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Chlorpheniramine Maleate Drug Overview

written by: Leigh A. Zaykoski•edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski•updated: 8/31/2009

Chlorpheniramine maleate is a drug that combines an antihistamine and decongestant for the treatment of symptoms associated with colds and sinus infections. Learn about its uses, side effects, contraindications and potential drug interactions in this article.

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    Uses

    This drug can be used to treat the symptoms of colds and viruses that cause nasal congestion, runny nose, watery eyes and sneezing. It is also used to treat the symptoms of hay fever and other upper respiratory infections. The decongestant in this drug reduces swelling of the blood vessels in the nose, which reduces congestion. The antihistamine blocks the production of histamine, which is known to cause sneezing, watery eyes and a runny nose.

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    Drug Administration

    This drug should be taken exactly as the prescription label indicates. Follow your doctor or pharmacist’s instructions on how to take chlorpheniramine maleate to ensure the best results. Do not take more medication than prescribed, as dangerous side effects can occur. Do not stop using this drug without consulting with a medical professional.

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    Contraindications

    This drug contains a decongestant, so it should not be used by anyone who has heart disease or severe hypertension (high blood pressure). If you take antidepressants in the class known as MAO inhibitors, you should not take this drug. If you are allergic to any ingredients contained in this drug, do not take it or a serious allergic reaction can occur. If you have an enlarged prostate, difficulty urinating, bronchial asthma, overactive thyroid, chronic lung disease, stomach obstructions or peptic ulcers, inform your doctor. You may need careful monitoring or a special dose of this drug.

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    Side Effects

    Because this drug contains an antihistamine and decongestant, it has several potential side effects. The decongestant in chlorpheniramine maleate can cause a rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, a drop in blood pressure upon standing, palpitations, dry nose and throat and a sore throat. Other potential side effects include blurred vision, double vision, tinnitus, fatigue, headache, confusion, loss of coordination, dizziness, euphoria, drowsiness, constipation, dry mouth, diarrhea, difficulty urinating, increased appetite, chest tightness, respiratory depression and wheezing.

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    Drug Interactions

    Chlorpheniramine maleate may interact with several types of drugs, causing undesirable side effects or life-threatening interactions. Use this drug with caution if you take asthma medications, methyldopa, mecamylamine, bromocriptine, phenytoin, reserpine, tranquilizers and sleep aids. Check with your doctor if any signs or symptoms of a drug interaction occur, as these interactions can be severe.