benzonatate - Uses - Dosages - Side Effects - Precautions

benzonatate: Frequently Asked Questions Answered

What is Benzonatate?

Benzonatate is a drug useful for relieving coughs and hiccups in people above the age of 10. It is mainly useful against coughs caused by a cold or influenza. Benzonatate is not useful for treating coughs caused by smoking, asthma, emphysema or other chronic conditions that increase mucus or phlegm levels. It is a prescription medication available as a capsule and a liquid-filled capsule. Benzonatate acts on the lungs and breathing pathways to relieve cough. It affects a specific part of the brain and reduces the urge to cough.  

What are the uses of Benzonatate?

Benzonatate is a non-narcotic drug used to treat coughs. It numbs the throat and lungs and affects a particular part of the brain, reducing the urge to cough, and hence might also be used during intubation. However, it can have various side effects. Generally, it does not relieve cough with high mucus or phlegm and works well only with a cough caused by a cold or influenza. Benzonatate is also useful for treating hiccups. 

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What are the side effects of Benzonatate?

Common side effects include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Stuffy nose
  • Drowsiness
  • Feeling chilly
  • Burning sensation in the eyes


More severe side effects include:

  • Difficulty in breathing and swallowing
  • Numbness in the chest
  • Allergic reactions like itching, rash or hives
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Tightening of the throat


If existing symptoms worsen, or you experience any new symptoms or the ones mentioned above, contact your doctor immediately.  


Frequently Asked Questions about benzonatate

1.How long does it take for Benzonatate to get rid of a cough?

Benzonatate makes the cough reflex less active. Once you take the capsule, it starts working in 15 to 20 minutes, and the effect lasts for about 3 to 8 hours. It is used for coughs caused by a cold or influenza and not for chronic coughs caused by smoking, asthma and emphysema.

2. Does Benzonatate loosen mucus?

No, Benzonatate does not loosen mucus. Benzonatate belongs to a class of medicines called antitussives (cough suppressants). In patients with thick mucus or who are unable to cough up mucus, expectorants are used to loosen the mucus. If you are coughing with mucus, this might not be the best treatment.

3. Does Benzonatate increase blood pressure?

Benzonatate can sometimes lead to severe hypersensitivity reactions. Although rare, you can experience anaphylaxis, a hypersensitivity condition characterised by nausea, vomiting, trouble breathing, skin rash and a rapid drop in blood pressure called shock that may be potentially lethal. In patients with high blood pressure, decongestants can increase blood pressure and speed up the heart rate.

4. Is Benzonatate a sedative?

One of the side effects of Benzonatate is drowsiness. The drug itself is not a sedative but can cause severe drowsiness or dizziness, confusion, hallucinations, etc. You should avoid driving and performing tasks that require alertness. If you experience an unusual reaction, contact your doctor immediately.

5. Is Benzonatate good for covid cough?

One of the most common symptoms of Covid-19 is a dry cough. Benzonatate works on dry cough by numbing your throat and the airway and reducing the urge to cough. However, it is not the best option for a cough with mucus.

6. How many days can you take Benzonatate?

Benzonatate is a prescription medication, and you should take it only as directed by your doctor. Usually, your doctor will advise you to take it three times a day; however, the dosage frequency may change according to the need. Follow the prescription label, or contact your doctor to know more.

7. Can I take a decongestant with Benzonatate?

Yes, doctors may prescribe decongestants and Benzonatate (cough suppressant) together with various drugs to treat a cough with or without phlegm, nasal congestion and stuffy nose. It is always advised to consult your doctor before taking a decongestant in combination with Benzonatate.

8. How much Benzonatate is lethal?

Adult patients should not exceed a single dose of 200 mg or a total daily dose of 600 mg of Benzonatate. The medication can have serious life-threatening effects in case of an overdose. Furthermore, you should keep it out of reach of children. In children, accidental ingestion of Benzonatate can lead to overdose symptoms within 15 to 20 minutes and death within an hour.

9. Can I take Benzonatate with Tylenol for cold and severe flu?

Benzonatate might interact with other medications. While certain medications are safe to take in combination, others might lead to side effects and can be life-threatening in some cases. Hence, you must take necessary precautions and consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication with Benzonatate.

10. Will Benzonatate keep you awake?

No, Benzonatate does not keep you awake. One of its most common side effects is drowsiness. Dizziness, mental confusion and hallucinations are some other symptoms. Do not drive or perform tasks that require alertness after taking the medication. Please notify your doctor or pharmacist if you experience any side effects. You can get the latest information and consultation from our health experts. Book an appointment now.

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Disclaimer: The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts.