|Type of medicine||Antihistamine|
|Used for||Relief of allergic conditions, sickness, vertigo (loss of balance or co-ordination), and to prevent travel sickness|
|Also called||Promethazine hydrochloride
|Available as||Tablets, oral liquid and injection|
Promethazine belongs to the group of medicines known as antihistamines. It is used to relieve allergies such as hayfever and allergic skin rashes.
Exposure to substances such as pollen, pet fur, house dust mite or an insect bite can cause your body to produce a chemical called histamine. The release of histamine causes allergic symptoms which can include sneezing, runny or watery eyes and nose, itching and skin rashes. Antihistamines like promethazine reduce the effects of histamine and help to relieve these symptoms.
Promethazine can also be used to treat sickness, vertigo (loss of balance or dizziness), and to prevent travel sickness. Because promethazine causes drowsiness, it may also occasionally be used for short periods of time to treat insomnia (difficulty sleeping) in adults.
Before taking promethazine
Before taking promethazine make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have heart, liver or kidney problems.
- If you have glaucoma (increased pressure in your eye).
- If you suffer from epilepsy.
- If you have prostate problems, or have been experiencing difficulty passing urine.
- If you know you have a blockage in your small intestines, or if you have been constipated for over a week.
- If you have a long-term breathing problem such as asthma, or bronchitis.
- If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or to any other medicine.
How to take promethazine
- Take promethazine exactly as your doctor, dentist or pharmacist has told you to.
- If you are taking this medicine for travel sickness, usually the first dose should be taken one or two hours before travelling if you are going on a short journey, and the night before travel if you are going on a long journey. This advice may differ depending on which brand of promethazine you are taking so make sure you read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet which comes with your supply.
- If you are taking promethazine to help you sleep (in adults only), take one tablet at bedtime.
- Do not take promethazine for more than 7 days unless you have been advised to do so by your doctor.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Promethazine may cause drowsiness. Do not to drink alcohol while you are taking promethazine as it increases these feelings of drowsiness.
- If you are having any treatment like an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking promethazine.
- Promethazine may cause your skin to become more sensitive to sunlight. Use a sunscreen that protects against UVA light and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 until you know how your skin reacts. Do not use sunbeds.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with promethazine.
Can promethazine cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, all medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common side-effects||What can I do if I experience this|
|Drowsiness, dizziness and blurred vision||Make sure your reactions are normal before driving, operating machinery or doing any other jobs which would be dangerous if you are not fully alert or able to see properly. Avoid alcohol|
|Headache||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headaches continue, speak with your doctor|
|Dry mouth||Try chewing sugar-free gum or sweets|
|Difficulty passing urine||Speak with your doctor if this becomes troublesome|
|Stomach upset||Eat little and often. Stick to simple foods|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store promethazine
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 60th Edition (September 2010) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Phenergan® 10 mg Tablets; Manufacturer's PIL, Phenergan® 10 mg Tablets, sanofi-aventis, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated August 2009.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Sominex® Tablets; Manufacturer's PIL, Sominex® Tablets, Actavis UK Ltd, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated August 2010.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen|
|Last Checked: 23/03/2011||Document ID: 3879 Version: 25||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.