Benzonatate – Uses, Side Effects, and More

Benzonatate is commonly known under the brand name Tessalon Perles. It’s a medicine that helps to relieve coughs. It is available as an oral liquid-filled capsule. This oral capsule is also available as a generic drug. Doctors recommend this medicine to manage cough during a cold or flu. However, like any other medicine, it also has various side effects. Understanding how this medicine interacts with specific medicines is key to ensuring safety.

Common Brand NameTessalon Perles, Tessalon
Common Generic NameBenzonatate
Drug ClassesCough suppressant; Antitussive agent
AvailabilityGeneric Available, Prescription Only
How it’s Used?Capsule that should be swallowed

What is Benzonatate?

Benzonatate (ben-ZOE-na-tate) is a non-narcotic oral medicine used to relieve coughing. It functions by relaxing the cough reflex. Benzonatate belongs to a group of medications called cough suppressants. It is often prescribed for coughs caused by colds, pneumonia, bronchitis, or other respiratory conditions. This medicine is not to be used for chronic coughs that happen with asthma, smoking, or emphysema. You should also not take it when there is an unusual and large amount of phlegm or mucus in the cough.

How Bezonatate Works?

Benzonatate is used to relieve cough. It starts working about 15 to 20 minutes after swallowing it. This medicine effect lasts for about 3 to 8 hours. It can be used as part of a combination treatment. This means you may need to have it with other medicines.

Dosage Forms of Benzonatate

Benzonatate is available in the following dosage forms, which must be taken by mouth.

  • 100 mg oral capsules
  • 150 mg oral capsules
  • 200 mg oral capsules

What are the Side Effects of Benzonatate?

This medicine has many common and serious side effects, including:

Common Side Effects

The more common side effects of this oral medicine are as follows:

  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Upset stomach
  • Drowsiness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Breakouts 
  • Itchy skin
  • Stuffy nose

Note: If these effects are mild, they may disappear within a few days or a couple of weeks. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if they’re more severe or don’t go away.

Serious Side Effects

Call your doctor if you have serious side effects. Some serious side effects and their signs can include the following:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Confusion
  • Chest numbness
  • Hallucinations (hearing or seeing something that is not present there)
  • Burning of your eyes

Benzonatate Warnings

This oral liquid-filled medicine comes with many warnings, including:


Benzonatate can cause a serious allergic reaction. The risk may be higher if you suck or chew the capsule instead of swallowing it whole. Signs can include:

  • Swelling or tightness in your throat
  • Trouble breathing
  • Heart and blood vessel problems, such as low blood pressure. This may cause you to faint or feel dizzy.


Call your doctor if you have a numb throat, tongue, mouth, or face. It is a serious issue if it doesn’t go away or get worse. Avoid eating and drinking anything if you have numbness after taking this drug.

Warnings for Specific Group

This drug comes with several warnings for a certain group of people, including:

1. For Children: This medicine has not been studied and should not be taken by children under 10. Swallowing this drug accidentally can cause death in kids younger than 10 years old. It’s important to keep this medicine away from kids.

2. For Pregnant Women: Benzonatate is a C-category drug, meaning two things:

  • Not enough research has been done on humans. It’s not clearly specified how this drug might affect the fetus.
  • Research in animals has revealed negative effects on the fetus.

Consult your doctor if you’re planning to become pregnant or are already pregnant. This medicine should be consumed only if the possible benefit justifies the risk to the fetus.

3. Women who are breastfeeding: This drug may pass into your breast milk and may cause serious effects. The breastfed child will be at higher risk. Consult your doctor if you’re breastfeeding.

How to Take Benzonatate?

The drug form, your dosage, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • Your age
  • How your body reacts to the first dose.
  • How serious your condition is.
  • The condition being treated.
  • Other medical conditions you have.

Benzonatate Dosage to Relieve Coughing

  • Child dosage (ages 0 to 10 years). This drug hasn’t been studied and shouldn’t be used in children younger than 10.
  • Child dosage (ages 11 to 17 years). Take 100–200 mg three times daily as needed for your cough. The maximum dosage of this medicine is 600 mg per day.
  • Adult dosage (ages 18 and older). Take 100–200 mg three times daily as needed for your cough.

Note: We aim to make you aware of everything. However, it’s important to talk with your doctor before consuming any drug.

Things to Remember

Consider these points if your doctor prescribes a benzonatate oral capsule for you.

  • You can take this drug with or without food.
  • You should swallow this medicine whole. Don’t break, cut, crush, or chew this medicine.
  • Store this medicine at room temperature between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C). Keeping it close to 77°F (25°C) is important.
  • Keep this medication away from light.
  • Don’t store this drug in damp or moist areas like bathrooms.

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