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Benzonatate: what is it for, dosage and side effects

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Benzonatate is an anesthetic drug that works whether applied locally or if it is ingested. The primary function of benzonatate is to generate a numbing effect on the cough and thus relieve it. It should be used with caution and only in cases indicated by a professional since its way of acting is by no means harmless. On the other hand, there are cases where it should not be used.

If you want to know the benzonatate: what it is for, the doses, and side effects, continue reading this article from FastlyHeal, which contains essential information if you are thinking about using this drug.

What is benzonatate for?

Benzonatate is a local anesthetic. It reduces the sensitivity of the area where it is applied locally and belongs to the same family as another more well-known anesthetic: procaine. It is essential to say that its most widespread use is as a cough suppressant since it triggers different reactions that block this reflex, including:

  • It acts on nerve receptors present in the respiratory system (action on the peripheral nervous system).
  • It inhibits the cough reflex directly in the spinal cord, where its production occurs (action on the central nervous system).

Benzonatate for cough

Benzonatate is used in different diseases in which it is desired to suppress the cough, but in no way does it cure the cause that produces the cough. It only covers the symptom.

The consumption of benzonatate can be counterproductive when the lungs need to be cleaned of harmful substances or when the mucus present in them must be eliminated, so if this reflex, as crucial as coughing, is blocked, it may be complicating the evolution of the picture.

Benzonatate, therefore, should not be used in cases of cough with secretions.

Other uses of benzonatate

It has also been considered valuable to avoid the use of narcotic cough suppressants such as codeine, which on the other hand, have less prolonged effects than benzonatate.

It is often used in chronic diseases such as:

As a local anesthetic, its use has also been reported to treat severe oral ulcers.

Similarly, it is used to treat hiccups that do not respond to initial therapy, that is, refractory cases of hiccups.

Dosis of benzonatate

After taking benzonatate, this drug takes effect within 20 minutes and can last up to 8 hours.

Oral benzonatate dose

The dose frequently indicated orally is:

  • In adults100 mg every 8 hours is recommended. The maximum dose is 600 mg per day, but it is not recommended.
  • In children: It is only recommended for use in people over 12 years of age, in which case the amount to be administered is the same as in adults.

The pearls should not be chewed to avoid numbness in the mouth and throat, which can occur if part of the medication dissolves in the mouth. Another possible reaction if you chew the pill is more severe reactions, such as:

  • Laryngeal spasm.
  • Broncoespasmo.
  • Cardiovascular failure

These reactions have been detected in allergic or more sensitive people.

Rectal benzonatate dose

There is also a rectal application route, which is supplied by suppositories. Rectal doses are:

  • In adults: 50 mg or 100 mg every 8 hours.
  • In children older than 12 years: 50 mg every 8 hours.

Direct application of benzonatate

To improve pain in cases of ulcerative lesions of the mouth, part of the content of the pearls can be used directly on lesions of the oral cavity. This effect can also be delayed for a few minutes and will last approximately the same duration as in the case of ingesting the drug, that is, about 8 hours.

It must be carried out with great care and indicated by a professional since the possible complications of this practice are latent. If the ulcers do not heal in 2 weeks, if their appearance worsens, or you have any questions, you should consult your trusted doctor.

It is essential to clarify that if a dose is forgotten, another can be taken as soon as possible. Still, if the following amount is approaching, it is preferable to avoid it since in no way should two doses be taken together. An overdose can result in a very severe condition.

Side effects of benzonatate

The most common adverse reactions to benzonatate are:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Numbness of the mouth and throat.
  • Gastrointestinal problems such as constipation, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Inflammation at the nasal level.
  • Skin rashes, itching.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Sedation.

If the dose were doubled, on the contrary, stimulation of the central nervous system could appear, causing:

  • Tremors
  • Irritability.
  • Seizures

If you suffer from these side effects, you must contact your doctor.

Contraindications of benzonatate

Benzonatate should not be used in any of the following cases:

  • Children under six years old.
  • Pregnant
  • Breastfeeding women.
  • Known allergy or hypersensitivity to this medication or similar (other anesthetics such as procaine or equivalent).
  • Neurological diseases in which inhibiting coughing could trigger aspirations of saliva, liquids, or food.
  • People are using nervous system depressant medication.
  • Alcohol consumption

This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Benzonatate: what it is for, dosage, and side effects, we recommend that you enter our category of Medication and medical tests.

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