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What Is Benzonatate Taken For?

Benzonatate (Tessalon) Uses, Side Effects, Dosage, Interactions

If you are experiencing a persistent cough, your doctor may prescribe a medication called benzonatate. Benzonatate is an antitussive medication that is commonly used to suppress coughing. It is a non-narcotic medication that works by numbing the throat and lungs, reducing the urge to cough. In this article, we will explore the uses and benefits of benzonatate and how it can help alleviate coughing symptoms.

How Does Benzonatate Work?

Benzonatate works by targeting the cough reflex in the body. When you have a cough, the nerve endings in your airways become irritated, causing the urge to cough. Benzonatate acts on these nerve endings, numbing them and reducing the sensitivity to the cough reflex. This helps to suppress coughing and provide relief from persistent coughing symptoms.

Medical Conditions Treated with Benzonatate

Benzonatate is primarily used for the treatment of coughing caused by various medical conditions. One of the most common conditions that benzonatate is prescribed for is acute respiratory tract infections, such as the common cold or flu. It can also be used to treat coughing caused by bronchitis, pneumonia, and other respiratory tract infections.

In addition to respiratory tract infections, benzonatate may also be prescribed for coughing associated with allergies, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It can help alleviate coughing symptoms in these conditions by reducing the urge to cough and providing temporary relief.

Proper Usage and Dosage

Benzonatate is available in capsule form and should be taken orally. It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions and take the medication as prescribed. The usual recommended dosage for adults is 100 mg to 200 mg, three times a day. For children aged 10 years or older, the dosage is usually 100 mg three times a day.

It is crucial to avoid chewing or crushing the capsules, as this can cause numbness in the mouth and throat. Swallow the capsules whole with a full glass of water. If you accidentally chew a capsule, rinse your mouth with water immediately to minimize any numbness or irritation.

Possible Side Effects

Like any medication, benzonatate may cause side effects in some individuals. The most common side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, headache, and mild nausea. These side effects are usually mild and temporary, but if they persist or worsen, it is important to contact your doctor.

In rare cases, benzonatate may cause more severe side effects such as chest pain, rapid heartbeat, confusion, hallucinations, or seizures. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

Precautions and Considerations

Before taking benzonatate, it is important to inform your doctor about any allergies or medical conditions you may have. If you have a history of hypersensitivity to certain medications, especially numbing medications, you should avoid taking benzonatate.

Benzonatate should not be taken by individuals who have a persistent, chronic cough, or a cough that is accompanied by excessive mucus production. It is also not recommended for children under the age of 10.

It is important to note that benzonatate may interact with certain medications, such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and alcohol. If you are taking any other medications or supplements, it is essential to discuss this with your doctor to avoid potential interactions.


Benzonatate is a medication commonly used to suppress coughing. It works by numbing the throat and lungs, reducing the urge to cough. It is primarily used for the treatment of coughing caused by respiratory tract infections, allergies, asthma, and COPD. It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions and take the medication as prescribed to ensure its effectiveness and minimize the risk of side effects. If you have any concerns or experience any severe side effects, contact your doctor immediately. With the proper usage and precautions, benzonatate can provide relief from persistent coughing symptoms.

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