Benzonatate is a drug medication taken to suppress coughing. It is non-narcotic, so it cannot be abused like other cough suppressants and drugs. Its effect can last anywhere from 6 to 8 hours.

Recommended Dosage and Usage

The drug is sold as 100mg and 200mg capsules. The dosage is 3 times a day. The maximum recommended is 6 times a day. The capsules must be ingested whole. Cutting or chewing will reduce its effect. The capsules need to be stored in temperatures ranging from 15 degrees C (59 F) and 30 degrees C (86 F).

The drug is used to suppress coughing in various respiratory diseases, including pneumonia, influenza, bronchitis, asthma and emphysema. The medication works by lowering the stretch receptor sensitivity in the lung and airway. This limits the urge to cough following a deep breath.

Relief for Pharyngeal Pain

The drug is also administered in small amounts as a form of anesthetic for pharyngeal or mouth pain. However, this practice is not recommended as it may lead to health complications (see Effects of an Overdose section).

Side Effects of Benzonatate

Among the most common are slight dizziness, headaches, vomiting, nausea and constipation. Some people also report feeling drowsy. There are also cases of people who experience allergic reactions to the medication. These have resulted in laryngospasm, bronchospasm and cardiac arrest.

No drug interactions are known for this drug. There are no known effects if taken during pregnancy. It is still unclear as to whether the drug gets to breast milk. Pregnant women who wish to take this medication should consult their physician first.

Effects of an Overdose

An overdose of the drug has been linked to arrhythmias and seizures. Taking the drug beyond the recommended amount will cause numbness in the throat and mouth. In serious cases, the numbness of the mouth and pharynx leads to pulmonary aspiration.

Other effects of an overdose are hallucinations, tremors and restlessness. In extreme cases, this will be followed by convulsion and death. These symptoms occur because the overdose affects the central nervous system.

Besides taking more than the required amount, an overdose can occur if the capsules are dissolved in the mouth or chewed.


It is sold under several brand names. In the United States they are known as Tessalon Capsules and Tessalon Perles. In other countries they are known by several names including Benzononantin, Benzonatato, Ventussin, Exangit and Tessalin. Generic versions are also available.

Chemical Structure

Its full name is 2,5,8,11,14,17,20,23,26-nonaoxaoctacosan-28-yl para-butylaminobenzoate. It is a butylamine and is connected to the tetracaine, procaine and other ester local anesthetics.

However, the medication is not related to dextromethorphan, codeine, and the other opioids utilized for suppressing coughs. The molecular formula is C30H53NO11.

The IUPAC name of the drug is 2-[2-[2-[2-[2-[2-[2-[2-(2-methoxyethoxy)ethoxy]ethoxy]ethoxy]ethoxy] ethoxy]ethoxy]ethoxy]ethyl4-butylaminobenzoate. Its molecular weight has been put at 603.742 g/mol.

Benzonatate is a widely available cough suppressant that can be used for various respiratory ailments. Taking them in the right amount should reduce coughing without any of the serious effects of an overdose.

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