Tussionex is the brand name for the combination of chlorpheniramine and hydrocodone, used to treat runny or stuffy nose, sneezing and cough due to cold or flu. Chlorpheniramine is an antihistamine that reduces the natural chemical histamine produced by the body. Histamine can cause itching, sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes. Hydrocodone is a narcotic cough suppressant which can be habit-forming, leading to dependence and addiction. Hydrocodone, a semi-synthetic opioid, relieves pain by binding to the opioid receptor sites in the brain and spinal cord. Because hydrocodone can be habit forming, it can lead to both physical and psychological dependence. The normal dose for adults and children over 12 is 5 mL, or 1 teaspoonful every 12 hours. For children between the ages of 6 and 11, the normal dose is 2.5 mL, or ½ teaspoonful every 12 hours. Tussionex should not be used in children younger than 6.
Guidelines for Taking Tussionex
Tussionex should be taken exactly as prescribed by a doctor. Taking it in larger amounts or for a longer period of time can result in a life-threatening overdose or addiction. The liquid medication should be carefully measured with a marked measuring device, not a household spoon. Because hydrocodone can be habit-forming, Tussionex should be used only by the person it is prescribed for. The FDA recommends keeping Tussionex in a secure place where others cannot get at it.
Possible Side Effects and Allergic Reaction
Side effects associated with Tussionex include drowsiness, dizziness, anxiety, mood changes, trouble concentrating, blurred vision, constipation, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, sweating, loss of appetite, itching or rash. Allergic reaction to Tussionex can be serious and includes these possible symptoms: hives, difficult breathing or swelling of the lips, tongue, face or throat. Patients are advised to seek medical help immediately if they experience any of the more serious side effects including chest tightness, weak or shallow breathing, confusion, hallucinations, unusual behavior or problems with urination.
Tussionex Overdose and Warnings
An overdose of Tussionex can be fatal, especially in children. Taking too much of the prescription medication can cause serious problems including cold and clammy skin, flushing, dry mouth, large pupils, nausea, vomiting, seizures, shallow breathing, severe dizziness or drowsiness, slowed heart rate, lightheadedness, blue colored skin or fainting. Taking alcohol with Tussionex can cause dizziness and drowsiness and should be avoided. The drug’s labeling information warns that users should take extra care when performing tasks that require alertness because some of the side effects can impair thinking and reaction time. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an alert in regard to the safe use of Tussionex. The agency said it received reports of “life-threatening adverse events and deaths in patients, including children.” The reports indicated that some health care providers were prescribing the drug to patients younger than 6.