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Mucolytics and Expectorants

Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Mucolytic and expectorant Breacol, Woods, Bisolvon, Robitussin, Rhinathiol, Fluimucil Adult, Children

Mucolytics and Expectorants - What is it for

​Mucolytics and expectorants are a group of medications that works by thinning and loosening mucus in the airways, helping to clear chest congestion thus making breathing easier. Common examples of expectorants include guaifenesin and ammonium chloride combined with diphenhydramine. Common examples of mucolytics are acetylcysteine, bromhexine, ambroxol and carbocisteine.

Mucolytics and Expectorants - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Mucolytics and Expectorants cause?

  • Some expectorants may cause drowsiness or dizziness.
    • Avoid driving, operating machinery or other activities which require concentration if affected.
  • Common side effects may include nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.
    • These effects are usually mild and will pass quickly.

The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:

  • Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately.

Before taking Mucolytics and Expectorants, what precautions must I follow?

​Inform your healthcare professional if:

  • You are allergic to this medication or any of the other ingredients of this medication
  • You are taking any other medications, including supplements, traditional medications and herbal remedies.
  • You have existing conditions such as gastric ulcers, liver or kidney problems and lung conditions e.g. Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (COPD) or severe uncontrolled asthma
  • You are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding
     

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Mucolytics and Expectorants?

​Do let your healthcare professional know if you are taking or if you are planning to take other medications, nutritional supplements, or herbal products.

Mucolytics and Expectorants - Dosage and How to Use

How should Mucolytics and Expectorants be used?

  • ​Take the medications as prescribed by your healthcare professional. Consult your healthcare professional if you are not sure how to take the medication correctly.
  • Some of this medication should be taken after food e.g. Ambroxol. Others such as acetylcysteine and bromhexine may be taken with or without food.
  • For syrups, shake the bottle well before use.
  • For effervescent tablets and sachets, dissolve one tablet or the recommended number of sachets in at least half a cup of water
  • If your symptoms persist or worsen after one week of taking the expectorants or mucolytics, talk to your healthcare professional.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

​If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue normally. Do not take two doses to make up for the missed dose.

What should I do if I overdose?

Mucolytics and Expectorants - Handling

How should I handle Mucolytics and Expectorants safely?

Mucolytics and Expectorants - Storage

How should I store Mucolytics and Expectorants?

Keep away from children;#Keep in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight;#

​For mucolytic and expectorant syrups, discard the bottle 6 months after opening or if expired, whichever is sooner.

How should I dispose of Mucolytics and Expectorants safely?

​Pack mucolytics and expectorants into a black trash bag and seal it tightly before throwing into the rubbish chute or bin.

Mucolytics and Expectorants - Additional Information

​Signs that your condition may require further medical attention include:

  • Cough with thick yellow or green phlegm or mucus, or blood
  • Fever more than 38.6⁰C 
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Drenching night sweats
  • Cough lasting for longer than 3-4 weeks
  • Development of new symptoms during self-treatment

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately.

  • Updated on Friday, February 28, 2020
  • Article contributed by PSS National Medication Information Workgroup PSS National Medication Information Workgroup

    The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

    If you take more than the recommended dose of Expectorants or Mucolytics, please seek medical advice immediately. The information provided on this page does not replace information from your healthcare professional. Please consult your healthcare professional for more information.

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