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Mucinex Patient Tips

Medically reviewed on Nov 21, 2017 by C. Fookes, BPharm.

How it works

  • Mucinex is a brand (trade) name for guaifenesin. Guaifenesin increases the volume and reduces the viscosity (stickiness) of respiratory tract secretions. This makes it easier for mucus trapped in the airways to be coughed out.
  • Mucinex belongs to the class of medicines known as expectorants.

Upsides

  • Aids in the removal of phlegm and mucus from the lungs and airways.
  • Thins bronchial secretions.
  • May be used to aid in the coughing up of phlegm and mucus in people with a chesty cough.
  • Available over the counter.
  • Mucinex is available as a generic under the name guaifenesin.

Downsides

If you are between the ages of 18 and 60, take no other medication or have no other medical conditions, side effects you are more likely to experience include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, constipation, dizziness, headache, sleepiness or sleeplessness, and rash are more commonly reported; although, in general, Mucinex is well tolerated at dosages used for expectoration.
  • Do not use in children aged less than twelve years.
  • May not be suitable for people with a persistent cough due to asthma, bronchitis, emphysema or smoking, or who have a cough that is producing excessive amounts of phlegm. Talk with your doctor first before using Mucinex if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Notes: In general, seniors or children, people with certain medical conditions (such as liver or kidney problems, heart disease, diabetes, seizures) or people who take other medications are more at risk of developing a wider range of side effects. For a complete list of all side effects, click here.

Bottom Line

Mucinex is an expectorant that helps thin mucus allowing it to be more easily cleared by coughing. Side effects are few; however, anecdotally, sleeplessness may be a problem if Mucinex is taken late in the afternoon.

Tips

  • Can be administered with or without food.
  • Mucinex is available as an extended-release, bilayer tablet. Do not crush, chew or break this tablet. Swallow whole with a full glass of water. The empty tablet shell may be visible in the stool.
  • Drink extra fluids while you are taking Mucinex as these will help loosen the congestion and lubricate your throat.
  • Do not give to children under the age of twelve. Do not exceed the maximum recommended dosage of four tablets in 24 hours. If you are using liquid medicine, ensure you measure it with a properly calibrated measure.
  • See your doctor if your cough worsens, is accompanied by other symptoms such as a fever, rash, or a persistent headache, or lasts for more than seven days
  • Mucinex will not stop you coughing but should allow you to more easily clear any sticky secretions in your airways. Do not take with a cough suppressant because the cough reflex is needed to allow you to cough up loosened phlegm or mucus.
  • Talk to your pharmacist or doctor before taking any other products for a cough or cold. Several combination products also contain guaifenesin.
  • May interact with some other medicines.
  • May impair your reaction skills and affect your ability to remain alert. Do not drive until you know how guaifenesin affects you. Conversely, some people report that guaifenesin keeps them awake. Do not take a dose too late in the afternoon if you experience this effect.

Response and Effectiveness

  • Peak plasma concentrations have been reported with immediate release formulations within 45 minutes.

References

Mucinex (guaifenesin) [Package Insert]. Revised 12/2009. Reckitt Benckiser, Inc.https://www.drugs.com/pro/mucinex.html

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Mucinex only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. This drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. It is an informational resource designed as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Drugs.com does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of this information. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2017 Drugs.com. Revision Date: 2017-11-21 02:28:26

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