Is It Safe To Drink Beer With Tessalon (Benzonatate)?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not it is safe to combine Tessalon Perles with alcoholic beer.

Question

is it safe to drink a beer or two after taking benzonatate?

Asked by Jerry On Feb 25, 2019

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Feb 25, 2019
Man Holding Beer Bottle And White Pill

While there is no interaction between Tessalon Perles (benzonatate) and beer, assuming the beer is alcoholic, both can cause sedation and dizziness so caution is recommended when combining.

Tessalon (Benzonatate) Side Effects With Alcohol

Benzonatate is generally well tolerated but is associated with several CNS (central nervous system) side effects, including:

  • Sedation
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

Beer (alcoholic) can cause similar side effects so there certainly is a chance they could be additive. In other words, you may be more likely to experience more prominent side effects, such as sedation, if you combine beer and benzonatate.

One of the most concerning interactions when it comes to alcohol and drugs is the risk of respiratory depression, which manifests as slow and labored breathing. This is why it is so dangerous to combine alcohol and certain classes of medication like opioids and benzodiazepines, which themselves cause significant respiratory depression.

Fortunately, at recommended doses, benzonatate is not known to cause respiratory depression, which is stated in the prescribing information for the drug:

"TESSALON has no inhibitory effect on the respiratory center in recommended dosage."

It is important to point out that the lack of effect on the respiratory center by Tessalon (benzonatate) is based on the recommended dosing range of 100 mg to 200 mg three times per day, up to a maximum daily dosage of 600 mg/day.

Taking too much benzonatate (i.e. over the recommended dose) has been associated with breathing problems and in cases of overdose, respiratory support is often necessary according to TOXNET.

Additionally, be sure not to chew, crush or otherwise open benzonatate capsules as the contents can anesthetize (i.e. numb) the throat, making it difficult to drink or eat.

Final Words

Overall, if you combine benzonatate and alcohol, you will likely see the sedative effects of both enhanced and you may be slightly more at risk for other side effects they share, such as headache and dizziness.

Since both can be sedating, be sure not to operate heavy machinery or engage in activities that require strict attention when using them.

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger Pharm.D

Dr. Brian Staiger is a licensed pharmacist in New York State and the founder of PharmacistAnswers.com. He graduated from the University At Buffalo with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2010. He has been featured in numerous publications including the Huffington Post as well as a variety of health and pharmacy-related blogs. Please feel free to reach out to him directly if you have any inquiries or want to connect! He's answered thousands of medication and pharmacy-related questions and he's ready to answer yours! Brian.Staiger@PharmacistAnswers.com Office: 716-389-3076

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