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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold Formula

Generic Name: aspirin, chlorpheniramine, and phenylephrine (Pronunciation: ASP rin, KLOR fen IR a meen, and FEN il EFF rin)

What is aspirin, chlorpheniramine, and phenylephrine (Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold Formula)?

Aspirin is in a group of drugs called salicylates (sa-LIS-il-ates). It works by reducing substances in the body that cause pain, fever, and inflammation.

Chlorpheniramine is an antihistamine that reduces the natural chemical histamine in the body. Histamine can produce symptoms of sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and runny nose.

Phenylephrine is a decongestant that shrinks blood vessels in the nasal passages. Dilated blood vessels can cause nasal congestion (stuffy nose).

The combination of aspirin, chlorpheniramine, and phenylephrine is used to treat symptoms of the common cold including sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, headache, fever, and minor aches and pains.

Aspirin, chlorpheniramine, and phenylephrine may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of aspirin, chlorpheniramine, and phenylephrine (Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold Formula)?

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

  • black, bloody, or tarry stools;
  • coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds;
  • redness or swelling;
  • new cold or flu symptoms;
  • fast or uneven heartbeats;
  • feeling light-headed, fainting;
  • seizure (convulsions);
  • ringing in your ears, hallucinations (seeing things that are not there); or
  • tremors.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • drowsiness;
  • feeling restless or excited (especially in children);
  • sleep problems (insomnia); or
  • heartburn, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about aspirin, chlorpheniramine, and phenylephrine (Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold Formula)?

Do not give this medication to a child younger than 2 years old. 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.

Aspirin should not be given to a child or teenager who has a fever, especially if the child also has flu symptoms or chicken pox. Aspirin can cause a serious and sometimes fatal condition called Reye's syndrome in children.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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