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Acetaminophen and dextromethorphan

Pronunciation:  a seet a MIN oh fen and dex troe me THOR fan
Generic:  acetaminophen-dextromethorphan
Brand:  Drixoral Cough/Sore Throat, Tylenol Cough.

What is acetaminophen and dextromethorphan?

Acetaminophen is a pain reliever and fever reducer.

Dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant. It affects the signals in the brain that trigger cough reflex.

The combination of acetaminophen and dextromethorphan is used to treat cough and pain or fever caused by the common cold or flu.

Acetaminophen and dextromethorphan may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

How should I take acetaminophen and dextromethorphan?

Use this medication exactly as directed on the label, or as it has been prescribed by your doctor. Do not use the medication in larger amounts, or use it for longer than recommended. Cough medicine is usually taken only for a short time until your symptoms clear up.

An overdose of acetaminophen can cause serious harm. The maximum amount of acetaminophen for adults is 1 gram (1000 mg) per dose and 4 grams (4000 mg) per day. Taking more acetaminophen could cause damage to your liver. One dose of the oral liquid may contain up to 1000 mg of acetaminophen. Know the amount of acetaminophen in the specific product you are taking.

Always ask a doctor before giving a cough or cold medicine to a child. Death can occur from the misuse of cough and cold medicines in very young children.

Measure the liquid form of this medication with a special dose-measuring spoon or cup, not a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

Drink extra fluids while you are taking this medication.

Talk with your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 7 days of treatment, or if you have a fever with a headache, cough, or skin rash.

If you need to have any type of surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time if you have taken a cough medicine within the past few days.

Store this medicine at room temperature, away from heat, light, and moisture.

What are the possible side effects of acetaminophen and dextromethorphan?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using this medication and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • severe dizziness, anxiety, restless feeling, or nervousness;
  • confusion, hallucinations;
  • slow, shallow breathing;
  • easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness, fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms; or
  • nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Keep taking the medication and talk to your doctor if you have any of these less serious side effects:

  • mild loss of appetite, upset stomach.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect acetaminophen and dextromethorphan?

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:

  • celecoxib (Celebrex);
  • cinacalcet (Sensipar);
  • darifenacin (Enablex);
  • imatinib (Gleevec);
  • isoniazid;
  • quinidine (Quinaglute, Quinidex);
  • ranolazine (Ranexa);
  • ritonavir (Norvir);
  • sibutramine (Meridia);
  • terbinafine (Lamisil);
  • zidovudine (Retrovir, AZT);
  • gout medications such as probenecid (Benbemid) or sulfinpyrazone;
  • medicines to treat high blood pressure;
  • seizure medication such as phenytoin (Dilantin) or phenobarbital (Luminal, Solfoton); or
  • an antidepressant such as amitriptyline (Elavil, Etrafon), bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), fluvoxamine (Luvox), imipramine (Janimine, Tofranil), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), and others.

If you are using any of these drugs, you may not be able to use acetaminophen and dextromethorphan or you may need dosage adjustments or special tests during treatment.

There may be other drugs not listed that can affect acetaminophen and dextromethorphan. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

What should I avoid while taking acetaminophen and dextromethorphan?

This medication can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

Do not use any other over-the-counter cough, cold, allergy, or pain medication without first asking your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen and dextromethorphan are contained in many cold and pain medicines available over the counter. If you take certain products together you may accidentally take too much of a certain drug. Read the label of any other medicine you are using to see if it contains acetaminophen or dextromethorphan.

Avoid drinking alcohol. It can increase the risk of liver damage while you are taking acetaminophen. If you drink more than three alcoholic beverages per day, do not take acetaminophen without your doctors advice, and never take more than 2 grams (2000 mg) of acetaminophen per day.

Avoid taking diet pills, caffeine pills, or other stimulants (such as ADHD medications) without your doctors advice. Taking a stimulant together with cough medicine can increase your risk of unpleasant side effects.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

Symptoms of an overdose may include dizziness, drowsiness, feeling restless or nervous, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, increased sweating, seizure (convulsions), or coma.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at your next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What is the most important information I should know about acetaminophen and dextromethorphan?

Always ask a doctor before giving a cough or cold medicine to a child. Death can occur from the misuse of cough and cold medicines in very young children.

Do not use this medication if you have used an MAO inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam), or tranylcypromine (Parnate) within the past 14 days.

Do not take more of this medication than is recommended. An overdose of acetaminophen can cause damage to your liver.

Do not use any other over-the-counter cough, cold, allergy, or pain medication without first asking your doctor or pharmacist. If you take certain products together you may accidentally take too much of a certain drug. Read the label of any other medicine you take to see if it contains acetaminophen or dextromethorphan.

Avoid drinking alcohol. It can increase the risk of liver damage while you are taking acetaminophen. If you drink more than three alcoholic beverages per day, do not take acetaminophen without your doctors advice, and never take more than 2 grams (2000 mg) per day.

Dextromethorphan will not treat a cough that is caused by smoking.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking acetaminophen and dextromethorphan?

Do not take this medication if you are allergic to acetaminophen or dextromethorphan.

Do not use a cough medicine if you have used an MAO inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam), or tranylcypromine (Parnate) within the past 14 days. Serious, life-threatening side effects can occur if you take a cough medicine before the MAO inhibitor has cleared from your body.

Dextromethorphan will not treat a cough that is caused by smoking.

Before using acetaminophen and dextromethorphan, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

  • liver disease;
  • alcoholism or cirrhosis of the liver; or
  • emphysema or chronic bronchitis.

If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to use this medication, or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.

This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

This medication may pass into breast milk and could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Artifically-sweetened liquid forms of cough medicine may contain phenylalanine. This would be important to know if you have phenylketonuria (PKU). Check the ingredients and warnings on the medication label if you are concerned about phenylalanine.

Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist has information about acetaminophen and dextromethorphan written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Acetaminophen and dextromethorphan is available over-the-counter (without a prescription) under many brand and generic names. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
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