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Common Name:

hydrocodone - phenylephrine


How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

This medication contains two ingredients, hydrocodone and phenylephrine. Hydrocodone belongs to the family of medications called antitussives (cough suppressants), and phenylephrine belongs to the family of medications called decongestants (congestion relievers).

Hydrocodone helps to suppress cough by affecting the cough centre in the brain. Hydrocodone is a narcotic medication and so can be habit-forming if taken for long periods. Phenylephrine works by narrowing blood vessels in the nasal passages and helps to relieve nasal stuffiness.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Hydrocodone – phenylephrine is no longer being manufactured for sale in Canada and is no longer available under any brand names. This article is being kept available for reference purposes only. If you are using this medication, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for information about your treatment options.

How should I use this medication?

The recommended dose for adults and children over 12 years is 5 mL every 4 hours as needed. This medication is not recommended for children under 12 years of age.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not take this medication if you:

  • are allergic to hydrocodone, phenylephrine, or any ingredients of the medication
  • are allergic to any of the other "opioid"-type medications, as they may also be allergic to hydrocodone
  • are having difficulty breathing
  • have an intracranial (inside the head) lesion associated with increased pressure inside the head
  • take a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAO inhibitor; e.g. tranylcypromine, phenelzine)

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.

The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • constipation (more common with long-term use)
  • decrease in amount of urine
  • difficult or painful urination
  • difficulty sleeping
  • dizziness, lightheadedness, or feeling faint
  • drowsiness
  • dry mouth
  • false sense of well-being
  • frequent urge to urinate
  • general feeling of discomfort or illness
  • headache
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea or vomiting
  • nervousness or restlessness
  • nightmares or unusual dreams
  • stomach cramps or pain
  • unusual tiredness or weakness

Although most of the side effects listed below don’t happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • blurred or double vision or other changes in vision
  • depression or other mood or mental changes
  • fast, slow, or pounding heartbeat
  • feelings of unreality
  • hallucinations
  • hives, itching, or skin rash
  • increased sweating
  • irregular breathing
  • redness or flushing of face
  • ringing or buzzing in the ears
  • shortness of breath, wheezing, or troubled breathing
  • swelling of face
  • trembling or uncontrolled muscle movements
  • unusual excitement or restlessness (especially in children)

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • cold, clammy skin
  • confusion
  • convulsions (seizures)
  • dizziness (severe)
  • drowsiness (severe)
  • low blood pressure
  • nervousness or restlessness (severe)
  • pinpoint-sized pupils of eyes
  • slow heartbeat
  • slow or troubled breathing
  • weakness (severe)

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.


August 24, 2020

Health Canada has issued new restrictions concerning the use of hydrocodone. To read the full Health Canada Advisory, visit Health Canada’s web site at

A previous advisory on hydrocodone was issued on February 18, 2019. To read the full Health Canada Advisory, visit Health Canada’s web site at

Constipation: This medication may cause constipation or worsen existing constipation. If you have chronic constipation, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Drowsiness/reduced alertness: Because this medication can cause drowsiness, do not drive or engage in activities that require alertness and physical coordination until you can be sure that the medication does not affect you in this way.

Drug dependence: Taking this medication regularly over long periods of time may cause it to become habit-forming.

Medical conditions: If you have severe high blood pressure, overactive thyroid, diabetes mellitus, glaucoma, or heart or circulation problems, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Sedative effects: Since the sedating effects (i.e., drowsiness) of hydrocodone – phenylephrine are additive to those of other sedating drugs, avoid drinking alcohol or taking sleeping pills, sedatives, psychotherapeutic agents, or other medications with sedating effects. Tell your doctor about all of the medications you take.

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: It is not known if this medication passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between hydrocodone – phenylephrine and any of the following:

  • alcohol
  • antidiabetes medications (e.g., insulin, glyburide)
  • antiglaucoma medications (e.g., timolol, betaxolol)
  • benzodiazepines (e.g., diazepam, lorazepam)
  • medications for reducing high blood pressure (e.g., hydrochlorothiazide, ramipril)
  • MAO inhibitors (e.g., phenelzine, tranylcypromine)
  • other narcotic medications (e.g., codeine, morphine)
  • other sedating medications (e.g., diazepam, lorazepam, phenobarbital)
  • phenothiazines (e.g., chlorpromazine)
  • thyroid medications (e.g., levothyroxine)
  • tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline, desipramine)

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.

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Last Updated: 22/07/2024