Benzonatate is used to treat cough in patients with the pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema, asthma and other breathing problems as well as the common cold, as stated by WebMD. The medication works by reducing the cough reflex.
To use the nonnarcotic cough suppressant benzonatate, patients should swallow the medication whole with or without food and never take two doses at once if they miss a dose, says Drugs.com. They must never chew, suck on, dissolve or crush the medication before swallowing as it may cause tingling or numbness in the mouth, throat and facial area. In rare instances, this may also cause a severe allergic reaction. Common side effects of benzonatate include dizziness, nasal congestion, constipation, nausea and headache. Individuals who experience severe side effects such as confusion, hallucinations or symptoms of an allergic reaction should seek immediate medical attention.
Children under 10 years of age should not take benzonatate as more research is needed to confirm its safety as of 2015, according to Drugs.com. Accidental ingestion may cause serious side effects such as heart attack, seizures and loss of consciousness. Patients should speak with a doctor before taking benzonatate if they are pregnant or breastfeeding. Individuals should store this medication at room temperature in a child-resistant container away from heat and moisture.