Medically reviewed by, Russell Braun RPH
Reviews are a great way to help determine if a product is right for you. However, should you trust a review of a drug such as Tessalon Perles from a patient? Do they have the same cause for their cough as you? What about other disease states they have…does that match up to your situation?
Reviews of medication need to take these things into account because this is not like reading a review on a big screen TV. So, how can you get the review information needed to know if Tessalon Perles work or not?
A summary of patient reviews can be found at the end of the article. Before jumping into patient reviews lets look at a few important points on Tessalon Perles.
1. What are Tessalon Perles used for?
Benzonatate (Ben-ZOE-na-tate) is the generic name of Tessalon Perles. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Tessalon for relief from the symptoms of cough.
Typically, cough is caused by a viral respiratory tract infection. Several different types of viruses can be the culprit. Similarly, other causes include bacteria, allergies, disease states and environmental factors.
2. How do Tessalon Perles work?
Tessalon is an anesthetic agent, which simply means it acts by numbing. Specifically, it works on stretch receptors that are found in respiratory passages. These receptors are found in the lungs and pleura, which is a protective lining around the lungs. When the stretch receptors are numbed they don’t send impulses to the brain telling it to cough.
3. When should you consider using Tessalon?
The cough reflex is the bodies way of protecting the lungs from things that could get in the airways and prevent breathing. When infections set in and mucous is produced it can block airways. Therefore, suppressing the cough reflex would be a bad idea as you could not get the phlegm and mucous out of the lungs.
There are times when coughing doesn’t eliminate any mucous or phlegm from the lungs. This is known as a dry cough and that is when cough suppressants are most needed. Another strong case for cough suppressants are when the patient can’t sleep due to constant coughing.
4. Are Tessalon Perles safe?
Tessalon Perles have been available in the U.S. since the late 1950’s. In 2017 there were over 4.3 million prescriptions filled for benzonatate or Tessalon. Any drug that has that much time on the market and volume of prescriptions can be considered relatively safe.
As with any drug though side effects can occur. Overdose can lead to serious consequences. To ensure safe usage only take as prescribed by your doctor and do not use more than 200mg per dose, or 600mg per day. If a dose is missed then skip that dose and do not take it at the same time as your next dose.
Finally, Tessalon Perles should not be used in children under the age of 10. The FDA has issued a warning as well that the perles can look attractive to children and they should be stored in a safe place out of reach of youngsters.
5. What are the side effects?
When taken at proper dosages risk of side effects are low. Proper use of the perle dosage form is important. The perles are really just liquid filled capsules. Numbness of the mouth and throat can occur if the perles are chewed, crushed or sucked on.
For more detailed information on side effects read 13 Important Details About Using Benzonatate for Sore Throat.
Do Tessalon Perles make you sleepy?
Drowsiness is an effect that patients who take Tessalon Perles may experience. However, this is often viewed as a relief because the coughing has been keeping them awake and sleep is much needed. Overall, sleeping when sick helps speed time to healing as well.
6. What other cough products are available?
Tessalon perles require a prescription from your doctor. Other narcotic cough suppressants are also prescription only. In contrast, there are many brands of over the counter (OTC) cough suppressants. All those brands contain the active ingredient dextromethorphan as the cough suppressant.
Examples of OTC cough suppressants:
- Triaminic cough and cold
- Robitussin cough
- Vicks 44 cough and cold
- Deslym (12 hour long acting formula)
Over the counter cough suppressants can be confusing as they often have several different active ingredients. Be careful of products that have several different ingredients and look for the one that is needed for specific symptoms. Antihistamines and decongestants can make it harder to expel mucus from the airways. A pharmacist is a great resource to use to ensure the right product is selected.
Another agent shown to be effective in reducing cough symptoms is honey. Several brands are available, and using just a teaspoonful three times a day is very effective. For more on over the counter options and cost check out 9 Tips to Remember When Looking for Tessalon Perles Over the Counter.
7. Is Tessalon aka Benzonatate better than cough syrup?
There are no head to head studies showing that Tessalon perles are better or worse than other cough suppressants. The main difference between Tessalon and other prescription cough suppressants is that is non-narcotic.
Due to the opiod crisis in recent years, many doctors have cut back on writing prescriptions for narcotic cough suppressants. This is out of fear that they could be abused. Therefore, patients looking to stay away from opiod narcotics may view this as a benefit of Tessalon.
8. What combination treatment is best?
Often when patients are sick they will go to the pharmacy and buy a host of cold and flu treatments to help them feel better. There are no good clinical trials that confirm these combinations work. Therefore, the purchases out of desperation for relief from symptoms may be a waste of money.
One combination that does have evidence behind it is Tessalon perles 200mg with guaifenesin 600mg. This study on viral cough showed the combination to be more effective than either agent by itself. Guaifenasin is sold under many brand names the most common being Mucinex. However, the generic is cheaper and works just as well.
9. Tessalon Perle Reviews summary
The table below summarizes the patient reviews that have been aggregated by some large healthcare websites. In summary, tessalon perle reviews averaged about 60% approval overall from patients.
|Website||Number of Reviews||Average Rating|
|Drugs.com||112||6 out of 10|
|webMD.com||345||3.7 out of 5|
|AskaPatient.com||85||2.3 out of 5|
|Everydayhealth.com||477||2.5 out of 5|
10. Remember the grain of salt!
As previously noted, patient reviews can vary widely. Some claim Tessalon perles the “best drug ever”, while some call it “junk”. The only time a review should sway a decision is if the reviewer lays out their reason for coughing and it matches yours. Even then differences in disease states from person to person can affect how a drug will work.
11. Consider the cost to try it for yourself
Tessalon perles are available generically. The cost for 30 capsules, which is a 10 day supply, is $10 according to GoodRx. You could easily send more than that on over the counter cough remedies that may or may not work. Therefore, the next time you have a cough ask your doctor if trying Tessalon perles would be a good option for you.
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Share your story!
Have you tried Tessalon perles? Did it help stop your cough? Please chime in below with your comments and thoughts below