Cyproheptadine (patient information)
Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. 
[Posted 01/12/2007] The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) article describing three deaths in U.S. infants aged less than 12 months associated with cough and cold medications. These medications were determined by medical examiners or coroners to be the underlying cause of death. The cases described in this report underscore the need for clinicians to use caution when prescribing and caregivers to use caution when administering cough and cold medications to children aged less than 2 years. For more information visit the FDA website at: http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/safety/2007/safety07.htm#coughcold and http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5601a1.htm.
Why this medication is prescribed
Cyproheptadine, an antihistamine, relieves red, irritated, itchy, watery eyes; sneezing; and runny nose caused by allergies, hay fever, and the common cold. It may also relieve the itching of insect bites, bee stings, poison ivy, and poison oak.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How this medication should be used
Cyproheptadine comes as tablets and a liquid to take by mouth. It usually is taken two or three times a day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take cyproheptadine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Other uses for this medicine
Cyproheptadine also is used to stimulate appetite and weight gain. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this drug for your condition.
Before taking cyproheptadine:
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to cyproheptadine or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially other medications for allergies or colds, medications for depression or seizures, muscle relaxants, narcotics (pain medications), sedatives, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, and vitamins. Do not use cyproheptadine if you have taken an MAO inhibitor [phenelzine (Nardil) or tranylcypromine (Parnate)] in the last 2 weeks.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had asthma, diabetes, glaucoma, ulcers, difficulty urinating (due to an enlarged prostate gland), heart disease, high blood pressure, seizures, or an overactive thyroid gland.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking cyproheptadine, call your doctor.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking cyproheptadine.
- you should know that this drug may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this drug affects you.
- remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this drug.
Minor side effects
Cyproheptadine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- dry mouth, nose, and throat
- upset stomach
- chest congestion
Severe side effects
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- excitement (especially in children)
- muscle weakness
- difficulty urinating
- vision problems
- skin rash
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report.htm] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
Storage conditions needed for this medication
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.