Hydrocodone, Phenylephrine, Pyrilamine

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


Use hydrocodone, phenylephrine and pyrilamine to provide relief from a variety of symptoms associated with the common cold, allergies and upper respiratory infections caused by bacteria or viruses. Your doctor may prescribe this combination medication, known as a polydrug, to ease your coughing, sneezing, runny nose and itchy, watery eyes. You can use this medication at night to ensure a restful sleep or during the day so you can go to work or attend class without annoying symptoms.

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Hydrocodone, phenylephrine and pyrilamine polydrugs are sold in liquid form to be taken by mouth under the brand names Codimal DH and Poly Hist HC.

Children and patients over the age of 65 may be more sensitive to the effects of hydrocodone, phenylephrine and pyrilamine polydrugs. Physicians should prescribe smaller initial doses and observe patients in these age groups closely, especially during early stages of treatment.

Your doctor may suggest you take hydrocodone, phenylephrine and pyrilamine on a regular schedule to provide round-the-clock coverage for your symptoms or she may have recommended you only take this medication when you need relief from symptoms. If you are supposed to take this drug on a regular schedule and miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as possible. If it is almost time for you to take the medication and you can tolerate the symptoms, skip the missed dose and resume your prescribed schedule.

If your symptoms do not subside within five to seven days, or if they get worse, contact the prescribing physician.

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Hydrocodone, phenylephrine and pyrilamine is a cough suppressant, decongestant and antihistamine that work together to provide more adequate symptom relief than any single drug could provide alone. Hydrocodone works directly on your medulla, the part of the brain responsible for the cough reflex. In animal studies, the cough-suppressing action of codeine takes effect about 15 minutes after oral administration, reaching peak effectiveness 45 minutes to an hour after ingestion. Cough-suppression wears off after about three hours. Phenylephrine is a decongestant that makes it easier to breathe through your nose by shrinking the blood vessels inside the delicate lining of the nasal passages. Pyrilamine is an antihistamine that works by reducing the level of histamines in your body; histamines cause small blood vessels to dilate, allowing fluids to seep from blood vessels into surrounding tissues and cause symptoms such as watery eyes and runny nose. Histamines also indirectly stimulate the production of thick, sticky mucus. More About How Hydrocodone, Phenylephrine, Pyrilamine Works


Do not take this hydrocodone, phenylephrine and pyrilamine polydrugs if you are allergic to any active or inactive ingredient contained in the preparation. Read the labels of all medications to learn if they contain any known allergens. Do not take this medication if you know you are allergic to other narcotics, such as morphine or oxycodone. Seek immediate medical help at first onset of symptoms of an allergic reaction; a person's condition can deteriorate quickly and without warning. Anaphylaxis is a severe form of an allergic reaction that usually occurs within minutes of exposure. Without medical help, death from anaphylaxis can occur within 15 minutes of contact to the allergen. Common symptoms of a mild allergic reaction include hives, especially over the face and neck, nasal congestion, itching, rashes and watery, red eyes.

Symptoms of a moderate or severe reaction include:

  • Abdominal Pain or Stomach Cramps.
  • Chest Discomfort or Tightness.
  • Difficulty Breathing or Wheezing.
  • Difficulty Swallowing.
  • Dizziness or Light-Headedness.
  • 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.
  • Unconsciousness.
  • Weakness.

You may not be able to use hydrocodone, phenylephrine and pyrilamine preparations if you have a history of certain medical conditions. Do not use hydrocodone, phenylephrine and pyrilamine polydrugs if you have severe high blood pressure, severe heart blood vessel disease, rapid heartbeat or severe heart problems. Do not use this medication if you cannot urinate or are having an asthma attack. Do not take hydrocodone, phenylephrine and pyrilamine products if you have taken an MAO inhibitor or GHB in the previous 14 days. Taking this medication while an MAO inhibitor or GHB is still in your system can cause a serious, potentially fatal, drug interaction.

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

  • Adrenal Gland Problems.
  • Asthma, Chronic Cough, Chronic Bronchitis, Emphysema or COPD.
  • Blockage of the Stomach, Bladder or Intestines.
  • Bowel Problems.
  • Brain Tumor.
  • Diabetes.
  • Fast, Slow or Irregular Heartbeat.
  • Gallbladder Problems.
  • Glaucoma.
  • Head or Brain Injury.
  • Heart Blood Vessel Problems.
  • Heart Problems.
  • High Blood Pressure.
  • History of Stomach Problems.
  • Increased Pressure In The Brain.
  • Infection of the Brain.
  • Infection of the Nervous System, Epilepsy or Seizures.
  • Overactive Thyroid.
  • Prostate Problems.
  • Recent Abdominal Surgery.
  • Stroke.
  • Suicidal Thoughts or Behavior.
  • Trouble Urinating.
  • Ulcers.

Hydrocodone, phenylephrine and pyrilamine polydrugs can make you dizzy, drowsy or impair your ability to make quick decisions. Do not drive a car, operate heavy machinery or participate in risky behavior until you know how this medication affects you. Alcohol and some medications, such as sedatives, other cold or allergy medications, anti-depressants, muscle relaxants and anti-seizure drugs may enhance this effect.

Hydrocodone is habit-forming. To have a drug habit means to routinely consume a substance that is not medically necessary for your health or well-being. A drug habit can quickly lead to physical and mental dependence to a drug. Contact your healthcare provider or qualified drug rehabilitation center if you find yourself taking this medication habitually.

This medication may make you more prone to sunburn. Avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight, tanning booths or sunlamps. Wear protective clothing or sunscreen when you expect to be outside for any length of time.

Hydrocodone, phenylephrine and pyrilamine polydrugs may interfere with the results of skin allergen testing. Tell the ordering physician or allergist scheduling your appointment that you have been taking this medication. They may suggest you stop taking this drug for a few days before your appointment or rescheduling your appointment for after you have finished treatment.

Notify your dentist, secondary physician, specialist, emergency room doctor or surgeon that you have taken this medication before you undergo any procedure or test.

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Researchers are still working to establish the harm hydrocodone, phenylephrine and pyrilamine may cause to an unborn child. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant while taking this polydrug. Call your doctor if you become pregnant while on this medication. Hydrocodone passes into breast milk and onto a nursing infant; do not use this medication if you are nursing a baby.

Do not stop taking this medication abruptly unless directed to do so by a doctor. Sudden cessation may cause unwanted and unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal. To avoid flu-like withdrawal symptoms, taper off the size of dose and the frequency at which you take this medication.

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Drug Interactions

Beta-blockers, COMT inhibitors such as tolcapone, MAO inhibitors, GHB or tricyclic antidepressants may increase side effects associated with hydrocodone, phenylephrine and pyrilamine polydrugs. Taking cimetidine, digoxin and droxidopa with this drug increases the risk of severe drowsiness, breathing problems, irregular heartbeat, heart attack and seizures. Naltrexone may decrease efficacy of this product. Hydrocodone, phenylephrine and pyrilamine products increase the risk for side effects associated with bromocriptine or hydantoins, especially pheytoin. This medication may reduce the effectiveness of other medications, including guanadrel, guanethidine, mecamylamine, methyldopa and reserpine.

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Side effects

Patients have reported some common side effects while using hydrocodone, phenylephrine and pyrilamine polydrugs. Contact the prescribing physician if your common side effects become intolerable or don't go away on their own.

Common side effects include:

  • Constipation or Diarrhea.
  • Dizziness.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Excitability, Especially in Children.
  • Headache.
  • Feeling Nervous or Anxious.
  • Trouble Sleeping.
  • Loss of Appetite, Upset Stomach, Nausea or Vomiting.
  • Weakness.

Some side effects can be serious or even life-threatening. Discontinue this drug immediately and contact your doctor if you experience any serious side effect, including:

  • Changes in Vision.
  • Difficulty Urinating or Inability to Urinate.
  • Fast or Irregular Heartbeat.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Seizures.
  • Severe Allergic Reactions.
  • Severe Dizziness, Drowsiness, Lightheadedness or Headache.
  • Tremor.
  • Trouble Sleeping.

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Overdose is a serious, potentially fatal, medical emergency. If you suspect you or someone you know has taken an overdose of hydrocodone or any other drug, contact poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 or go directly to the emergency room. Overdose symptoms include:

  • Blurred Vision.
  • Confusion.
  • Fast, Slow or Irregular Heartbeat.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Seizures.
  • Severe Drowsiness, Dizziness, Lightheadedness or Headache.
  • Vomiting.

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Drug abuse means to use drugs for recreational purposes or outside the recommendations of the prescribing physicians. Hydrocodone is one of the most widely abused drugs on the street today because, in part, it is one of the most widely prescribed drugs on the market. Abusers can get hydrocodone by visiting multiple doctors under assumed names, filing bogus prescriptions with pharmacies by phone or in person, stealing it from friends, family members and strangers or by buying it on the street.

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Withdrawal from prescription drugs such as hydrocodone, phenylephrine and pyrilamine is a normal, predictable consequence of using high doses of opioids or using these drugs for a long period of time. Withdrawal is a physiological process, not a barometer of moral character or an absolute indication that a person has been using drugs illegally. In fact, many people suffer withdrawal symptoms after release from a hospital stay in which they used large doses of opioids to help them deal with pain resulting from a bad injury or acute illness. Unless a patient consciously connects the symptoms to her drug use, she may assume she caught the flu while in the hospital and suffer through the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms alone. If she associates symptoms relief with the drug, she may develop cravings and addictive behavior. Withdrawal symptoms include:

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


Drug detoxification and rehabilitation is a collective of therapies, each of which addresses a different facet of drug dependence. Drug detoxification, commonly known as detox, purges hydrocodone or other opioids from your body, reduces overpowering withdrawal symptoms, restores chemical balance and lessens the physiological effects of drug dependence. Rehabilitation programs often include counseling and other social services to help you deal with other factors that may have added to or been the result of your dependence on drugs. Withdrawal symptoms can be overpowering and the worst withdrawal symptoms can incapacitate even the strongest and most disciplined person for several days. Rapid detox programs are emerging that promise a safe, effective and humane alternative to standard detoxification. During rapid detox, doctors administer sedatives and anesthesia along with the standard detoxification and stabilization drugs so the patient sleeps through the procedure. When the patient awakens, they have no recollection of the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

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Store this medication at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit, away from heat, light and moisture. Do not keep this drug in the bathroom. Put this and all medications out of the reach of children and pets. Do not allow adults to take this drug on purpose or accidently. Do not share this medicine with others, even if their symptoms are similar to yours.

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