What is Tessalon Perles (benzonatate)?

Tessalon Perles (benzonatate) is a nonnarcotic antitussive (anti-cough) medication used 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

Tessalon Perles begins to work within 15 to 20 minutes, and its effects last for approximately 3 to 8 hours. Tessalon Perles is unrelated to narcotics such as codeine, which is frequently used to suppress coughs. 

Common side effects of Tessalon Perles include:

Serious side effects of Tessalon Perles include severe hypersensitivity reactions (including airway spasms and cardiovascular collapse) that occur from sucking or chewing the capsule instead of swallowing it.

There are no known drug interactions with Tessalon Perles. 

There is very little information about the effects of Tessalon Perles on a fetus. Physicians may use it during pregnancy if its benefits are deemed to outweigh its potential but unknown risks. 

It is unknown Tessalon Perles is secreted into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

What are the important side effects of Tessalon Perles (benzonatate)?


Benzonatate should not be used in children who are less than 10 years of age because unintentional overdose and death have been reported in this age group.

The most frequent adverse reactions of Tessalon Perles include:

Other side effects that have been reported include:

Severe hypersensitivity reactions (including airway spasms and cardiovascular collapse) may occur from sucking or chewing the capsule instead of swallowing it.

Tessalon Perles (benzonatate) side effects list for healthcare professionals

Potential Adverse Reactions to Tessalon may include:

Hypersensitivity reactions including bronchospasm, laryngospasm, cardiovascular collapse possibly related to local anesthesia from chewing or sucking the capsule.

CNS: sedation; headache; dizziness; mental confusion; visual hallucinations.

GI: constipation; nausea; GI upset.

Dermatologic: pruritus; skin eruptions.

Other: nasal congestion; sensation of burning in the eyes; vague “chilly” sensation; numbness of the chest; hypersensitivity.

Deliberate or accidental overdose has resulted in death, particularly in children.

What drugs interact with Tessalon Perles (benzonatate)?

No information provided.

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Medically Reviewed on 4/13/2020
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