Also known as: Fexofenadine
Cough/cold combinations are used mainly to relieve the cough due to colds, influenza, or hay fever. They are not to be used for the chronic cough that occurs with smoking, asthma, or emphysema or when there is an unusually large amount of mucus or phlegm (pronounced flem) with the cough.
Cough/cold combination products contain more than one ingredient. For example, some products may contain an antihistamine, a decongestant, and an analgesic, in addition to a medicine for coughing. If you are treating yourself, it is important to select a product that is best for your symptoms. Also, in general, it is best to buy a product that includes only those medicines you really need. If you have questions about which product to buy, check with your pharmacist.
Since different products contain ingredients that will have different precautions and side effects, it is important that you know the ingredients of the medicine you are taking. The different kinds of ingredients that may be found in cough/cold combinations include:
Antihistamines—Antihistamines are used to relieve or prevent the symptoms of hay fever and other types of allergy. They also help relieve some symptoms of the common cold, such as sneezing and runny nose. They work by preventing the effects of a substance called histamine, which is produced by the body. Some examples of antihistamines contained in these combinations are:
Bromodiphenhydramine Brompheniramine Carbinoxamine Chlorpheniramine Dexchlorpheniramine Diphenhydramine Doxylamine Phenindamine Pheniramine Phenyltoloxamine Pyrilamine Promethazine Triprolidine
Decongestants—Decongestants produce a narrowing of blood vessels. This leads to clearing of nasal congestion. However, this effect may also increase blood pressure in patients who have high blood pressure. These include:
Ephedrine Phenylephrine Pseudoephedrine
Antitussives—Antitussives help relieve coughing and are some contain a narcotic. These antitussives act directly on the cough center in the brain. Narcotics may become habit-forming, causing mental or physical dependence, if used for a long time. Physical dependence may lead to withdrawal side effects when you stop taking the medicine.
Narcotic antitussives Codeine Dihydrocodeine Hydrocodone Hydromorphone
Non-narcotic antitussives Carbetapentane Caramiphen Dextromethorphan
Expectorants—Expectorants work by loosening the mucus or phlegm in the lungs. The main expectorant used in cough and cold medicines is guaifenesin. Other ingredients added as expectorants (for example, ammonium chloride, calcium iodide, iodinated glycerol, ipecac, potassium guaiacolsulfonate, potassium iodide, and sodium citrate) have not been proven to be effective. In general, the best thing you can do to loosen mucus or phlegm is to drink plenty of water.
Analgesics—Analgesics are used in these combination medicines to help relieve the aches and pain that may occur with the common cold. These include:
Acetaminophen Aspirin Other salicylates such as salicylamide and sodium salicylate
The use of too much acetaminophen and salicylates at the same time may cause kidney damage or cancer of the kidney or urinary bladder. This may occur if large amounts of both medicines are taken together for a long time. However, taking the recommended amounts of combination medicines that contain both acetaminophen and a salicylate for short periods of time has not been shown to cause these unwanted effects.
Anticholinergics—Anticholinergics, such as homatropine may help produce a drying effect in the nose and chest.
These cough and cold combinations are available both over-the-counter (OTC) and with your doctor's prescription.
Do not give any over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold medicine to a baby or child under 4 years of age. Using these medicines in very young children might cause serious or possibly life-threatening side effects .
This section provides information on the proper use of a number of products that contain fexofenadine. It may not be specific to Alafex ODT. Please read with care.
You should always take this medicine with water. Do not take it with juice such as grapefruit, orange, or apple juice .
You should NOT take antacids that contain aluminum or magnesium hydroxide within 15 minutes of taking this medicine. If you are uncertain about this, ask your doctor or pharmacist .
For patients using the oral disintegrating tablet form of this medicine:
Make sure your hands are dry. Do not push the tablet through the foil backing of the package. Instead, gently peel back the foil backing and remove the tablet. Immediately place the tablet on top of the tongue. Do not chew or break the tablet. The tablet will dissolve in seconds, and you may swallow it with your saliva. You may drink a glass of water after the tablet has dissolved. Always take this tablet on an empty stomach .
Shake the oral liquid well before using it. Measure the liquid with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup .
The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
For symptoms of hay fever: For oral dosage form (capsules, tablets): Adults and children 12 years of age and older—60 milligrams (mg) two times a day, or 180 mg once a day. Children 6 to 11 years of age—30 mg two times a day. Children 4 to 6 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor . Children and infants up to 4 years of age—Use is not recommended . For oral dosage form (disintegrating tablets): Children 6 to 11 years of age—30 milligrams (mg) two times a day, on an empty stomach. Children 4 to 6 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor . Children and infants up to 4 years of age—Use is not recommended . For oral dosage form (suspension): Children 4 to 11 years of age—30 milligrams (mg) or 5 milliliters (mL) two times a day. Children younger than 4 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor .
For symptoms of chronic hives: For oral dosage form (capsules, tablets): Adults and children 12 years of age and older—60 milligrams (mg) two times a day, or 180 mg once a day. Children 4 to 11 years of age—30 mg two times a day. Children younger than 4 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor . For oral dosage form (disintegrating tablets): Children 4 to 11 years of age—30 milligrams (mg) two times a day, on an empty stomach. Children younger than 4 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor . For oral dosage form (suspension): Children 4 to 11 years of age—30 milligrams (mg) or 5 milliliters (mL) two times a day. Children 6 months to 4 years of age—15 mg or 2.5 mL two times a day. Children younger than 6 months of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor .
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F) and away from excess moisture and heat. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date. Keep out of the reach of children.