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What Is Benzonatate?

Benzonatate is a non-narcotic cough medicine. Benzonatate works by numbing the throat and lungs, making the cough reflex less active. Benzonatate is used to relieve coughing due to colds or influenza (flu). It is not to be used for chronic cough that occurs with smoking, asthma, or emphysema or when there is an unusually large amount of mucus or phlegm with the cough. Benzonatate relieves cough by acting directly on the lungs and the breathing passages. It may also act on the cough center in the brain. This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription. Read on to find out more!


This medication is used to treat coughs caused by the common cold and other breathing problems (e.g., pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema, asthma). It works by reducing the reflex in the lungs that causes the urge to cough. Use of this medication is not recommended in children younger than 10 years.

Important Information

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to benzonatate or topical numbing medicines such as tetracaine or procaine. Never suck or chew on a benzonatate capsule. Swallow the pill whole. Sucking or chewing the capsule may cause your mouth and throat to feel numb or cause other serious side effects. Moreover, serious side effects of benzonatate include choking feeling, chest pain or numbness, feeling like you might pass out, confusion, or hallucinations. Some of these side effects may result from chewing or sucking on a capsule. Do not give this medication to a child younger than 10 years old without medical advice.


The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so. The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Furthermore, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

For oral dosage form (capsules):

  • Adults and children 10 years of age and older—100 milligrams (mg) three times a day. Do not take more than 200 mg at one time or more than 600 mg per day.
  • Children younger than 10 years of age—Use is not recommended.

Benzonatate Side Effects

Common Side Effects of Benzonatate

If you have any of these common side effects and they are not going away, call your doctor:

  • Sleepiness or drowsiness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rash
  • Some minor skin itching
  • Acid reflux or upset stomach
  • Stuffed nose

Serious Side Effects and Reactions

Call for emergency medical help right away if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Very tired or sedated
  • Dizziness
  • Shaking or tremors
  • A little confusion
  • Headache
  • Beginning to hallucinate

What other drugs will affect benzonatate?

Before taking benzonatate, tell your doctor if you regularly use other medicines that make you sleepy. They can add to drowsiness and other side effects of benzonatate. There may be other drugs that can interact with benzonatate. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use benzonatate only for the indication prescribed. Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information applies to your personal circumstances.