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Benylin Cold & Flu Max Strength Capsules

Active Ingredient:
paracetamol, caffeine, phenylephrine hydrochloride
McNeil Products Ltd See contact details
ATC code: 
About Medicine
{healthcare_pro_orange} This information is for use by healthcare professionals
Last updated on emc: 14 Mar 2024
1. Name of the medicinal product

Asda Max Strength Cold & Flu Capsules, hard

Benylin Cold & Flu Max Strength Capsules, hard

Galpharm Max Strength Cold & Flu Capsules, hard

Lloyds pharmacy Max Strength Cold & Flu Capsules, hard

Morrisons Max Strength Cold & Flu Capsules, hard

Superdrug Max Strength Cold & Flu Capsules, hard

Tesco Health Max Strength Cold & Flu Capsules, hard

Co-op Max Strength Cold & Flu Capsules

Wilko Max Strength Cold & Flu Capsules, hard

Boots Max Strength Cold & Flu Relief Capsules, hard

Numark Max Strength Cold & Flu Capsules, hard

Tesco Max Cold & Flu Relief Capsules, hard

Sainsbury's Healthcare Max Strength Cold & Flu Capsules, hard

Health Essentials Max Strength Cold & Flu Capsules, hard

Optipharma Max Strength Cold & Flu Capsules, hard

2. Qualitative and quantitative composition

Active Ingredient






Phenylephrine Hydrochloride


For a full list of excipients, see section 6.1.

3. Pharmaceutical form

Capsule, hard [Capsule].

Red/yellow hard gelatin capsules containing the drug product, an off-white powder.

4. Clinical particulars
4.1 Therapeutic indications

For the relief of symptoms associated with the common cold and influenza, including relief of aches and pains, sore throat, headaches, fatigue and drowsiness, nasal congestion and lowering of temperature.

4.2 Posology and method of administration

Route of administration: Oral

Swallow whole with water. Do not chew.

For all indications:

Adults, the elderly and children aged 16 years and over:

Two capsules every 4 to 6 hours when necessary to a maximum of 8 capsules (4 doses) in 24 hours.

Leave at least 4 to 6 hours between doses.

Do not take more than 8 capsules (4 doses) in any 24 hours.

Dosage should not be continued for longer than 3 days without consulting a doctor.

Children under 16 years:

Not to be used unless recommended by a doctor.

4.3 Contraindications


Hypersensitivity to paracetamol or any of the other constituents.


Should be given with care to patients with a history of peptic ulcer.

Phenylephrine Hydrochloride:

Severe coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disorders.



Contraindicated in patients currently receiving or within two weeks of stopping therapy with monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

Avoid in patients with prostatic enlargement.

4.4 Special warnings and precautions for use

Care is advised in the administration of paracetamol to patients with severe renal or severe hepatic impairment. The hazards of overdose are greater in those with non-cirrhotic alcoholic liver disease.

Use with caution in patients with Raynaud's Phenomenon and diabetes mellitus.

The following warnings will appear on the pack:-


Do not take anything else containing paracetamol while taking this medicine.

Talk to a doctor at once if you take too much of this medicine, even if you feel well. Do not take more medicine than the label tells you to. If you do not get better, talk to your doctor.

- Keep out of the sight and reach of children.

The Label shall say:

Talk to a doctor at once if you take much of this medicine, even if you feel well.

The Leaflet shall say:

Talk to a doctor at once if you take too much of this medicine even if you feel well. This is because too much paracetamol can cause delayed, serious liver damage. Go to your nearest hospital casualty department. Take your medicine and this leaflet with you.

If you are pregnant or being prescribed medicine by your doctor, seek your doctor's advice before taking this product.

Caution is advised if paracetamol is administered concomitantly with flucloxacillin due to increased risk of high anion gap metabolic acidosis (HAGMA), particularly in patients with severe renal impairment, sepsis, malnutrition and other sources of glutathione deficiency (e.g. chronic alcoholism), as well as those using maximum daily doses of paracetamol. Close monitoring, including measurement of urinary 5-oxoproline, is recommended.

This medicine contains less than 1 mmol sodium (23 mg) per 2 capsules, that is to say essentially 'sodium-free'.

4.5 Interaction with other medicinal products and other forms of interaction

Enzyme-inducing drugs may increase hepatic damage, as does excessive intake of alcohol. The speed of absorption of paracetamol may be increased by metoclopramide or domperidone and absorption reduced by cholestyramine.

These interactions are considered to be of unlikely clinical significance in acute usage at the dosage regimen proposed.

Medical advice should be sought before taking paracetamol-caffeine-phenylephrine in combination with the following drugs:

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (including moclobemide)

Hypertensive interactions occur between sympathomimetic amines such as phenylephrine and monoamine Oxidase inhibitors (see contraindications).

Sympathomimetic amines

Concomitant use of phenylephrine with other sympathomimetics amines can increase the risk of cardiovascular side effects (see warnings and precautions).

Beta-blockers and other antihypertensives (including debrisoquine, guanethidine, reserpine, methyldopa)

Phenylephrine may reduce the efficacy of beta-blocking drugs and antihypertensive drugs. The risk of hypertension and other cardiovascular side effects may be increased (see contraindications).

Tricyclic antidepressants (eg amitriptyline)

May increase the risk of cardiovascular side effects with phenylephrine (see contraindications)

Digoxin and cardiac glycosides

Concomitant use of phenylephrine with digoxin or cardiac glycosides may increase the risk of irregular heartbeat or heart attack

Ergot alkaloids

(ergotamine and methylsergide) increased risk of ergotism

Warfarin and other coumarins

The anticoagulant effect of warfarin and other coumarins may be enhanced by prolonged regular daily use of paracetamol with an increased risk of bleeding; occasional doses have no significant effect.


The speed of absorption of paracetamol may be increased by metoclopramide or domperidone and absorption reduced by colestyramine.

The anticoagulant effect of warfarin and other coumarins may be enhanced by prolonged regular use of paracetamol with increased risk of bleeding; occasional doses have no significant effect.

Drugs which induce hepatic microsomal enzymes, such as alcohol, barbiturates, monoamine oxidase inhibitors and tricyclic antidepressants, may increase the hepatotoxicity of paracetamol, particularly after overdosage.

Contraindicated in patients currently receiving or within two weeks of stopping therapy with monoamine oxidase inhibitors because of a risk of hypertensive crisis.

Caution should be taken when paracetamol is used concomitantly with flucloxacillin as concurrent intake has been associated with high anion gap metabolic acidosis, especially in patients with risk factors (see section 4.4)


Phenylephrine may adversely interact with other sympathomimetics, vasodilators and beta blockers.

4.6 Fertility, pregnancy and lactation


A large amount of data on pregnant women indicate neither malformative, nor feto/neonatal toxicity. Epidemiological studies on neurodevelopment in children exposed to paracetamol in utero show inconclusive results. If clinically needed, paracetamol can be used during pregnancy however it should be used at the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time and at the lowest possible frequency.

Paracetamol is excreted in breast milk but not in a clinically significant amount. Available published data do not contraindicate breast feeding.


Taken during pregnancy, it appears that the half-life of caffeine is prolonged. This is a possible contributing factor in hyperemesis gravidarum (morning sickness). Caffeine appears in breast milk. Irritability and poor sleeping pattern in the infant have been reported.

Phenylephrine Hydrochloride

Due to the vasoconstrictive properties of phenylephrine the product should be used with caution in patients with a history of pre-eclampsia. Phenylephrine may reduce placental perfusion and the product should be used in pregnancy only if the benefits outweigh this risk. There is no information on use in lactation.

4.7 Effects on ability to drive and use machines

None known.

4.8 Undesirable effects


Adverse effects of paracetamol are rare but hypersensitivity including skin rash may occur.

There have been reports of blood dyscrasias including thrombocytopenia and agranulocytosis, but these were not necessarily causally related to paracetamol.

Very rare cases of serious skin reactions have been reported.

CAFFEINE (Day capsule only)

Nausea and insomnia have been noted.


Phenylephrine hydrochloride may elevate blood pressure with headache, vomiting and rarely palpitations; tachycardia or reflex bradycardia; tingling and coolness of the skin. There have been rare reports of allergic reactions. Urinary retention has been reported (unknown frequency). This is most likely to occur in men with an enlarged prostate.

Reporting of suspected adverse reactions

Reporting suspected adverse reactions after authorisation of the medicinal product is important. It allows continued monitoring of the benefit/risk balance of the medicinal product. Healthcare professionals are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions via the Yellow Card Scheme at: or search for MHRA Yellow Card in the Google Play or Apple App Store

4.9 Overdose


Liver damage is possible in adults who have taken 10g or more of paracetamol. Ingestion of 5g or more of paracetamol may lead to liver damage if the patient has risk factors (see below).

Risk factors

If the patient

a) Is on long term treatment with carbamazepine, phenobarbitone, phenytoin, primidone, rifampicin, St John's Wort or other drugs that induce liver enzymes.


b) Regularly consumes ethanol in excess of recommended amounts.


c) Is likely to be glutathione deplete e.g. eating disorders, cystic fibrosis, HIV infection, starvation, cachexia.


Symptoms of paracetamol overdosage in the first 24 hours are pallor, nausea, vomiting, anorexia and abdominal pain. Liver damage may become apparent 12 to 48 hours after ingestion. Abnormalities of glucose metabolism and metabolic acidosis may occur. In severe poisoning, hepatic failure may progress to encephalopathy, haemorrhage, hypoglycaemia, cerebral oedema, and death. Acute renal failure with acute tubular necrosis, strongly suggested by loin pain, haematuria and proteinuria, may develop even in the absence of severe liver damage. Cardiac arrhythmias and pancreatitis have been reported.


Immediate treatment is essential in the management of paracetamol overdose. Despite a lack of significant early symptoms, patients should be referred to hospital urgently for immediate medical attention. Symptoms may be limited to nausea or vomiting and may not reflect the severity of overdose or the risk of organ damage. Management should be in accordance with established treatment guidelines, see British National Formulary (BNF) overdose section.

Treatment with activated charcoal should be considered if the overdose has been taken within 1 hour. Plasma paracetamol concentration should be measured at 4 hours or later after ingestion (earlier concentrations are unreliable). Treatment with N-acetylcysteine may be used up to 24 hours after ingestion of paracetamol, however, the maximum protective effect is obtained up to 8 hours post-ingestion. The effectiveness of the antidote declines sharply after this time. If required the patient should be given intravenous N-acetylcysteine, in line with the established dosage schedule. If vomiting is not a problem, oral methionine may be a suitable alternative for remote areas, outside hospital. Management of patients who present with serious hepatic dysfunction beyond 24 hours from ingestion should be discussed with the National Poisons Information Service (NPIS) or a liver unit.


Doses over 1g are probably necessary to induce toxicity, 2 – 5g to produce severe toxicity and 5 – 10g is likely to be lethal.

Symptoms include: epigastric pain, vomiting, diuresis, tachycardia, CNS stimulation (insomnia, restlessness, excitement, agitation, jitteriness, tremors, convulsions).

No specific antidote is available, reduce or stop dosage and avoid excessive intake of coffee or tea.


Severe overdosage may produce hypertension and associated reflex bradycardia. Treatment measures include early gastric lavage and symptomatic and supportive measures. The hypertensive effects may be treated with an alpha-receptor blocking agent (such as phentolamine mesylate 6 – 10 mg) given intravenously, and the bradycardia treated with atropine, preferably only after the pressure has been controlled.

5. Pharmacological properties
5.1 Pharmacodynamic properties

Pharmacotherapeutic Group:

Other analgesics and antipyretics &

Other cold combination preparations

ATC code:




The mechanism of analgesic action has not been fully determined. Paracetamol may act predominantly by inhibiting a prostaglandin synthesis in the central nervous system (CNS) and to a lesser extent through a peripheral action by blocking pain-impulse generation. The peripheral action may also be due to inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis or to inhibition of the synthesis or actions of other substances that sensities pain receptors to mechanical or chemical stimulation.


Paracetamol probably produces antipyresis by acting on the hypothalamic heat-regulating centre to produce peripheral vasodilation resulting in increased blood flow through the skin, sweating and heat loss. The central action probably involves inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis in the hypothalamus.


Central nervous system stimulant – Caffeine stimulates all levels of the CNS, although its cortical effects are milder and of shorter duration than those of amfetamines.

Analgesia Adjunct:

Caffeine constricts cerebral vasculature with an accompanying decrease in cerebral blood flow and in the oxygen tension of the brain. It is believed that caffeine helps to relieve headaches by providing a more rapid onset of action and/or enhanced pain relief with lower doses of analgesic. Recent studies with ergotamine indicate that the enhancement of effect by the addition of caffeine may also be due to improved gastrointestinal absorption of ergotamine when administered with caffeine.


Sympathomimetic amines, such as phenylephrine, act on alpha-adrenergic receptors of the respiratory tract to produce vasoconstriction, which temporarily reduces the swelling associated with inflammation of the mucous membranes lining the nasal and sinus passages. This allows the free drainage of the sinusoidal fluid from the sinuses.

In addition to reducing mucosal lining swelling, decongestants also suppress the production of mucus, therefore preventing a build up of fluid within the cavities which could otherwise lead to pressure and pain.

5.2 Pharmacokinetic properties


Absorption and Fate

Paracetamol is rapidly absorbed from the gastro-intestinal tract with peak plasma concentrations occurring between 10 and 120 minutes after oral administration. It is metabolised in the liver and excreted in the urine mainly as the glucuronide and sulphate conjugates. Less than 5% is excreted as unchanged paracetamol. The elimination half-life varies from about 1 to 4 hours.

Plasma-protein binding is negligible at usual therapeutic concentrations but increases with increasing concentrations.

A minor hydroxylated metabolite which is usually produced in very small amounts by mixed- function oxidases in the liver and which is usually detoxified by conjugation with liver glutathione may accumulate following paracetamol overdose and cause liver damage.


Absorption and Fate

Caffeine is absorbed readily after oral administration and is widely distributed throughout the body. Caffeine is metabolised almost completely via oxidation, demethylation, and acetylation, and is excreted in the urine as 1-methyluric acid, 1-methylxanthine, 7- methylxanthine, 1,7-dimethylxanthine (paraxanthine), 5-acetylamino-6-formylamino-3- methyluracil (AFMU), and other metabolites with only about 1% unchanged.


Absorption and Fate

Phenylephrine has reduced bioavailability from the gastro-intestinal tract owing to irregular absorption and first-pass metabolism by monoamine oxidase in the gut and liver.

5.3 Preclinical safety data

Conventional studies using the currently accepted standards for the evaluation of toxicity to reproduction and development are not available.

6. Pharmaceutical particulars
6.1 List of excipients

Maize Starch

Croscarmellose Sodium

Sodium Laurilsulfate

Magnesium Stearate



Titanium Dioxide E171

Quinoline Yellow E104

Patent Blue V E131

Erythrosine E127

6.2 Incompatibilities

None known.

6.3 Shelf life

3 years

6.4 Special precautions for storage

Do not store above 25° C

6.5 Nature and contents of container

Pack size 8 or 16 capsules.

Blister packs comprising either:

250 micron white opaque PVC/30 micron hard temper pyramidal aluminium foil, heat-seal coated, contained in an outer cardboard carton.


250 micron white opaque PVC/9 micron aluminium foil laminated to 35 g/m2 paper, contained in an outer cardboard carton.

6.6 Special precautions for disposal and other handling


7. Marketing authorisation holder

Wrafton Laboratories Limited




EX33 2DL

8. Marketing authorisation number(s)

PL 12063/0066

9. Date of first authorisation/renewal of the authorisation


10. Date of revision of the text


McNeil Products Ltd
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50-100 Holmers Farm Way, High Wycombe, HP12 4EG, UK
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0808 238 9999 (freephone)
Medical Information e-mail
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