Hydrocodone, Chlorpheniramine, Phenylephrine

Drug Class: Hydrocodone, Chlorpheniramine, Phenylephrine > Hydrocodone > Semi Synthetic Opioid > Opioids > Opioid Agonist > Analgesic.


Physicians prescribe hydrocodone, chlorpheniramine and phenylephrine preparations to relieve symptoms associated with the common cold, allergies and upper respiratory infections caused by viruses or bacteria. Use this medication to soothe a dry cough and relieve sneezing, a runny nose and itchy, watery eyes. Learn More About Hydrocodone, Chlorpheniramine, Phenylephrine Uses


Hydrocodone, chlorpheniramine and phenylephrine combinations, known as polydrugs, are available in a liquid form to be taken by mouth.

Brand name preparations include Maxi-Tuss HCX and Relacon-HC. Other brand name preparations are available.

Hydrocodone, chlorpheniramine and phenylephrine are available in several strengths, containing 2.5 to 6 mg of hydrocodone, 2 to 3 mg of chlorpheniramine and 7.5 mg to 10 mg of phenylephrine in every 5 ml dose. The typical dose for adults and children over the age of 12 is one or two 5 ml doses every 4 to 6 hours, not to exceed 40 ml in a 24-hour period. Check with your pediatrician for information on dosing for children age six to eleven. This medication is not approved for use in children under the age of six.

Take this medication with or without food. Take hydrocodone, chlorpheniramine and phenylephrine with food it upset occurs.

Use an approved medicine dosing spoon or cup, available at any drug store, to administer medication. Do not use a household tablespoon, as ineffective dosing or dangerous overdosing may occur.

Your doctor may have suggested you take hydrocodone, chlorpheniramine and phenylephrine on a regular schedule to provide round-the-clock coverage for your symptoms. If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you think of it. If it is almost time to take another dose and you can tolerate the symptoms, skip the missed dose and resume your normal schedule. Never take extra medicine in an effort to catch up. Talk with the prescribing physician if you frequently forget to take your medicine or otherwise have trouble maintaining the dosing schedule.

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Hydrocodone, chlorpheniramine and phenylephrine is a combination drug, known as a polydrug, containing a cough suppressant, an antihistamine and a decongestant. The hydrocodone works directly on the part of the brain responsible for the cough reflex; hydrocodone suppresses a dry cough by making the brain unaware of the need to cough. Chlorpheniramine is an antihistamine that works by decreasing the level of histamines in your body. Histamines cause blood vessels to dilate and seep fluid into surrounding tissues, resulting in watery eyes or a runny nose. Phenylephrine is a decongestant that works by reducing the blood vessels inside the lining of nasal passages. Decongestants relieve stuffy noses and reduce sinus congestion so you can breathe easier. More About How Hydrocodone, Chlorpheniramine, Phenylephrine Works


Tell the prescribing physician hydrocodone, chlorpheniramine and phenylephrine if you are allergic to any active or inactive ingredient. Do not take this drug if you are allergic to other opioids, such as morphine or oxycodone. Go to the hospital or seek qualified medical assistance at first sign of an allergic reaction; a person's condition can deteriorate rapidly and without warning after exposure to a drug allergen. Common symptoms of a mild allergic reaction include hives, especially over the face and neck, nasal congestion, itching, rashes and watery, red eyes.

Anaphylaxis is a very grave, potentially fatal form of an allergic reaction that usually occurs within minutes of exposure to the drug. Without medical help, a person can die from anaphylaxis within 15 minutes of contact.

Symptoms of a moderate or severe reaction include:

  • Abdominal Cramps or Pain.
  • Chest Discomfort or Tightness.
  • Difficulty Breathing or Wheezing.
  • Difficulty Swallowing.
  • Feeling Dizzy.
  • Feeling Light-Headed.
  • Fear or Feeling of Apprehension or Anxiety.
  • Flushing or Redness of the Face.
  • Nausea, Vomiting or Diarrhea.
  • Palpitations.
  • Swelling of the Face, Eyes or Tongue.
  • Weakness.
  • Unconsciousness.

You may not be able to take hydrocodone, chlorpheniramine and phenylephrine if you have a history of or are currently diagnosed with a certain medical problems. This medication may worsen these disorders or interfere with treatment. Conversely, your illness may change the way hydrocodone, chlorpheniramine and phenylephrine works in your body.

Tell your physician about any significant illnesses or conditions, including:

  • Adrenal Gland Disorders.
  • Asthma, COPD, Sleep Apnea, or Other Breathing Disorder.
  • Brain Tumor.
  • Curvature of the Spine.
  • Diabetes.
  • Enlarged Prostate.
  • Gallbladder Disease.
  • Glaucoma.
  • Heart Disease.
  • High Blood Pressure.
  • History of Drug or Alcohol Addiction.
  • History of Head Injury.
  • Kidney Disease.
  • Liver Disease.
  • Low Blood Pressure.
  • Mental Illness.
  • Seizure Disorder.
  • Thyroid Disorder.
  • Urination Problems.

Hydrocodone, chlorpheniramine and phenylephrine make some people feel dizzy or drowsy, or impair their ability to make quick decisions. Avoid driving a car or operating large machinery until you know how this medication affects you. Alcohol and some other medications enhance this effect, including other cold and allergy medication, muscle relaxants, sedatives, sleep aides and anti-depressants.

Hydrocodone is habit-forming.

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Medical research has not yet established whether taking hydrocodone, chlorpheniramine and phenylephrine during pregnancy can harm an unborn baby. Tell the prescribing physician if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while taking this medication. Hydrocodone passes into breast milk; do not use this medication while breastfeeding.

Do not stop taking hydrocodone, chlorpheniramine and phenylephrine abruptly unless directed to do so by a physician. Sudden cessation may cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, especially if you take high doses or have used this medication for a long time. Wean yourself from this drug by taking successively smaller doses further apart. Talk with your doctor if you cannot taper off drug use; you may have developed a dependence to this drug and need rehabilitative care. More Warnings About Using Hydrocodone, Chlorpheniramine, Phenylephrine

Drug Interactions

Hydrocodone, chlorpheniramine and phenylephrine may interact with other drugs in dangerous or adverse ways. It is important that your doctor and druggist are aware of all your medications, including prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and herbal remedies.

Do not take hydrocodone, brompheniramine and guaifenesin preparations if you have taken an MAO inhibitor within 14 days. Taking this medication while MAO inhibitors are still in your system may result in a dangerous drug interaction or even death. Furazolidone, sodium oxybate and some antidepressants may increase side effects associated hydrocodone, chlorpheniramine and phenylephrine polydrugs. Hydrocodone, brompheniramine and guaifenesin increase the side effects associated with hydratoins, especially phenytoin.

Give the prescribing physician and pharmacist filling your prescription a list of all drugs, including:

  • Antidepressants.
  • Aspirin or Salicylates.
  • Beta-Blockers.
  • Bladder or Urinary Medications.
  • Blood Pressure Medication.
  • Cimetidine (Tagamet).
  • Diuretic.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome Medications.
  • Medicines to Treat Psychiatric Disorders.
  • Rifampin (Rifadin, Rifater, Rifamate, Rimactane).
  • Seizure.
  • Zidovudine (Retrovir, Azt).

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Side effects

Patients have reported some common side effects while using hydrocodone, chlorpheniramine and phenylephrine polydrugs. Most of these side effects are not serious and go away on their own. Contact the prescribing physician if your side effects become severe or do not go away.

Common side effects include:

  • Blurred Vision.
  • Constipation.
  • Dizziness or Drowsiness.
  • Dry Mouth.
  • Insomnia.
  • Itching.
  • Nausea, Vomiting, Upset Stomach.
  • Problems with Memory or Concentration.
  • Ringing in your Ears.
  • Skin Rash.
  • Warmth, Tingling, or Redness under the Skin.

Some side effects are serious and can even be life-threatening. Stop using hydrocodone, chlorpheniramine and phenylephrine and contact your doctor immediately if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • Severe Dizziness.
  • Anxiety, Restless Feeling or Nervousness.
  • Fast, Slow, Pounding or Uneven Heartbeats.
  • Shallow Breathing.
  • Confusion, Hallucinations, Unusual Thoughts or Behavior.
  • Feeling Like You Might Pass Out.
  • Urinating Less Than Usual or Not At All.
  • Easy Bruising or Bleeding.
  • Unusual Weakness.
  • Fever, Chills, Body Aches, Flu Symptoms.
  • Dangerously High Blood Pressure.
  • Upper Abdominal Pain.
  • Severe Itching.
  • Loss of Appetite.
  • Dark Urine.
  • Clay-Colored Stools.
  • Jaundice.

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Prescription drug overdose has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC. Overdose deaths have tripled since 1991 and most of these deaths are now from prescription drugs rather from illicit ones. In 2008, there were 14,800 overdose deaths from prescription drugs, more than from heroin and cocaine combined. This climb in overdose death rates parallels the increased sales of opioid pain killers, up 300 percent since 1991. If you fear you or someone you know has taken a drug overdose, contact poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 or go to the emergency room. Emergency department staff will perform a variety of life-saving measures, including pumping the drug out of the stomach, administrating medicines to reduce the amount of hydrocodone in your body and IV fluids to restore fluid balance. Specially-trained staff will administer CPR as necessary. Overdose symptoms include:

  • Abdominal Pain.
  • Breathing That Stops.
  • Cold, Clammy Skin.
  • Confusion.
  • Extreme Drowsiness.
  • Fainting.
  • Feeling Restless or Nervous.
  • Pinpoint Pupils.
  • Seizure.
  • Shallow Breathing.
  • Vomiting.
  • Warmth or Tingly Feeling.
  • Weak Pulse.

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To abuse drugs means to take them in a way not intended by the manufacturer or prescribing physician. You abuse drugs when you take them to get high, take a higher dose than prescribed or use them longer than recommended. Abusing drugs regularly leads to physical and mental dependence. Hydrocodone is the most-widely prescribed opioid on the market today and the second most-widely diverted prescription drug. Diversion means to use a licit drug for illicit purposes. Abusers divert drugs by visiting multiple doctors under assumed names, calling in or presenting fake prescriptions to pharmacies or by stealing the drugs from those for whom they were prescribed.

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Withdrawal symptoms are a normal physiological outcome after taking high doses of opioids or using hydrocodone for a long period of time. Withdrawal symptoms are not necessarily an indicator of criminal drug abuse - you can experience withdrawal symptoms even if you take opioids exactly as they are prescribed to you by your doctor. Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Fever, Runny Nose or Sneezing.
  • Goose Bumps and Abnormal Skin Sensations.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Nausea and Vomiting.
  • Pain.
  • Rapid Heartbeat.
  • Rigid Muscles.
  • Shivering.
  • Sweating.
  • Tremors.
  • Trouble Sleeping.


Detoxification is an important component of successful drug rehabilitation. During detoxification, you receive medications to ease withdrawal symptoms and to detoxify your body from the effects of opioids such as those found in hydrocodone, chlorpheniramine and phenylephrine polydrugs. This stage in detoxification, especially the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, could last for several days or even weeks. After detoxification, you may choose to participate in programs such as counseling to address any issues that may have contributed to or been a result of dependence on drugs. Rapid detox is a cutting-edge treatment that offers new hope for those who cannot quit drugs because of the severity of persistent withdrawal symptoms. During rapid detox, specially-trained physicians administer the standard detoxification and anti-withdrawal drugs along with anesthesia and sedatives so that patients sleep through the most devastating periods of rehabilitation. When the patient awakens, he will have no memory of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms and can proceed directly to rehabilitation. Learn More About Hydrocodone, Chlorpheniramine, Phenylephrine Detoxification Programs


Keep this medication at room temperature between 59 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit, away from excessive heat and humidity. Put this medicine and all drugs out of the reach of children and pets. Do not allow adults to purposefully or mistakenly take this product. Keep track of the amount of medicine in the bottle so you know if someone has been taking your medicine. Hydrocodone is a favorite among drug abusers and is frequently diverted from its intended use as a prescription medicine to use as a recreational drug.

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