Benzonatate has the approval of the food and drug administration (FDA) for the treatment of coughing spells. However, this drug can be unsafe if taken without needful guidance from a qualified clinical practitioner. For instance, it can be harmful if administered onto children – especially, those aged below 11 years. Similarly, elderly patients may need stay cautious of the dosages. Coming in direct contact with the active ingredients of the drug can lead to numbness and loss of sensation. This federal drug-approving agency cleared it for commercial use way back in the 50s. Today, this drug ranks in the top 150 prescription meds that are commonly used in US every year. Can it be used for treating colds or influenza (flu)? It is essential to know more on this.

Foremost of all, it is essential to consume this med under the supervision of your treating doctor or an experienced pharmacist. The safe dosage of this drug hovers between 100 mg to 150 mg within a 24-hour timeline. This drug is taken orally and is always swallowed as a whole. Your treating physician may prescribe intake of 100 mg each three times every day. Maximum safe dosage within 24-hours must never breach the 600 mg level. It is widely regarded as safe to keep each dosage at 100 mg all through the treatment plan.

In case of pills, it is relatively easy to cut the pill and swallow a portion. But, in case of capsules, it is extremely unsafe to cut the capsule. This is because – if the liquid (inside each capsule) comes in touch with your oral parts, you may soon witness numbing effects in your oropharynx region. It is very important not to cut the capsules or divide them into portions. Likewise, opening a capsule or crushing a pill is unsafe. People who took such powdered form witnessed an arrest or collapse of their respiratory function.

Can it treat common colds or flu?

This cough suppressant med is labelled under a genre of drugs known as antitussive meds. This drug works by developing numbness in the air pathways. Once the nerve endings present in your airways are numbed, it can soon lead to reduced spell of coughs as well as irritation in the lungs. Benzonatate is unique because it falls under a genre of non-narcotic antitussive or cough suppressing meds. This is a major advantage as most drugs which can reduce coughing spells may have narcotic ingredients added to them.

This drug has anesthetic capabilities as its chemical structure resembles commonly administered anesthetic drugs like tetracaine, etc. This numbing strength of the drug is put to good use to reduce excitements of the vagus (a nerve in your oropharynx area). The nerves sensors or fibers can be spotted on the walls of your lungs as well on your air passages. Once these nerve fibers remain calm (or non-excited), the need to cough up comes down sizeably. As mentioned, its chemical setting mirrors anesthetic drugs and this is why you get a numbing effect when you chew or such this drug. This drug is not abused but there had been several instances of an overdose. These instances arise because of user-level enthusiasm to take more dosages and bring about a faster relief.

This drug decreases the reflexes to produce a cough. It is not a cold medicine. Hence, it is not used for treating runny nose or infections which may have caused a cold. This drug is a cough suppressant. When compared with other cough reducing drugs, this med is more efficient in decreasing your coughing reflexes. As one of its extended uses, this drug is used for managing non-stop spells of hiccups. This extended use also helps with intubation without deep-level sedation. Thanks to the numbing effect in the oropharynx region, intubation procedures can be done with relative ease – in fact, while you are wide awake. However, in such cases, you also need to know that you are not very far from a fatal outcome such as choking your respiratory pathways; this can bring about a quick arrest of blood circulation. In such extended uses, it is always important to have them done with an anesthetic specialist or a qualified / experienced physician.

What are the limitations of benzonatate?

You need to remember that benzonatate does pose a few limitations. Trials done on the drug reveal limited treatment capabilities in managing coughs wherein there is a sizeable presence of sputum as well as phelgm. Also, this drug must never be taken as a self-medication drug. Hence, it is seldom sold or made available as an over the counter (OTC) medication.

The active ingredients of this drug are more readily absorbed into your gastric tract or gastrointestinal pathways. Hence, it may not take a very long time for it to showcase its therapeutic capabilities. Getting absorbed onto your gastric system makes it easy to get into your circulatory system. Such ready absorption may also trigger likely risks of overdose; people who took larger doses (i.e., more than 600 mg per day) witnessed cardiovascular ailments as well as a few neurological conditions.

At no instance can be capsule be broken or the dosages divided. It is fine to break a pill of benzonatate but the capsule must never be opened or broken. Coming in direct touch with the liquid in capsules have led to dangerous outcomes like convulsions, epileptic fits, involuntary twitching of muscles as well as seizures. These are often a precursor to slipping into a stage of coma. There are also instances wherein people who slipped into coma suffered serious conditions like cerebral edema or heart failure. In order to encounter such risks, and as an overarching safety precaution, it is highly recommended to consume this medication under the supervision of a qualified physician and / or a pharmacist.

Likelihood of adverse side effects associated with the intake of benzonatate

Many users who consumed benzonatate very rarely witnessed major discomforts in the form of acute side effects or allergic reactions. In some uncommon instances, some people complained of headaches, upset of stomach or abdominal problems like nausea, constipation, etc., episodes of drowsiness, etc. In all such instances, you are advised to talk to your caregiving team without any delay. Always remember that this drug is never taken for a longer duration; instead, it is prescribed only over very short span of time. Also, most people who took this drug never witnessed allergies or hypersensitivity. In one-off cases, a small minority of users noticed allergies such as respiratory problems – including gasping or wheezing. In extremely one-off instances, a small number of people passed out and a smaller share of users experienced inflammation of oral organs or facial parts.

In sum, benzonatate is not a medicine taken for treating colds. Instead, this drug is a cough suppressing med. As an extended use, it is also used for managing persistent episodes of hiccups. In general, it is always recommended to take this drug under the guidance of a qualified as well as experienced doctor. If you are witnessing any negative effects such as respiratory problems or skin conditions, you are advised to talk to your doctor as soon as you possibly can.

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