Tussionex Side Effects

Physicians prescribe Tussionex to treat a patient's runny nose, cough and itchy, watery eyes associated with the common cold.

Tussionex contains a small amount of hydrocodone, a powerful opioid pain reliever. Pharmacologists extract opioids from the poppy plant. Hydrocodone provides relief from pain in a similar way as morphine.

Hydrocodone is the most widely prescribed medication in the United States; in 2010, pharmacists filled more than 139 million prescriptions for hydrocodone products. Tussionex is just one of more than 200 products containing hydrocodone.

Hydrocodone is available only in combination with other products and only by prescription. Tussionex contains an antihistamine, chlorpheniramine, which is not associated with abuse or addiction.

Officials associated hydrocodone with more abuse than any other drug. The DEA classifies substances according to their potential for abuse, and categorizes hydrocodone as a Schedule II narcotic. This means the hydrocodone in Tussionex poses a relatively high risk for abuse.

The DEA classifies Tussionex as a Schedule III narcotic, meaning it carries a lower risk for abuse, because one dose of Tussionex contains less than 15 mg of hydrocodone.

Side Effect Information

All medications, including Tussionex, may cause side effects in some people. Not all people experience these side effects and most people experience only minor adverse reactions. Many people experience no side effects or only minor side effects after using Tussionex. Most side effects are not serious and disappear after a few days of normal use at prescribed doses. Some adverse reactions are serious and require the immediate attention of a medical professional.

Physical dependence means the individual's body depends on having a certain level of Tussionex for his system to feel "normal." An opioid-dependent person will suffer withdrawal symptoms after he stops taking opioids.

Opioid withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Abdominal Cramps
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Blurred Vision
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Sweating
  • Tremor
  • Vomiting

The side effects associated with Tussionex are similar to those adverse reactions associated with all opioid drugs. Most non-serious adverse reactions decrease in severity or disappear altogether after continued use at proper doses. Adverse reactions to this drug are similar to side effects associated with most opioids.

The most serious side effect associated with opioids such as Tussionex is respiratory problems that may cause you to have stopped breathing, circulatory depression, dangerously low blood pressure and shock. Physicians should expect side effects in all consumers and treat patients accordingly.

Respiratory depression is a serious medical condition associated with opioid use. Respiratory depression is a serious breathing problem that is sometimes lethal. Respiratory depression causes your lungs to exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide and other toxins poorly so that these toxins build up in your system. If you are suffering respiratory depression, you will experience slow or shallow breathing, unusual breathing patterns, gasping or wheezing, and a bluish tint around the eyes, mouth and fingertips.

Allergic Reaction

Anyone can suffer an allergic reaction to Tussionex or any other medication. Seek help immediately if you suffer any symptoms of an allergic reaction after consuming Tussionex - an allergic reaction is a serious medical condition that could result in death. Bring the Tussionex bottle along with the rest of your medications to help physicians determine the exact cause of the reaction.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction include:

  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Rash
  • Swelling of Your Mouth, Face, Lips or Tongue
  • Tightness in Your Chest


Anaphylaxis is a serious type of allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis usually starts within moments of exposure to Tussionex or other allergen, but the symptoms of anaphylaxis may start as late as a half an hour or longer after exposure. Seek help immediately if you think you or someone you know is suffering an anaphylactic reaction. Drive directly to a hospital or fire station, or call for an ambulance, whichever is fastest.

The symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction include hives, itching, flushed or pale skin. You might feel a warm sensation during an episode of anaphylaxis. It might also seem like your throat is closing, that you have a lump in your throat, or your tongue is swelling up. These sensations may lead to breathing trouble and wheezing. Your pulse may grow weak and rapid; you might become nauseated or even vomit. Some people experiencing an anaphylactic reaction become dizzy or faint. Others may express a feeling of impending doom.


Some people are hypersensitive to Tussionex's effects. You may be hypersensitive to Tussionex if you experience allergic dermatitis, skin rash, hives, itching and swelling of the face after taking this medication.

Non-Serious Side Effects

These most commonly reported side effects associated with Tussionex typically become less severe or stop altogether with continued use at proper doses.
Continue taking this drug but notify the physician who prescribed it if the following side effects become intolerabe or if they do not go away on their own:

  • Anxiety
  • Blurred Vision
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry Mouth
  • Dry Throat
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Mild Itching
  • Mild Skin Rash
  • Mood Changes
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Trouble Concentrating
  • Vomiting

Serious Side Effects

Tussionex may cause serious adverse reactions that require immediate medical attention. Contact a physician if you experience any of the following side effects after taking Tussionex:

  • Chest Tightness
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Painful Urination
  • Unusual Behavior
  • Urinating Less Than Usual or Not Urinating at All
  • Weak or Shallow Breathing

By body system

Nervous system

The hydrocodone in Tussionex works directly on your brain and nervous system to reduce cough and relieve pain. As a result, nervous system side effects are common among Tussionex consumers. Tussionex may make you feel sleepy, drowsy or lethargic. Tussionex may cause dizziness. Some Tussionex consumers report mental clouding or impairment of mental performance.

Some Tussionex side effects may affect you emotionally, causing anxiety, fear, euphoria and its emotional opposite, dysphoria. Some patients report mood changes. As with other opioid medications, Tussionex use can result in dependence, a neurological disease.


Tussionex use is associated with side effects affecting the skin, including itching and rash.


Tussionex may cause gastrointestinal side effects including nausea, vomiting and constipation.


Using Tussionex may result in genitourinary side effects such as spasms in the urinary tract and urinary retention.


The hydrocodone in Tussionex works directly on the breathing center of the brain; opioids may cause the brain to "forget" about breathing. Commonly reported respiratory side effects associated with Tussionex have included respiratory depression, dryness of the pharynx and occasional tightness of the chest.

Fatal cases of respiratory depression have been reported, especially with the long-acting hydrocodone-containing cough product marketed as Tussionex Pennkinetic Extended-Release Suspension. These cases have been related to high doses.


Tussionex may impair your all-round physical performance.