How Long Does Tussionex Stay in Your System?

This cough medicine contains hydrocodone

Cough Syrup Bottle
How Long Does Tussionex Stay in the Boyd?. © Getty Images

Tussionex is a potent cough medicine containing chlorpheniramine, an antihistamine, and hydrocodone, a narcotic pain reliever. It's only available by prescription. Hydrocodone, also found in prescription painkillers such as Vicodin, is an opioid with a high potential for abuse, especially among recovering addicts. 

For many people dealing with a persistent cough, codeine-based medications are highly effective and provide relief (and more importantly for some patients, help make sleep possible).

But it's a good idea to know what potential problems Tussionex might present. 

Tussionex and Addiction

If you're in recovery for drug or alcohol abuse, you may want to consider asking your health care provider whether this is the best cough medication for you. Be sure he or she knows your history in regards to drug or alcohol addiction, so he or she can properly assess the potential impact on your recovery. In addition to being addictive, opioids can cause problems for alcoholics in recovery who have liver disease, particularly cirrhosis. 

If your health care provider believes the benefits of taking Tussionex outweighs the risks of your addiction relapsing, be sure to take it only as long as prescribed and discard any that may be left over. 

Tussionex and Drug Tests

If you're taking Tussionex, be advised that it will show up on some drug tests. It may be "visible" for up to three months in many tests, but trying to estimate how long Tussionex is can be detected in the body depends on many variables, including which kind of drug test is being used.

How easily Tussionex will be detected will also vary depending on the person; factors such as how old you are, your weight, your metabolism, how physically active you are and any other health conditions will all have an impact. It's not possible to determine an exact time Tussionex will show up on a drug test.

The following is an estimated range of times, or detection windows, during which the hydrocodone in Tussionex can be detected by various testing methods:

  • Tussionex can be detected in the urine between 8 and 24 hours
  • A blood test can identify Tussionex for up to 12 hours.
  • A saliva test can detect Tussionex for up to two days
  • Tussionex, like many other drugs, can be detected with a hair follicle drug test for up to 90 days.

Preventing a Tussionex Overdose

As with any prescription medication, Tussionex has the potential for side effects, especially when taken with other medications. As with any medication containing hydrocodone, it's possible to overdose on Tussionex. 

An overdose on hydrocodone can be fatal. So take Tussionex only as directed by your healthcare provider, and make sure he or she knows about any other medicines or supplements you're taking. 

Some symptoms of a hydrocodone overdose include:

Call 9-1-1 immediately if you suspect someone is suffering from a hydrocodone overdose. If caught early enough the overdose may be able to be reversed with a treatment of Narcan.

Sources:

American Association for Clinical Chemistry "Drugs of Abuse Testing." Lab Tests Online.

Imani, F. et al "Therapeutic Use of Analgesics in Patients With Liver Cirrhosis" Hepatitis Monthly  Oct.  2014 

OHS Health & Safety Services. "How long do drugs stay in your system?

U.S. National Library of Medicine. "Hydrocodone." Drugs, Herbs, and Supplements. May 2015

U.S. National Library of Medicine. "Chlorpheniramine." Drugs, Herbs, and Supplements. May 2013

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