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Centussin DHC (Generic Phenylephrine)

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Why is this medication prescribed?

Centussin DHC, a combination medication containing Brompheniramine, Dihydrocodeine, and Phenylephrine, is typically prescribed for the temporary relief of symptoms associated with upper respiratory tract infections, including cough, nasal congestion, and sinus pressure.

  • Brompheniramine: This is an antihistamine that helps relieve symptoms such as sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and runny nose caused by allergies or the common cold.
  • Dihydrocodeine: This is an opioid cough suppressant that works in the brain to help decrease the urge to cough.
  • Phenylephrine: This is a decongestant that works by shrinking the blood vessels in the nasal passages, reducing congestion and swelling.

How should this medicine be used?

Here are some general guidelines for using Centussin DHC:

  • Read the Label: Carefully read the instructions provided on the medication label or the patient information leaflet. This will give you specific guidance on dosing, frequency, and any precautions or warnings associated with the medication.
  • Dosage: Take the medication exactly as directed. Dosage may vary depending on age, weight, and the severity of symptoms. Do not exceed the recommended dosage unless instructed by a healthcare provider.
  • Timing: Take Centussin DHC at regular intervals as prescribed. Some formulations may need to be taken with food or water to minimize stomach upset.
  • Do Not Crush or Chew: Swallow the tablets or capsules whole with a full glass of water unless otherwise directed. Do not crush or chew extended-release formulations, as this can release too much medication at once and increase the risk of side effects.
  • Avoid Alcohol: Avoid consuming alcohol while taking Centussin DHC, as it can increase the risk of side effects such as drowsiness or dizziness.
  • Monitor Side Effects: Be aware of potential side effects, which may include drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, or allergic reactions. If you experience severe or concerning side effects, seek medical attention promptly.
  • Duration of Use: Use Centussin DHC only for the prescribed duration. Do not continue taking it longer than recommended unless instructed by a healthcare provider.
  • Storage: Store Centussin DHC according to the instructions provided on the packaging. Keep it out of reach of children and away from heat, moisture, and direct sunlight.
  • Consultation: If you have any questions or concerns about using Centussin DHC, consult with your healthcare provider or pharmacist for guidance.

Remember, this information is general guidance and should not replace personalized medical advice from a healthcare professional. Always follow the instructions provided by your doctor or pharmacist for safe and effective use of Centussin DHC.

Other uses for this medicine

Sometimes, doctors might prescribe Centussin DHC for uses not specifically listed in the medication guide. This might include managing symptoms of severe allergies or other conditions that involve significant coughing and runny nose, although this is less common and should only be done under medical supervision.

What special precautions should I follow?

When taking Centussin DHC, there are several special precautions to keep in mind:

  • Allergies: Inform your doctor if you have any allergies to any of the ingredients in Centussin DHC or any other medications.
  • Medical Conditions: Notify your healthcare provider if you have any pre-existing medical conditions, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), high blood pressure, heart disease, liver or kidney disease, thyroid problems, urinary retention, or a history of drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Centussin DHC should be used with caution during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester, and should be avoided during breastfeeding unless specifically directed by your doctor.
  • Children and Elderly: Use caution when giving Centussin DHC to children or elderly individuals, as they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Driving and Operating Machinery: Centussin DHC may cause dizziness, drowsiness, or blurred vision, so avoid driving or operating heavy machinery until you know how it affects you.
  • Interactions: Be cautious about potential interactions with other medications, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting or stopping any medication.

Following these precautions and guidelines will help ensure the safe and effective use of Centussin DHC. Always consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns about its use.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

There are generally no specific dietary restrictions associated with taking Centussin DHC. However, maintaining a balanced diet and staying hydrated can help support your overall health and recovery from respiratory symptoms.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you miss a dose of Centussin DHC, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it’s almost time for your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not double up on doses to make up for a missed one. Taking too much of this medication can lead to serious side effects or overdose. If you have any concerns about missed doses or dosing schedules, consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist for guidance.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Centussin DHC is a prescription medication that combines a cough suppressant (hydrocodone) with an antihistamine (chlorpheniramine). This combination can cause several side effects, ranging from common to serious.

Common Side Effects:

  • Drowsiness or dizziness: Both hydrocodone and chlorpheniramine can cause sedation.
  • Constipation: Hydrocodone often leads to constipation.
  • Nausea or vomiting: These gastrointestinal issues can occur with hydrocodone.
  • Dry mouth, nose, or throat: Chlorpheniramine can cause dryness in mucous membranes.
  • Blurred vision: Antihistamines can affect vision.

Serious Side Effects:

  • Respiratory depression: Hydrocodone can slow breathing, which can be dangerous.
  • Severe drowsiness or difficulty staying awake: Excessive sedation can be hazardous.
  • Confusion or hallucinations: These can be caused by hydrocodone, particularly in higher doses.
  • Severe allergic reactions: Signs include rash, itching, swelling (especially of the face, tongue, or throat), severe dizziness, or trouble breathing.
  • Urinary retention: Difficulty urinating can occur due to the antihistamine component.
  • Low blood pressure: This can cause dizziness or fainting.

Rare but Serious Side Effects

  • Addiction, abuse, or misuse: Hydrocodone is an opioid, which carries a risk of dependence.
  • Seizures: These can occur in some individuals.

If you or someone else experiences severe side effects or signs of an allergic reaction, it’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately. Always follow the prescribed dosage and consult a healthcare provider for any concerns or unusual symptoms.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Storage and Disposal for Centussin DHC:


  • Temperature: Store at room temperature, away from moisture and heat. The ideal temperature range is typically 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F).
  • Light: Keep the medication in its original container to protect it from light.
  • Children and Pets: Store it out of reach of children and pets.
  • Container: Ensure the container is tightly closed to maintain the integrity of the medication.


  • Unused Medication: Do not flush unused Centussin DHC down the toilet or pour it into a drain unless instructed to do so.
  • Take-Back Programs: Utilize medication take-back programs or follow specific disposal instructions from your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
  • Household Trash: If no take-back program is available, mix the medication with an unappealing substance (e.g., cat litter, coffee grounds) and place it in a sealed plastic bag before disposing of it in the household trash.

In case of emergency/overdose

  • In case of an overdose or emergency, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 or seek immediate medical attention.
  • Overdose symptoms may include extreme drowsiness, confusion, agitation, hallucinations, shallow breathing, fast heartbeat, or fainting.

What other information should I know?

  • Drug Interactions: Be aware of potential interactions with other medications, especially other CNS depressants, alcohol, and certain antidepressants.
  • Side Effects: Common side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and dry mouth. Report any severe or unusual side effects to your doctor.
  • Dosage: Follow the prescribed dosage exactly. Do not increase the dose or frequency without consulting your doctor.
  • Alcohol and Other Substances: Avoid alcohol and other CNS depressants while taking Centussin DHC as they can enhance drowsiness and respiratory depression.
  • Operating Machinery: Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how Centussin DHC affects you due to its potential to cause drowsiness and impair cognitive and motor functions.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Inform your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding. Centussin DHC may not be safe for use in these conditions.
  • Medical Conditions: Disclose any medical history of respiratory issues, liver or kidney disease, or a history of substance abuse to your healthcare provider.

Always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and the guidelines provided with the medication for safe and effective use.

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