Taking NyQuil With Benzonatate

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not NyQuil can be taken with Tessalon (benzonatate).


I took a prescription cough suppressant my doctor prescribed, benzonatate, 200mg about 4-1/2 hours ago. I would like to now take 30ml of NyQuil severe cold & flu for the rest of the symptoms. Will there be any adverse reactions?

Asked by Rick On Jan 08, 2022

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By HelloPharmacist Staff

Published Jan 08, 2022
Last updated Mar 03, 2022

Key points

  • There is no known drug interaction between NyQuil and benzonatate.
  • Both drugs can cause sedation, however, so be cautious taking them together if you need to be mentally alert.

Hi there! We appreciate you sending this question in!

It's always a good idea to check into potential drug interaction when considering taking an over-the-counter medication, so let's get right to it.

Safe Together?

There is no known interaction between benzonatate and NyQuil. They are generally considered safe to take together.

However, it's important to note that both NyQuil and benzonatate can cause you to feel tired.

NyQuil, the 'night' version of DayQuil, contains doxylamine, a sedating antihistamine. Most people start to feel the effects, including feeling tired, about 30 to 60 minutes after taking a dose.

Benzonatate also can make you feel tired, in about the same amount of time, although generally to a lesser extent than NyQuil.

Since both can make you tired, there is a chance of additive sedative effects with the two medications when combined.

Due to this, it's important to not take them if you need to do something that requires a clear mind, like driving a car.

Most individuals only use this combination of medications at bedtime though, to help sleep at night, so being especially tired isn't too much of a concern.

Below, I share some additional information on both the drugs in question here.

Benzonatate Information

Benzonatate (brand name Tessalon) is a non-narcotic medication, most commonly used for cough symptoms associated with colds and acute respiratory infections.

At normal dosages, benzonatate is not associated with respiratory depression or significant CNS (central nervous system) depression, unlike opioid cough suppressants like codeine, and is therefore considered safe to take with most other medications.

Benzonatate works by anesthetizing (i.e. numbing) the stretch receptors in the alveoli of the lungs and airways. This reduces the sensation of needing to cough.

While benzonatate is typically very well tolerated, it can cause mild sedation, as described above.

When combined with other medications that cause sedation, such as NyQuil, the sedative effects can be enhanced, and you should not operate heavy machinery or partake in activities that require strict attention. 

NyQuil Information

NyQuil is a combination cough/cold medication that contains the following ingredients:

While NyQuil does contain a cough suppressant (dextromethorphan), it is not thought to interact with benzonatate.

The sedating antihistamine in NyQuil, doxylamine, could potentially cause additive effects of sedation when given with benzonatate.

The drug doxylamine begins to work in about 30 minutes but peak concentrations in the blood occur nearly 2 to 3 hours after taking by mouth. This means that while you will feel the effects of doxylamine relatively quickly, it can take a few hours for the drug to reach max effect.

Final Words

Thanks again for reaching out to us!

If you are considering taking these two drugs together, I imagine you're having somewhat of a rough time getting over an illness so I hope you start to feel better!


About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger, PharmD

Dr. Brian has been practicing pharmacy for over 11 years and has wide-ranging experiences in many different areas of the profession. From retail, clinical and administrative responsibilities, he's your knowledgeable and go-to source for all your pharmacy and medication related questions!

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