What Phenergan Is

Phenergan is a trade name of a first-generation antihistamine drug called promethazine. It has a wide range of medical uses:

  • Sedation;
  • Treating allergies, even in such severe cases as hay fever and anaphylaxis (in a combination with other drugs);
  • Insomnia;
  • Nausea of different etiology: psychosomatic, physiological, morning sickness, motion sickness, the one associated with anesthesia or chemotherapy;
  • For alleviation of certain symptoms of simple respiratory infections like common cold (for example, stuffy nose);
  • Symptomatic treatment of anxiety.

The drug is available in a variety of forms: for oral administration – in tablets or syrup, for rectal administration – as a rectal suppository, and for intramuscular administration – as an injection.

Recommendations for Use, Dosage, and Overdose

The dosage and intervals for Phenergan treatment depends on the condition, age, form of administration, and other factors. Take the drug exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all the directions on the prescription, label, and the instruction sheet. Your doctor may adjust your dose from time to time to ensure the best possible response to treatment. Do not change the dose or the treatment plan on your own, without your doctor’s approval.

Phenergan is often taken in the late evening before sleep or before meals. For motion sickness, it is advised to take Phenergan one hour before traveling. When used for surgery, take Phenergan the night before.

If you take Phenergan as an oral suspension or syrup, measure the dose of the liquid with a special dosing syringe, spoon or cup. If you do not have such measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one. Do not use a regular table spoon.

Phenergan doses for children are normally based on their weight. Therefore, any significant change in weight may affect your child’s dose needed for treatment. Tell your doctor if your child has had changes in weight.

Be attentive to your response to treatment and body reactions. Call your doctor if the symptoms do not improve or get worse.

Note that the drug can interfere with the results of certain medical tests. Tell your doctor or diagnostician that you are taking Phenergan.

If you accidentally miss a dose, take it as soon as you can; however, if it’s almost the time for your next dose, skip the missed one. Do not take extra medicine to make up for skipping.

Overdose symptoms include loss of coordination, overactive reflexes, dilated pupils, severe drowsiness or fatigue, fainting, slow or shallow breathing, seizure (convulsions). If you suspect an overdose, get medical help immediately.

Precautions and Contraindications

Promethazine cannot be used for children younger than 2 years old, as it can cause serious damage (possibly lethal) due to slow shallow breathing. When using the drug for children over 2, it is strongly advised to prescribe the lowest effective dose and avoid other drugs that may affect breathing. Get urgent medical help if you notice slow or shallow breathing in your child.

In children, Phenergan treatment for nausea should only be used in cases when there is prolonged vomiting of an established cause. Promethazine should be avoided for use in children with severe liver conditions (including Reye’s syndrome).

Phenergan should not be used for patients with known allergies to promethazine or similar drugs such as fluphenazine, chlorpromazine, mesoridazine, prochlorperazine, perphenazine, trifluperazine, or thioridazine.

Do not take Phenergan if you suffer from asthma or another disorder of the lower respiratory tract.

To ensure that Phenergan is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have had the following conditions in your medical history:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, sleep apnea, or other breathing disorder;
  • Allergy to sulfites;
  • Seizures;
  • Suppressed immune system (bone marrow depression);
  • Glaucoma;
  • Problems with prostate or urination;
  • Stomach obstruction or ulcer;
  • Heart condition or hypertension;
  • Liver condition;
  • Adrenal gland tumor (pheochromocytoma);
  • Low calcium levels in your blood (hypocalcemia);
  • History of serious side effects from promethazine or other phenothiazine.

The clinical data are insufficient to know the exact effect of promethazine on an unborn baby during pregnancy. It is unknown whether the drug passes into breast milk. Tell your doctor if you are or have become pregnant during treatment, or if you are nursing a baby.

Interactions with Other Drugs and Substances

Phenergan may interact with other allergy medicines, cold medications, narcotic pain killers, sedatives, muscle relaxers, sleeping pills, medicines for seizures, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, which can cause medical problems or increase the risk of severe side effects. Tell your doctor if you regularly take any of these drugs.

Inform your doctor if you are taking any of the following:

  • Lithium (Lithobid, Eskalith);
  • Atropine (Sal-Tropine, Atreza), benztropine (Cogentin), belladonna (Donnatal, and others), dimenhydrinate (Dramamine), scopolamine (Transderm-Scop) or methscopolamine (Pamine);
  • Blood pressure regulators such as guanethidine (Ismelin), guanadrel (Hylorel), propranolol (Inderal), and others;
  • Blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin);
  • Bronchodilators such as tiotropium (Spiriva) or ipratropium (Atrovent);
  • Bladder or urinary tract medications such as solifenacin (Vesicare), oxybutynin (Oxytrol, Ditropan), and others;
  • MAO inhibitors such as tranylcypromine (Parnate), isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Emsam, Eldepryl) or methylene blue injection;
  • Medicines for the treatment of the restless leg syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, or pituitary gland tumor (prolactinoma);
  • Medicines for the treatment of the irritable bowel syndrome or a stomach ulcer, such as glycopyrrolate (Robinul), dicyclomine (Bentyl), hyoscyamine (Cystospaz, Anaspaz, Levsin, and others), propantheline (Pro-Banthine), mepenzolate (Cantil).

The list of the possible interactions is not complete; others may occur. Tell your doctor about all the drugs and substances you are using, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, minerals, and herbal products. Do not start using a new medication without your doctor’s consultation. Keep a list of all the medicines you are taking and show it to any other healthcare provider who treats you.

Side Effects

Common Phenergan side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, double vision, ringing in your ears, anxiety, dry mouth, and insomnia.

Get urgent medical help if you notice any signs of an allergic reaction: difficult breathing; hives; swelling in your face, tongue, lips, or throat.

Stop taking Phenergan and call your doctor immediately if you have:

  • Severe drowsiness, slow or shallow breathing;
  • Dizziness, light-headedness, fainting;
  • Agitation, confusion, hallucinations, nightmares;
  • Seizure (convulsions);
  • Slow, fast or irregular heartbeat;
  • Yellowing of your skin or eyes (jaundice);
  • Sudden muscle movements in your face that you cannot control (lip smacking, chewing, frowning, eye twitching, tongue movement);
  • Easy bruising or bleeding (bleeding gums, nosebleeds);
  • Sudden weakness, chills, fever, mouth sores, sore throat, trouble swallowing, red or swollen gums;
  • Rigid muscles, sweating, high fever, confusion, tremors, fast or uneven heartbeats, feeling like you might lose consciousness.

Such side effects as severe drowsiness or confusion are more likely to happen in senior patients.

This is not a complete list of side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

Keep in Mind

Before usage, please, consult your physician to ensure the information mentioned above applies to your case. Do not forget to inform your doctor about any other currently taken drugs, or some special circumstances: allergies, breastfeeding, pregnancy, etc.

Do not share your medicine with any other person, even if the symptoms are similar to yours.

Keep away from children’s reach. Store the medication in a dark and dry ventilated place away from direct sunlight.

Inform your doctor in case of no positive dynamics. If you experience any strong side effects, inform your physician immediately.