Benzonatate Capsules

Benzonatate is a cough suppressant that relieves cough. It works by calming your cough reflex. Common brand names for this medication include Tessalon®, Perles® and Zonatuss®. Talk to a healthcare provider if your symptoms don’t improve or if they get worse while taking this medication.

What is this medication?

BENZONATATE (ben ZOE na tate) is used to relieve cough. It works by calming your cough reflex. It belongs to a group of medications called cough suppressants.

This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Tessalon Perles, Zonatuss

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What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • Kidney or liver disease
  • An unusual or allergic reaction to benzonatate, anesthetics, other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • Pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • Breast-feeding

How should I use this medication?

Take this medication 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 medication at regular intervals. Do not take your medication more often than directed.

Talk to your care team about the use of this medication in children. While this medication may be prescribed for children as young as 10 years old for selected conditions, precautions do apply.

Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.

NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.

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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 medication?

Do not take this medication with any of the following:

  • MAOIs like Carbex, Eldepryl, Marplan, Nardil, and Parnate

This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.

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What should I watch for while using this medication?

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

You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medication 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 medication?

Side effects that you should report to your care team as soon as possible:

  • Allergic reactions—skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations

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

  • Burning or tingling of the tongue, mouth, throat, or face
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness

This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Where should I keep my medication?

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 medication after the expiration date.

NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.

Copyright ©2024 Elsevier Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Note: Introduction and Additional Common Questions written and medically approved by Cleveland Clinic professionals.

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