Galenphol (Pholcodine)

How does it work?

Galenphol linctus contains the active ingredient pholcodine, which is a type of medicine called a cough suppressant. It is used to suppress a dry, tickly, unproductive cough.

Coughing is a reflex response to irritation of the airways. It is useful for clearing mucus, dust and other particles from the throat and lungs. It is important because it reduces the amount of mucus, dust and bacteria in the airways that would otherwise make breathing difficult. However, sometimes, coughing can become overstimulated even when there is no mucus to clear from the lungs or throat. In this situation coughing serves no purpose and can become painful and frustrating.

Pholcodine can be used to block the cough reflex in situations where the cough serves no purpose, ie when no plegm is being coughed up. It works by reducing the nerve signals sent from a part of the brain called the coughing centre to the muscles that produce coughing.

What is it used for?

  • Dry, tickly, unproductive coughs.

How do I take it?

  • Adults and adolescents aged 12 years and over should take two or three 5ml spoonfuls three or four times a day.
  • Do not take more than four doses in any 24 hours.
  • Do not exceed the recommended dose.
  • If your cough doesn't get better despite taking this medicine you should consult your doctor.


  • If you have any of the following symptoms you should not use this medicine and consult your doctor so that the cough can be investigated further: coughing up phlegm that is green, rusty brown, yellow, blood-stained or foul smelling; shortness of breath, wheezing or difficulty breathing; chest pain; pain and swelling in the calf; sudden weight loss; recurrent night-time cough; or a long-term persistent cough.
  • This medicine may occasionally cause drowsiness. If affected you should avoid potentially hazardous activities such as driving or operating machinary. Avoid drinking alcohol while taking this medicine.

Not to be used in

  • Children under 12 years of age. (Other pholcodine products are available for children aged 6 to 12 years; see end of page for details.)
  • Kidney failure.
  • Liver failure.
  • People at risk of severe breathing problems (respiratory failure).
  • Chronic bronchitis.
  • Condition called bronchiectasis, in which there is persistent widening of the airways as a result of lung disease, eg infection, inflammation, tumours or cystic fibrosis.

This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy. If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.

Use with caution in

  • Asthma.
  • Decreased kidney function.
  • Decreased liver function.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.

  • The safety of this medicine for use during pregnancy has not been established. It should only be used during pregnancy on the advice of a doctor and only if the benefits to the mother outweigh any potential risks to the developing baby.
  • This medicine passes into breast milk. If you are breastfeeding you should only use this medicine on the advice of a doctor and only if the potential benefits outweigh any possible risks to the nursing infant.

Side effects

Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.

  • Drowsiness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Confusion.
  • Excitation.
  • Constipation.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Skin rash.

The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine's manufacturer. For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.

How can this medicine affect other medicines?

If you are already taking any other medicines, including herbal medicines and those bought without a prescription, you should check with your pharmacist before using this medicine as well, to make sure that the combination is safe.

The manufacturer states that this medicine should not be used by people who are currently taking a monoamine oxidase inhibitor antidepressant, eg phenelzine, tranylcypromine or isocarboxazid, or who have taken one of these medicines in the last 14 days.

This medicine may occasionally cause drowsiness. If this occurs, it may be made worse if this medicine is taken in combination with any of the following, which can also cause drowsiness:

  • alcohol
  • benzodiazepines, eg temazepam, diazepam
  • sedating antihistamines, eg chlorphenamine, diphenhydramine, promethazine, triprolidine (these are often found in other non-prescription cough and cold or hayfever remedies)
  • sleeping tablets, eg zopiclone
  • strong opioid painkillers, eg codeine, dihydrocodeine, morphine
  • tricyclic antidepressants, eg amitriptyline.

Other medicines containing the same active ingredient

Benylin children's dry coughs Boots dry cough syrup 6 years plus Galenphol paediatric linctus
Galenphol strong linctusPavacol-D

Pholcodine linctus is also available without a brand name, ie as the generic medicine.