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Dexchlorpheniramine (antihistamine)

Written by Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD · Pharmacology

Updated Jul 22, 2021

Dexchlorpheniramine is a first-generation antihistamine. Antihistamines block the receptors that are responsible for allergic reactions and symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, hives, and itchiness.


Know the basics

What is dexchlorpheniramine used for?

This drug treats the symptoms of allergies such as sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose, rash, and itchiness. Allergic conditions include allergic rhinitis and urticaria.

How should I take dexchlorpheniramine?

Read the directions on the packaging for complete information. Check the label and expiration date.

For oral dosage forms, swallow it whole without chewing, crushing, or dissolving it in liquid.

For oral solutions, use a medical-grade measuring cup not a household spoon.

How do I store dexchlorpheniramine?

Store this product at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store it in the bathroom or the freezer. 

There may be different brands of this drug that may have different storage needs. So, it is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush this product down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Additionally, it is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Know the precautions & warnings

What should I know before using dexchlorpheniramine?

Before using this drug, tell your doctor if you are/have:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Taking any other medicines. This includes any prescription, OTC, and herbal remedies.
  • An allergy to any of the ingredients of this product.
  • Any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.

Is it safe to take dexchlorpheniramine during pregnancy or breast-feeding?

Unfortunately, there isn’t enough information about the safety of using this drug during pregnancy and breastfeeding. However, it is likely safe to take while pregnant. It may cause drowsiness in breastfeeding infants. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking any medication.

This medication is pregnancy risk category B according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A= No risk
  • B= No risk in some studies
  • C= There may be some risk
  • D= Positive evidence of risk
  • X= Contraindicated
  • N= Unknown

Know the side effects

What are the side effects of dexchlorpheniramine?

Like all drugs, this product may have side effects. If they occur, side effects are generally mild and resolve once treatment is finished or the dose is lowered. Some reported side effects include:

  • CNS depression
  • Mydriasis
  • Dry eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness or sedation
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Excitability
  • Urinary retention
  • Hypotension

However, not everyone experiences these side effects. In addition, some people may experience other side effects. So, if you have any concerns about a side effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Know the interactions

What drugs may interact with dexchlorpheniramine?

This medication may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. 

To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. 

Drugs with known interactions:

  • Other antihistamines
  • Opioid analgesics
  • Sedative-hypnotics
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Alcohol-containing preparations

If you experience an adverse drug interaction, inform your doctor immediately to reevaluate your treatment plan. Approaches include dose adjustment, drug substitution, or ending therapy.

Does food or alcohol interact with dexchlorpheniramine?

This drug may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Do not drink alcohol while taking this drug. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with dexchlorpheniramine?

This drug may interact with underlying conditions. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. Therefore, it is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Understand the Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. Therefore, you should always consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using any medication.

What is the dose for an adult?

Allergic Conditions

Take 2 mg every 4 to 6 hours, up to 12 mg per day.

What is the dose for a child?

Allergic Conditions

  • Ages 2 to 5 years: Give 0.5 mg every 4 to 6 hours
  • 6 to 12 years: Give 1 mg every 4 to 6 hours
  • 12 years and older: Give the same dose as an adult.

How is dexchlorpheniramine available?

This drug is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Oral solution: 2 mg/5 mL
  • Oral tablet: 2 mg
  • Extended-release tablet: 6 mg

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to the nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Written by

Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD


Updated Jul 22, 2021

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