Chlorpheniramine

By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor

Generic Name: Chlorpheniramine Brand Name(s): Chlorpheniramine, Chlorpheniramine and Chlorpheniramine.

Uses

What is Chlorpheniramine used for?

Chlorpheniramine is commonly used to relieve symptoms of allergy, hay fever, and the common cold. These symptoms include rash, watery eyes, itchy eyes/nose/throat/skin, cough, runny nose, and sneezing.

This medication works by blocking a certain natural substance (histamine) that your body makes during an allergic reaction. By blocking another natural substance made by your body (acetylcholine), it helps dry up some body fluids to relieve symptoms such as watery eyes and runny nose.

Cough-and-cold products have not been shown to be safe or effective in children younger than 6 years. Therefore, do not use this product to treat cold symptoms in children younger than 6 years unless specifically directed by the doctor. Some products (such as long-acting tablets/capsules) are not recommended for use in children younger than 12 years. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details about using your product safely.

These products do not cure or shorten the length of the common cold and may cause serious side effects. To decrease the risk for serious side effects, carefully follow all dosage directions. Do not use this product to make a child sleepy. Do not give other cough-and-cold medication that might contain the same or similar ingredients (see also Drug Interactions section). Ask the doctor or pharmacist about other ways to relieve cough and cold symptoms (such as drinking enough fluids, using a humidifier or saline nose drops/spray).

How should I take Chlorpheniramine?

If you are taking the over-the-counter product, read all directions on the product package before taking this medication. If you have any questions, consult your pharmacist. If your doctor has prescribed this medication, take it as directed.

Take the tablet, capsule, or liquid form by mouth with or without food. Follow the directions for dosing on the label, or take as directed by your doctor. This medication may be taken with food or milk if stomach upset occurs.

If you are taking the extended-release capsules, swallow them whole. Do not crush or chew extended-release capsules or tablets. Doing so can release all of the drug at once, increasing the risk of side effects. Also, do not split extended-release tablets unless they have a score line and your doctor or pharmacist tells you to do so. Swallow the whole or split tablet without crushing or chewing.

If you are using the liquid form, use a medication measuring device to carefully measure the prescribed dose. Do not use a household spoon. If your liquid form is a suspension, shake the bottle well before each dose.

Your dosage is based on your age, medical condition, and response to therapy. Do not increase your dose or take this medication more often than recommended by your doctor or the package instructions without your doctor’s approval. Take this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time(s) each day.

If your condition persists or worsens, or if you think you may have a serious medical problem, seek immediate medical attention.

How do I store Chlorpheniramine?

Chlorpheniramine is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store Chlorpheniramine in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of Chlorpheniramine that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush Chlorpheniramine down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using Chlorpheniramine?

Before taking chlorpheniramine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to dexchlorpheniramine; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: breathing problems (e.g., asthma, emphysema), a certain eye problem (glaucoma), heart problems, high blood pressure, liver disease, seizures, stomach problems (e.g., ulcers, blockage), overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), urination problems (e.g., trouble urinating due to enlarged prostate, urinary retention).

This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy or cause blurred vision. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness or clear vision until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit the use of alcohol and certain other medications that cause drowsiness.

To minimize dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position.

Liquid products may contain aspartame, sugar and/or alcohol. Caution is advised if you have diabetes, alcohol dependence, liver disease, phenylketonuria (PKU), or any other condition that requires you to limit/avoid these substances in your diet. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about using this product safely.

Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially drowsiness, dizziness, low blood pressure, confusion, constipation, or trouble urinating. Drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion can increase the risk of falling.

Children may be more sensitive to the effects of antihistamines. In young children, this medication may cause agitation/excitement instead of drowsiness.

During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.

Based on information from related drugs, this medication may pass into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breast-feeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this Chlorpheniramine during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking this Chlorpheniramine. This Chlorpheniramine is pregnancy risk category B according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk,
  • B=No risk in some studies,
  • C=There may be some risk,
  • D=Positive evidence of risk,
  • X=Contraindicated,
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from Chlorpheniramine?

Drowsiness, dizziness, headache, constipation, stomach upset, blurred vision, decreased coordination, or dry mouth/nose/throat may occur. These effects may decrease as your body adjusts to the medication. If any of these effects persist or worsen, contact your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

To relieve dry mouth, suck on (sugarless) hard candy or ice chips, chew (sugarless) gum, drink water, or use a saliva substitute. Chlorpheniramine can dry up and thicken mucus in your lungs, making it more difficult to breathe and clear your lungs. To help prevent this effect, drink plenty of fluids unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

If you are using a sustained-release product, an empty tablet shell may appear in your stool. This is harmless.

If your doctor has prescribed this medication, remember that he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: mental/mood changes (e.g., hallucinations, irritability, nervousness, confusion), ringing in the ears, trouble urinating.

Tell your doctor right away if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: easy bruising/bleeding, fast/irregular heartbeat, seizure.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Interactions

What drugs may interact with Chlorpheniramine?

Some products that may interact with this drug include: antihistamines applied to the skin (such as diphenhydramine cream, ointment, spray), antispasmodics (e.g., atropine, belladonna alkaloids), drugs for Parkinson’s disease (e.g., anticholinergics such as benztropine, trihexyphenidyl), scopolamine, tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline).

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products that cause drowsiness such as opioid pain or cough relievers (such as codeine, hydrocodone), alcohol, marijuana, drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, lorazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants (such as carisoprodol, cyclobenzaprine), or other antihistamines (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine).

Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely.

Chlorpheniramine is very similar to dexchlorpheniramine. Do not use medications containing dexchlorpheniramine while using chlorpheniramine.

This medication may interfere with certain laboratory tests (including allergy skin testing), possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.

Chlorpheniramine may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Does food or alcohol interact with Chlorpheniramine?

Chlorpheniramine may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with Chlorpheniramine?

Chlorpheniramine may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using this Chlorpheniramine.

What is the dose of Chlorpheniramine for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Allergic Rhinitis

Tablets or syrup: 4 mg orally every 4 to 6 hours.
Sustained-release: 8 to 16 mg orally every 8 to 12 hours as needed or 16 mg orally once a day as needed.
Maximum dose 32 mg/day.

Usual Adult Dose for Cold Symptoms

Tablets or syrup: 4 mg orally every 4 to 6 hours.
Sustained-release: 8 to 16 mg orally every 8 to 12 hours as needed or 16 mg orally once a day as needed.
Maximum dose 32 mg/day.

Usual Adult Dose for Urticaria

Tablets or syrup: 4 mg orally every 4 to 6 hours.
Sustained-release: 8 to 16 mg orally every 8 to 12 hours as needed or 16 mg orally once a day as needed.
Maximum dose 32 mg/day.

Usual Adult Dose for Allergic Reaction

Injectable solution:
Allergic reactions to blood or plasma infusions: 10 to 20 mg by intravenous, intramuscular, or subcutaneous injection as a single dose.

Anaphylaxis: 10 to 20 mg intravenous injection as a single dose.

Uncomplicated Allergic Conditions: 5 to 20 mg by intravenous, intramuscular, or subcutaneous injection as a single dose.

Maximum dose by injection is 40 mg/day.

Tablets or syrup: 4 mg orally every 4 to 6 hours.
Sustained-release: 8 to 16 mg orally every 8 to 12 hours as needed or 16 mg orally once a day as needed.
Maximum dose 32 mg/day.

Renal Dose Adjustments

The elimination of chlorpheniramine may be prolonged in patients with renal dysfunction. These patients should be monitored for excessive sedation and other adverse effects that may result from chlorpheniramine accumulation.

Precautions

Use chlorpheniramine with caution in patients with asthma.

What is the dose of Chlorpheniramine for a child?

Usual Pediatric Dose for Allergic Rhinitis

3 months to 5 months:
Sustained-release syrup: 0.5 mg orally every 12 hours.

6 months to 8 months:
Sustained-release syrup: 1 mg orally every 12 hours.

9 months to 18 months:
Sustained-release syrup: 1 to 1.5 mg orally every 12 hours.

18 months to 6 years:
Sustained-release syrup: 2 mg orally every 12 hours.

2 to 5 years:
Tablets or syrup: 1 mg every 4 to 6 hours.
Sustained-release: 2 mg orally two times a day, not to exceed 8 mg in 24 hours.
Maximum dose 6 mg/day.

6 to 11 years:
Tablets or syrup: 2 mg every 4 to 6 hours.
Sustained-release: 4 to 8 mg orally two times a day, not to exceed 16 mg in 24 hours or 8 mg orally at bedtime or during the day as indicated.
Maximum dose 16 mg/day.

12 years or older:
Tablets or syrup: 4 mg orally every 4 to 6 hours.
Sustained-release: 8 to 16 mg orally every 8 to 12 hours as needed or 16 mg orally once a day as needed
Maximum dose 32 mg/day.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Cold Symptoms

3 months to 5 months:
Sustained-release syrup: 0.5 mg orally every 12 hours.

6 months to 8 months:
Sustained-release syrup: 1 mg orally every 12 hours.

9 months to 18 months:
Sustained-release syrup: 1 to 1.5 mg orally every 12 hours.

18 months to 6 years:
Sustained-release syrup: 2 mg orally every 12 hours.

2 to 5 years:
Tablets or syrup: 1 mg every 4 to 6 hours.
Sustained-release: 2 mg orally two times a day, not to exceed 8 mg in 24 hours.
Maximum dose 6 mg/day.

6 to 11 years:
Tablets or syrup: 2 mg every 4 to 6 hours.
Sustained-release: 4 to 8 mg orally two times a day, not to exceed 16 mg in 24 hours or 8 mg orally at bedtime or during the day as indicated.
Maximum dose 16 mg/day.

12 years or older:
Tablets or syrup: 4 mg orally every 4 to 6 hours.
Sustained-release: 8 to 16 mg orally every 8 to 12 hours as needed or 16 mg orally once a day as needed
Maximum dose 32 mg/day.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Urticaria

3 months to 5 months:
Sustained-release syrup: 0.5 mg orally every 12 hours.

6 months to 8 months:
Sustained-release syrup: 1 mg orally every 12 hours.

9 months to 18 months:
Sustained-release syrup: 1 to 1.5 mg orally every 12 hours.

18 months to 6 years:
Sustained-release syrup: 2 mg orally every 12 hours.

2 to 5 years:
Tablets or syrup: 1 mg every 4 to 6 hours.
Sustained-release: 2 mg orally two times a day, not to exceed 8 mg in 24 hours.
Maximum dose 6 mg/day.

6 to 11 years:
Tablets or syrup: 2 mg every 4 to 6 hours.
Sustained-release: 4 to 8 mg orally two times a day, not to exceed 16 mg in 24 hours or 8 mg orally at bedtime or during the day as indicated.
Maximum dose 16 mg/day.

12 years or older:
Tablets or syrup: 4 mg orally every 4 to 6 hours.
Sustained-release: 8 to 16 mg orally every 8 to 12 hours as needed or 16 mg orally once a day as needed
Maximum dose 32 mg/day.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Allergic Reaction

Injectable solution:
2 years to 11 years: 0.35 mg/kg/day in divided doses every 4 to 6 hours as needed.
12 years or older:
Allergic reactions to blood or plasma infusions: 10 to 20 mg by intravenous, intramuscular, or subcutaneous injection as a single dose.
Anaphylaxis: 10 to 20 mg intravenous injection as a single dose.
Uncomplicated Allergic Conditions: 5 to 20 mg by intravenous, intramuscular, or subcutaneous injection as a single dose.
Maximum dose by injection is 40 mg/day.

Tablets or syrup:
2 to 5 years: 1 mg every 4 to 6 hours.
Maximum dose 6 mg/day.
Sustained-release: 2 mg orally two times a day, not to exceed 8 mg in 24 hours.

6 to 11 years: 2 mg every 4 to 6 hours.
Sustained-release: 4 to 8 mg orally two times a day, not to exceed 16 mg in 24 hours or 8 mg at bedtime or during the day as indicated.
Maximum dose 16 mg/day.

12 years or older: 4 mg orally every 4 to 6 hours.
Sustained-release: 8 to 16 mg orally every 8 to 12 hours as needed or 16 mg orally once a day as needed
Maximum dose 32 mg/day.

Precautions

Chlorpheniramine should not be used in premature or newborn infants.

How is Chlorpheniramine available?

Chlorpheniramine is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Tablet
  • Capsule
  • Liquid

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Chlorpheniramine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: January 15, 2018 | Last Modified: September 12, 2019

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