Benzonatate is a safe drug if administered onto adults. On the other hand, it is regarded unsafe for children aged 11 years or below to take this drug. US-based, federal drug approving authority – food and drug administration (FDA) has offered its clearance to use it mainly for suppressing coughs. This approval came prior to 1960. Safe dosages of this drug hover in the range of 500 to 600 mg per day. Your doctor will prescribe a sub-division of such daily dosages into three or four smaller doses. The drug has proven strengths to minimize coughing spells. But, can it be used for the treatment of allergies? It becomes essential to understand the extended uses of this drug prior to taking it.

Coughing occurs as a result of a few respiratory problems – such as bronchial asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorders (COPD), infectious conditions in your respiratory tract such as pneumonia, etc. It is also possible to experience coughs due to ailments like common cold or blockages in your nasal tract. You need to know that coughing is a defense mechanism of your body to get rid of microbial particles or other foreign bodies that may have entered your airways. Though it is a defensive action, repeated coughing or persistent spells of it may make you tired. You may witness acute levels of weariness when your coughs are unproductive as well as dry.

Cough suppressant medications such as benzonatate mainly work to decrease the urges to cough. It needs to be taken with adequate guidance of your medical team. This drug is taken either after or before a meal and is generally taken through the oral route; the standard dosage is often pegged at 600 mg – taken thrice within a 24-hour timeline. Each dosage is restricted to not more than 200 mg (i.e., if it is taken thrice a day) or is limited to 150 mg per dose if administered onto younger adults or older people. At no instance can this drug be administered to children who are 11 years of age or those aged below this age-threshold.

Can you use benzonatate for the treatment of allergies?

Foremost of all, this medication belongs to a genre of meds called antitussive drugs. The key function of this drug is to reduce coughs. How does it reduce coughing spells? Benzonatate numbs the nerve-level receptors as well as sensors present in and around your airways. Despite the numbing effects it produces, it does not have active narcotic elements in it. This key fact makes it a very rare addition to the list of cough suppressant meds.

This medication has a chemical structure which looks a lot like a few effective anesthetic agents / drugs – especially, meds such as procaine as well as tetracaine. But, can you use benzonatate for treating allergies? Though the drug is used – in some cases for treating hiccups, it is not regularly used for the treatment of allergies. In some cases, if you are down with discomforts associated with allergies – especially during night times, this drug may be used to put you to sleep. Since drowsiness as well as dizziness is a relatively common side effect of benzonatate, these effects can be put to effective use to make you to sleep.

Safe usage of benzonatate for treating allergies

Benzonatate may be helpful because of its numbing effects as well as other effects such as dizziness. But, you may need to know that there a few other side effects this drug is capable of triggering. These include headaches or migraines, abdominal conditions such as difficulties to pass stool – i.e., constipation, nausea, etc. The good thing about this drug is – while being used for treating allergies, the effects of this drug may go away in a matter of 4 to 5 hours. Its relatively short half-life periods coupled with the sleepiness it can induce are the key reasons for using it in the treatment of milder forms of allergies.

However, prior to using benzonatate for allergies, it is essential to consult your treating doctor or pharmacist about such uses. Using it for unlisted or off-label applications may not lead to instances of substance abuse or misuse. However, you may develop some tolerances upon using this drug for a longer term, for problems triggered by allergens or an onset of allergies. Over a period of time, such off-label uses or extended uses may make the active ingredients to lose their capabilities.

Always remember that this drug is not to be taken over a longer term while being used for allergies. The treatment plan is pursued only for the shortest possible time. In some cases – especially, among elderly people as well as younger adults (i.e., those aged above 11 years but are below 18 years), the dosages are taken for not more than 2 days. Also, the safest dosage level within 24-hours must never be more than 600 mg. Dosages taken above this safety limit may impair your breathing cycles as well as numb the organs of your oropharynx system. Above all, daily dosages are always split into three (3) or four (4) smaller doses, with each such dose maintained at 150 mg (if taken 4 times) or at 200 mg (if you are taking it thrice each day). Always ensure to distribute these doses evenly; well spaced-out doses are unlikely to trigger risks of an overdose.

Likely risks of benzonatate and side effects associated with excessive doses

If you happen to miss a dose of benzonatate never compensate it with a double dose. Some users may take dual doses to make up for dosage they forgot to take. These practices are laden with many risks; often, very distinctive signs of an overdose include twitching of nerves or muscles, shaking or involuntary movements, convulsions, fits as well as epileptic seizures. In some one-off instances of a likely overdose, a small percentage of users have witnessed breathing difficulties such as wheezing, shallow breathing, gasping as well as a feeling of being choked.

In some very remote instances, a minority of users experienced tightness in the chest region, irritation in the eyes, mental conditions such as depression, weird dreams or thoughts, being in a depressed state of mind, etc. Though these are extremely one-off instances, it is highly recommended to seek clinical attention – preferably, in a healthcare setting like a hospital or a clinic. Also, in some very stray circumstances, a few users experienced severe allergic reactions like skin allergies, swelling of oral parts like throat, tongue or lips; it is also likely to trigger respiratory problems, fainting, severe levels of drowsiness, etc.

You are advised to note down all the discomforts that you are experiencing – if any, and care to report to your treating doctor as well as your pharmacist about these discomforts. If you develop one or more of the abovementioned acute side effects, you need to call 911 if you are a resident of the US. You can also reach out to emergency helpline coordinates of the US-based food and drug administration for needful clinical support. Those who are residents of any of the Canadian provinces must reach out to Health Canada or rush to poison control center operating in the province of your residence. Above all, it is helpful to know that your treating physician has prescribed benzonatate as this drug’s benefits clearly outweigh risks of discomforts, allergic effects and adverse side effects listed here. It is a good practice to consult your medical team if you need any additional guidance and inputs about the use of benzonatate for allergies.

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