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Benzydamine - Brand name: Difflam

On this page

  1. About benzydamine
  2. Key facts
  3. Who can and cannot use benzydamine
  4. How and when to use benzydamine
  5. Side effects
  6. Pregnancy and breastfeeding
  7. Cautions with other medicines
  8. Common questions about benzydamine

1. About benzydamine

Benzydamine is an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) that reduces pain and swelling (inflammation). It’s used for:

It comes as mouthwash, mouth spray and lozenges.

Benzydamine is available on prescription or to buy from a pharmacy.

2. Key facts

  • You’ll usually use benzydamine mouthwash, mouth spray or lozenges for up to 7 days.
  • Your symptoms will usually start to improve a few minutes after using the spray or mouthwash, or sucking a benzydamine lozenge. The effects should last for a few hours.
  • The mouthwash and spray contain alcohol.
  • Do not give benyzdamine mouthwash to anyone under 13 because it contains a lot of alcohol. It's OK for children to have the spray from 1 month upwards.
  • You may get a stinging or numb feeling in your mouth.

3. Who can and cannot use benzydamine

Most adults can use benzydamine.

The mouthwash is only suitable for children aged 13 and older.

The spray can be given to children and babies from 1 month.

Only children aged 6 and over can have benzydamine lozenges.

Benzydamine is not suitable for some people. Tell your doctor or pharmacist before using benzydamine if you:

  • have ever had an allergic reaction to benzydamine or any other medicine
  • have ever had an allergic reaction to NSAIDs, including aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen
  • have ever had a runny nose, rash or swelling of the skin (angioedema) or started wheezing after taking NSAIDs
  • have liver disease (or have had this in the past)
  • have epilepsy or have ever had seizures or fits
  • are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or breastfeeding.

4. How and when to use benzydamine

Follow the instructions that come with your medicine. Keep benzydamine away from your eyes.

If your symptoms do not improve after 7 days, speak to a doctor, dentist or pharmacist about it. Do not use benzydamine for more than 7 days unless they say it is OK.

Dosage for mouthwash

The usual dose is 15ml for adults and children aged 13 years and older. Use the measuring cup that comes with your medicine so you get the right dose.

How to use the mouthwash

Gargle with the mouthwash or rinse it around your mouth for about 20 to 30 seconds, then spit it out. Do not swallow the mouthwash.

Wait at least 1 hour and 30 minutes between doses.

Dosage for mouth spray

The usual dose for:

  • adults is 4 to 8 sprays
  • ages 13 to 17 years is 4 to 8 sprays
  • ages 6 to 12 years is 4 sprays

For children 5 and under, and children who are teething, your doctor or pharmacist, will use your child's weight to work out the right dose.

How to use the mouth spray

Wait at least 1 hour and 30 minutes between doses.

There is a plastic tube called a spray arm at the top of the bottle. This helps a sore throat because the spray can reach the back of the throat to control the pain.

  1. Hold the bottle in an upright position and gently lift the spray arm so it’s sticking straight out.
  2. When using the spray for the first time, point the spray arm away from your face and press the plunger at the top of the bottle a few times until a fine mist comes out.
  3. Aim the spray arm at the sore part of your throat or mouth and press the plunger. Press the plunger 4 times if your dose is 4 sprays, 8 times for 8 sprays.
  4. Wipe the end of the spray arm with a clean tissue when you have finished. This will stop it becoming blocked.
  5. Push the spray arm down, to rest against the side of the bottle.

How to take lozenges

When taking a lozenge, put it in your mouth and allow to dissolve slowly. Do not chew or swallow it whole. You can have 1 lozenge up to 3 times a day.

What if I forget to use it?

If you forget to use the mouthwash, use it as soon as you remember, then take your next dose as normal.

If you forget to use the mouth spray or have a lozenge, just skip the missed dose and take your next dose as normal.

Leave at least 1 hour and 30 minutes between doses. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed dose.

What if I use too much?

If you use more than the recommended amount of mouthwash (without swallowing) number of sprays, or lozenges, you are very unlikely to get any serious side effects.

Urgent advice: Contact 111 for advice now if:

  • you have taken too much and are not feeling well

Go to 111.nhs.uk or call 111

If you need advice for a child under the age of 5 years, call 111.

If you need to go to A&E, do not drive yourself. Get someone else to drive you or call for an ambulance.

Take the benzydamine packet or leaflet inside it, plus any remaining medicine, with you.

5. Side effects

Like all medicines, benzydamine can cause side effects in some people. But many people have no side effects or only minor ones.

Some people get a stinging feeling or numbness in their mouth after using benzydamine. If you are using the spray, this feeling may last a few minutes.

If you get numbness or stinging with the mouthwash, try adding some water (up to 15ml) to your dose. You can mix the mouthwash and water in a cup or glass if you need to.

Serious allergic reaction

It happens rarely but it is possible to have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to benzydamine.

Immediate action required: Call 999 or go to A&E now if:

  • you get a skin rash that may include itchy, red, swollen, blistered or peeling skin
  • you're wheezing
  • you get tightness in the chest or throat
  • you have trouble breathing or talking
  • your mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat start swelling

You could be having a serious allergic reaction and may need immediate treatment in hospital.

These are not all the side effects of benzydamine. For a full list see the leaflet that comes with your medicine.

Information:

You can report any suspected side effect using the Yellow Card safety scheme.

Visit Yellow Card for further information.

6. Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Pregnancy and benzydamine

Talk to a doctor or pharmacist for advice if you have mouth ulcers or a sore throat. They’ll be able to discuss options, to help you decide what treatments are best for you and your baby.

You may be able to use benzydamine while pregnant, since it mainly stays in the throat area and only small amounts get into the bloodstream. However, it is recommended that benzydamine is used for short periods only (a few days). Ask your doctor or a pharmacist if you need to use it for longer.

Breastfeeding and benzydamine

It’s usually ok to use benzydamine while breastfeeding. Try to use it for as short a time as possible.

There is no information about whether benzydamine passes into breast milk, but it would only be expected to pass through in small amounts. It's unlikely to cause any side effects in your baby.

If you notice that your baby is not feeding as well as usual, or if you have any other concerns about your baby, then talk to your health visitor, midwife or doctor as soon as possible.

Non-urgent advice: Tell your doctor if you're:

  • trying to get pregnant
  • pregnant
  • breastfeeding

For more information about how NSAIDs can affect you and your baby during pregnancy, read the leaflet on pain relief on the Best Use of Medicines in Pregnancy (BUMPs) website.

7. Cautions with other medicines

Other medicines are unlikely to affect the way benzydamine works. However, it's a good idea to tell your doctor, dentist or pharmacist about all the medicines you are taking

Important: Medicine safety

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you're taking any other medicines, including herbal medicines, vitamins or supplements.

8. Common questions about benzydamine

How does benzydamine work?

Benzydamine is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)

NSAIDs work by reducing the hormones that cause swelling (inflammation) and pain in your body.

Because benzydamine comes as a mouthwash, mouth spray or lozenge, it will only help with pain in the mouth. It will not work on pain in any other part of the body. Benzydamine helps with the symptoms of mouth ulcers, sore throats or when babies are teething.

When will my symptoms improve?

When you take benzydamine as a mouthwash, spray or lozenge, it takes a few minutes to start working.

How long will I need to use it for?

You will usually use benzydamine mouthwash or spray for a maximum of 7 days.

Speak to a doctor, dentist or a pharmacist if your symptoms have not improved. Only continue to use benzydamine for more than 7 days if they say it is OK to.

Can I drink alcohol with it?

It’s usually OK to drink alcohol when using benzydamine.

Do not swallow benzydamine mouthwash because:

  • it contains a lot of alcohol
  • if swallowed in large amounts, it can cause an upset stomach

Benzydamine mouth spray also contains some alcohol.

Is there any food or drink I need to avoid?

You can eat and drink normally while using benzydamine. However, remember that the mouthwash and spray contain alcohol.

Will affect my fertility?

Benzydamine mouthwash or spray does not seem to affect fertility in men or women.

Will it affect my contraception?

Benzydamine will not affect contraception, including the combined pill or emergency contraception.

What happens if I swallow benzydamine mouthwash?

Benzydamine is unlikely to cause any side effects or problems if you swallow your normal dose as a one-off. If swallowed in large amounts, it can cause a tummy upset.

Can benzydamine help with mouth ulcers if I’m having chemotherapy?

Benzydamine is not used for treating mouth ulcers caused by chemotherapy.

If you are bothered by mouth ulcers or a sore mouth, speak to your cancer nurse. They will be able to give you advice about what to do and what might help.

Can I drive or ride a bike?

Yes. You can drive or ride a bike when using benzydamine.

What else can help with mouth ulcers or a sore throat?

If you have a sore throat or mouth ulcer, there are a number of things you can do to help yourself.

Paracetamol can help with the pain. For adults, gargling with warm, salty water may also help. However, this is not recommended for children.

Pharmacies and supermarkets sell other types of medicated lozenges that contain either a local anaesthetic or antiseptic. Some people find this helps with their pain.

For a sore throat, see your doctor if it does not improve after a week, as you may need a different treatment.

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Page last reviewed: 10 June 2021
Next review due: 10 June 2024