What Causes Nose Allergies?
Nose allergies can be caused by irritants such as pollen, animal dander, and household dust. Learn about symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
How Can I Help My Child With a Peanut Allergy?
Since there is no cure for peanut allergies, prevention and keeping an epinephrine injector (EpiPen) on hand is key to helping your child’s allergy.
What Foods Cause Oral Allergy Syndrome?
Oral allergy syndrome, also called pollen food allergy syndrome or PFAS, is a type of food allergy caused by certain allergens found in both pollen and raw vegetables and fruits and some nuts. Foods that cause oral allergy syndrome include those in the birch, grass and ragweed families.
How Do You Tell If Your Child Has Allergies or a Cold?
Colds and allergies have different causes, but both involve the body's immune system. Since the symptoms of allergies and the symptoms of a cold overlap, it can be hard to tell which one your child has.
What Is Good for a Child's Cold?
The common cold is one of the main reasons for missing schools in children and missing work in adults. Children are affected more commonly with cold than adults, who may have an average of two to three colds each year.
How Do You Get Tested for Food Allergies?
If you develop symptoms of a food allergy, your doctor will have you undergo a skin test or blood test to determine which foods you are allergic to.
What Do You Give a Child With a Cold?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for the common cold. Antibiotics may be used to fight bacterial infections, but they have no effect on viruses.
Is Food Intolerance the Same as Food Allergy?
Food intolerance is a condition in which an individual has difficulty in digesting certain foods. Consumption of these foods manifests as physical symptoms such as bloating, loose motion, gases, and bellyache. Food intolerance is quite common. Most people are aware of the foods that disagree with them.
How to Identify Cold Symptoms in Children
When a child is sick, their way of showing it may not always be clear. Here’s what to look for to determine whether your child is sick with a cold.
How Do You Treat a Cold Naturally?
Hundreds of viruses and bacteria can cause the common cold and flu. Most cases of cold and flu usually resolve in a week with simple home remedies and over the counter (OTC) medications. If there is no improvement in a few days, it is advised to consult a doctor.
Is Allergic Conjunctivitis the Same as Conjunctivitis?
Allergic conjunctivitis may occur along with sneezing, runny nose, or sinus headache. Many people also find that they are tired and feel agitated.
Treatment & Diagnosis
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