What is brompheniramine maleate pseudoephedrine hydrochloride and dextromethorphan hydrobromide used for?

Brompheniramine maleate pseudoephedrine hydrochloride and dextromethorphan hydrobromide are active ingredients found in some over-the-counter cold and allergy medications. This combination of medications is used to temporarily relieve symptoms caused by the common cold, flu, allergies, hay fever, and other upper respiratory allergies and infections. The three active ingredients work together to provide multi-symptom relief from nasal and sinus congestion, runny nose, sneezing, itchy/watery eyes, coughing, sore throat pain, and head congestion and pressure.

Brompheniramine Maleate

Brompheniramine maleate is an antihistamine that works by blocking the effects of histamine, a natural chemical in the body that is released during allergic reactions. Histamine causes symptoms like itching, sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes. By blocking histamine, brompheniramine maleate provides relief from allergy symptoms.

Some key points about brompheniramine maleate:

  • Provides temporary relief of symptoms caused by hay fever, upper respiratory allergies, and the common cold.
  • Relieves runny nose, sneezing, itchy/watery eyes, and itchy throat/nose/roof of mouth.
  • Starts working within 1 hour and effects can last up to 6 hours.
  • Causes drowsiness, so avoid activities requiring mental alertness like driving.
  • Should not be used by people with glaucoma, enlarged prostate, or breathing issues like asthma.

Pseudoephedrine Hydrochloride

Pseudoephedrine hydrochloride is a nasal decongestant that works by narrowing blood vessels in the nasal passages. This shrinks swollen nasal tissues and sinuses, opening up congested airways to provide relief from sinus pressure, nasal congestion, and head congestion.

Key details about pseudoephedrine hydrochloride:

  • Relieves sinus congestion/pressure, nasal congestion, and head congestion caused by colds, flu, hay fever, and sinusitis.
  • Starts working within 30 minutes and can last up to 6 hours.
  • May cause side effects like insomnia, anxiety, restlessness, tremors, rapid heartbeat.
  • Should not be used by people with heart disease, high blood pressure, thyroid disease, diabetes, or enlarged prostate.
  • Pseudoephedrine is a stimulant, so avoid taking late afternoon or evening as it can disrupt sleep.

Dextromethorphan Hydrobromide

Dextromethorphan hydrobromide is an antitussive (cough suppressant) that works by suppressing the cough reflex in the brain. This provides temporary relief for coughing caused by minor throat and bronchial irritation from colds, flu, and allergies.

Details about dextromethorphan hydrobromide:

  • Relieves cough due to minor throat and bronchial irritation.
  • Non-narcotic cough suppressant that starts working within 15-30 minutes.
  • Effects can last for up to 6 hours.
  • Can cause drowsiness, avoid driving or operating machinery.
  • Should not be used by people with breathing issues like asthma or emphysema.

Uses and Benefits

Brompheniramine maleate, pseudoephedrine hydrochloride and dextromethorphan hydrobromide combination medications provide multi-symptom relief for colds, allergies, hay fever, and upper respiratory infections. Some key uses and benefits include:

  • Relief of congestion and pressure – Pseudoephedrine hydrochloride provides decongestant action to relieve sinus pressure, nasal congestion, and head congestion.
  • Runny nose relief – The antihistamine brompheniramine maleate dries up excess mucus production to alleviate a runny nose.
  • Cough suppression – Dextromethorphan hydrobromide suppresses the cough reflex to relieve coughing.
  • Allergy symptom relief – Brompheniramine relieve allergy symptoms like sneezing, itchy eyes, and runny nose.
  • Multi-symptom relief – The combination treats multiple cold and allergy symptoms with just one medicine.
  • Non-habit forming – These medications are not habit forming when used as directed.

Having all three ingredients allows this type of cold medicine to provide complete relief for the most bothersome upper respiratory symptoms. The multi-symptom relief can provide welcomed relief when you’re dealing with allergy issues or fighting a cold or sinus infection.

Drug Interactions and Side Effects

The combination of an antihistamine, decongestant, and cough suppressant can provide effective relief for cold and allergy symptoms. However, the multi-ingredient formulation also has potential interactions and side effects to be aware of.

Drug Interactions

These medications may interact with other drugs or health conditions, including:

  • MAO inhibitors – Dangerous interaction, do not use.
  • Blood pressure medications – Pseudoephedrine may decrease effectiveness.
  • Diabetes medications – Pseudoephedrine may impact blood sugar control.
  • Thyroid medications – Pseudoephedrine may impact treatment effects.
  • Heart disease – Pseudoephedrine acts as a stimulant and may worsen conditions.
  • Enlarged prostate – Pseudoephedrine makes symptoms worse.
  • Glaucoma – Brompheniramine can increase intraocular pressure.

Always check with your pharmacist or doctor for potential medication interactions when using new medicines. Be sure to disclose all prescription drugs, OTC drugs, herbal products, or dietary supplements you may be taking.

Side Effects

Possible side effects may include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Excitement or restlessness (pseudoephedrine effect)
  • Nausea, vomiting, upset stomach
  • Constipation
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry mouth, nose, and throat
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Insomnia
  • Rapid heartbeat (pseudoephedrine effect)

Side effect risk is increased by exceeding the recommended dosage, combining with alcohol, or interacting with other medications. Seek medical care if you experience severe side effects.

Proper Use

To properly use brompheniramine maleate, pseudoephedrine hydrochloride and dextromethorphan hydrobromide combination medications:

  • Carefully follow dosage instructions on the label or from your doctor.
  • Do not exceed recommended doses. Taking more than directed does not increase effectiveness and can raise side effect risk.
  • Avoid alcohol while taking these medications as it increases drowsiness.
  • Check with your doctor before taking if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, enlarged prostate, or glaucoma.
  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all prescription and non-prescription drugs you take to check for interactions.
  • If being used for a chronic cough, see your doctor if symptoms last more than 7 days or recur frequently.
  • Discontinue use and contact your doctor if side effects are severe or if you experience adverse reactions.

Properly following dosage guidelines provides the intended multi-symptom cold and allergy relief while minimizing potential side effects.


There are some important warnings to know when using combination brompheniramine maleate, pseudoephedrine hydrochloride and dextromethorphan hydrobromide medications:

  • Do not take if you have severe high blood pressure or severe heart conditions.
  • Do not use if you have glaucoma or trouble urinating due to an enlarged prostate.
  • Do not take with MAO inhibitors or within 2 weeks of stopping an MAO inhibitor drug.
  • Do not use if you are allergic to any of the ingredient medications.
  • May cause drowsiness or dizziness, avoid driving or operating machinery.
  • Avoid alcohol while taking this medication as it increases drowsiness.
  • Pseudoephedrine may cause difficulty sleeping if taken too close to bedtime.
  • Do not use if you have a chronic cough due to smoking, asthma, or emphysema.
  • Do not exceed recommended doses, doing so increases side effect risk.

Always read the warning label on any medications closely for potential risks prior to use. Consult your doctor before using if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or questions.

When to Seek Medical Care

Seek prompt medical care if you experience:

  • Severe allergic reaction – Difficulty breathing, swelling, rash, itching.
  • Chest pain or irregular heartbeats from pseudoephedrine.
  • Urinary retention from enlarged prostate enlargement.
  • Severe excitability, anxiety, confusion, hallucinations.
  • Seizures
  • Jaundice or liver dysfunction – Yellowing skin/eyes, dark urine, abdominal pain.

Also get medical help if symptoms don’t improve after 7 days of treatment or if they recur frequently. Persistent cough may be a sign of an underlying chronic condition requiring different treatment.


The combination of brompheniramine maleate, pseudoephedrine hydrochloride, and dextromethorphan hydrobromide provides multi-symptom relief by targeting runny nose, congestion, sneezing, itchy eyes, cough, sore throat, and head/sinus pressure associated with colds and allergies. Using these ingredients together offers more complete relief than taking the medications individually. However, the combined formulation also increases potential side effects and drug interactions. Properly following dosage guidelines, avoiding alcohol, and screening for interactions minimizes adverse risks so you can safely obtain temporary relief of your worst cold and allergy symptoms.

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