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dihydrocodeine and phenylephrine (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking 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 have ever had an allergic reaction 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.

If you have certain conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take dihydrocodeine and phenylephrine. 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, COPD, or other breathing disorder;
  • diabetes;
  • glaucoma;
  • a thyroid disorder;
  • Addison's disease or other adrenal gland disorders;
  • a history of head injury or brain tumor;
  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder;
  • kidney or liver disease;
  • gallbladder disease or pancreatitis;
  • enlarged prostate, urination problems;
  • mental illness; or
  • a history of drug or alcohol addiction.

FDA pregnancy category C. This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. Dihydrocodeine can cause breathing problems or addiction/withdrawal symptoms in a newborn. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while you are taking this medication.

This medication can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. The use of dihydrocodeine by some nursing mothers may lead to life-threatening side effects in the baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this medication.

Dihydrocodeine may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. This medication should never be shared with another person, especially someone who has a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a secure place where others cannot get to it.

How should I take dihydrocodeine and phenylephrine (Alahist DHC)?

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label. Cold medicine is usually taken for only a short time until your symptoms clear up.

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.

Measure liquid medicine with a special dose-measuring spoon or cup, not a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

Talk with your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 7 days of treatment, or if you have a fever with a headache or skin rash.

Store dihydrocodeine and phenylephrine at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Keep track of how much of this medicine has been used from the bottle. Dihydrocodeine is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if any person in the household is using this medicine improperly or without a prescription.

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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