Covidien, a leading global provider of healthcare products, announced the US availability of TussiCaps (hydrocodone polistirex/chlorpheniramine polistirex) extended-release capsules, the first and only hydrocodone antitussive oral capsule to provide powerful cough suppression for up to 12 hours.

"TussiCaps capsules offer patients a unique approach to handling the challenges of measuring liquid cough medications," said Chuck Bramlage, president, Covidien Pharmaceutical Products. "Our commitment to increasing patient safety and helping to reduce the potential for dosing errors is demonstrated in TussiCaps, which offers more precise and convenient dosing than liquid formulations."

Oral liquid medications are often difficult to administer precisely and correctly at home. A 2008 study published in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy found that 85 per cent of caregivers measured an excessive dose of liquid medication when using a dosing cup; only 4 per cent measured an accurate dose with the cup. Recently, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken action to remove more than 200 hydrocodone antitussive products from the market due to concerns about medication errors.

"The capsule formulation of TussiCaps and unit-of-use packaging give pharmacists an alternative that may reduce the likelihood of medication errors and eliminate the inconvenience of dispensing liquid products," said Herbert Neuman, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, Covidien Imaging Solutions and Pharmaceutical Products. "TussiCaps utilizes hydrocodone, which is a well-tolerated and powerful antitussive, providing patients with up to 12 hours of cough relief in an encapsulated form conducive to accurate and safe dosing."

TussiCaps, which is approved by the FDA, is now available by prescription in 10 mg/8 mg capsules through wholesalers and pharmacies in the United States.

TussiCaps extended-release capsules are indicated for the relief of cough and upper respiratory symptoms associated with allergies and colds. The most common adverse reactions include sedation, drowsiness and mental clouding, which may impair the mental and/or physical abilities required for potentially hazardous tasks. As with other drugs in this class, there is the possibility of tolerance and/or dependence. TussiCaps capsules are not recommended for patients under six years of age.