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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Alahist DHC

Generic Name: dihydrocodeine and phenylephrine (Pronunciation: dye HYE dro KOE deen and FEN il EFF rin)

What is dihydrocodeine and phenylephrine (Alahist DHC)?

Dihydrocodeine is a narcotic cough suppressant.

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

The combination of dihydrocodeine and phenylephrine is used to treat cough and nasal congestion caused by the common cold.

Dihydrocodeine will not treat a cough that is caused by smoking, asthma, or emphysema.

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

What are the possible side effects of dihydrocodeine and phenylephrine (Alahist DHC)?

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

  • feeling like you might pass out;
  • weak or shallow breathing;
  • confusion, hallucinations;
  • fast or pounding heartbeat;
  • seizure (convulsions);
  • painful or difficult urination; or
  • urinating less than usual or not at all.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • dizziness, drowsiness, headache, tired feeling;
  • feeling excited or restless;
  • increased dreaming;
  • nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation;
  • increased sweating or urination;
  • warmth, redness, or tingly feeling under your skin;
  • dry mouth;
  • blurred vision;
  • mild skin rash or itching.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about dihydrocodeine and phenylephrine (Alahist DHC)?

Do not use this medication if you have used an MAO inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam), or tranylcypromine (Parnate) within the past 14 days. Serious, life-threatening side effects can occur if you take a cough and cold medicine before the MAO inhibitor has cleared from your body.

You should not use dihydrocodeine and phenylephrine if you are allergic to it, or if you have severe or uncontrolled high blood pressure, severe coronary artery disease, narrow-angle glaucoma, peptic ulcer or a bowel obstruction called paralytic ileus, if you are unable to urinate, if you are pregnant, or if you are having an asthma attack.

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you have heart disease or high blood pressure, ischemic heart disease (reduced circulation of blood to the heart), asthma or other breathing disorder, diabetes, glaucoma, a thyroid disorder, Addison's disease or other adrenal gland disorder, head injury or brain tumor, kidney or liver disease, gallbladder disease, pancreatitis, a seizure disorder, an enlarged prostate, problems with urination, mental illness, or a history of drug or alcohol addiction.

Always ask a doctor before giving cough or cold medicine to a child. Death can occur from the misuse of cough or cold medicine in very young children. Dihydrocodeine and phenylephrine should not be given to a child younger than 6 years old.

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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