Mucinex is a member of a group of medications referred to as expectorant. They loosen the mucus that leads to chest congestion in the nose. When mucus blocks your airway, bacteria that fly around easily get trapped in them. This will eventually lead to a bacterial infection. Mucinex is both an over-the-counter and prescription drug used to treat chest congestion in adults and children. By loosening the mucus, this drug makes it easier to cough up mucus and get it out of the body through the mouth. This helps to clear the air ways, making the breathing path free again. Mucinex was approved for use by the FDA in 1952.
Mucinex is a brand name for the drug, Guaifenesin named after the major active ingredient. This drug can be processed as a combination drug with antihistamines, decongestants and cough suppressants. Other brand names include Mucinex D, Mucinex DM, Mucinex Allergy, etc. It can be presented as a tablet, capsule, dissolved granules, extended release tablet and a syrup.
Uses of Mucinex
Mucinex is used for the short-term relief of cough which arise from breathing problems, common cold and bronchitis. If you cough due to smoking or severe bronchitis, do not use this drug (unless directed by your doctor to do so). An article published in the Journal of Respiratory Care after an experimental study avers that the active ingredient in Mucinex may not help patients suffering from cold to cough up excess mucus lodged in their airways. If does not cure or reduce common cold.
Read the instruction label or drug package carefully before using this drug (especially if you are self-medicating).Ask your doctor about anything written on the label that you don’t understand. Tablet Mucinex is not recommend for children under 12, it is not effective for treatment of cough and cold in children under 4 (it is not safe for them either). Liquid Mucinex is made available for children under 4. The granule form is also available and can be sprinkled on the children’s tongue. They are specially marked for children and made specifically to avoid any harm to kids. Only use this form of Mucinex on children under 4 if you have discussed it with your doctor and have been given the go ahead.
This medication is to be taken by mouth and washed down with a glass of water. It can be taken with or without food (as directed by your doctor). Do not chew or crush this medication as all the drugs will be released at once, increasing your risk of side effects. Do not split the tablet if they don’t have a score line or if you are not directed to do so by your doctor. Swallow without crushing or chewing (whole or split). Make sure you drink lots of fluid while on this medication. To break up mucus and clear anything blocking the airways, lots of fluid is needed.
If you also have fever, persistent headache, rashes and sore throat, let your doctor know. If your symptoms persist after 7 days of taking this drug, it may be an indication of a severe medical condition, talk to your doctor.
Use Mucinex only as prescribed by your doctor. Do not reduce or increase your dosage without doctor’s permission. Do not take this drug longer than directed, it is not meant for prolonged use. Take it with food if it makes you have stomach upset. Use a measuring spoon or medicine cup to measure out the prescribed quantity. Do not use ordinary tea or table spoon as dimensions differ. Ask your doctor for any of these instruments of you don’t have.
For immediate release of cough in adults, take 200-400 mg orally, every 4 hours. Do not exceed 2.4 gram per day. For sustained release take 600-1200 mg orally, every 12 hours. Do not also exceed the daily limit.
If used to treat cough in children (immediate release formulation), 50-100 mg (2-5 years), 100-200 mg (6-11 years), 200-400 mg (12 years and above) is given to them every 4hrs. They should also not exceed the daily limit of 2.4 grams.
For sustained release in children 2-5 years, 300 mg is given every 12 hours with the daily limit of 600 mg per day. Those from 5-11 years are to take 600 milligram orally every 12 hours. They are not to exceed 1200mg daily.
Children 12 years and above should take 600-1200 mg, orally every 12 hours. They are not to exceed 2.4 grams daily.
If you miss any dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if you remember close to the time of your next dose, skip the previous dose and take the next one. Do not double your dose. In any case of accidental overdose, call the emergency room or contact your doctor. You might have trouble breathing or even pass out if you take an overdose.
Mucinex Side Effects
You may experience the following side effects when using Mucinex:
Irritation in the throat
Skin rashes (might itch)
Joint, bone or muscle pain
Inflammation of the respiratory tract
Infection of the respiratory tract
Tell your doctor about any side effect you experience while using Mucinex. Side effects are rare if you use this drug exactly as directed by your doctor. Serious overdose can increase your chances of developing kidney stone.
If you are using prescribed Mucinex, tell your doctor about any allergy you have. Check the product label very well to see if you are allergic to any of the ingredients. If you are self-medicating with this drug, read the instructions very carefully. Call your doctor for proper clarifications on any concern about the drug. Let your doctor know your medical history especially if you had/have breathing problem or cough (with blood or large mucus).
Some types of Mucinex can cause side effects that impair thinking or reaction and might make you drowsy. Be careful if you are driving while taking this drug. Avoid alcohol while on this medication as it can make these side effects worse. If you develop allergic reactions while using Mucinex, stop the medication. Do not combine this drug with cough suppressants or other cough and cold medicine. This drug should not be used if you are pregnant or nursing (unless directed to do so by your doctor).
Store in a cool dry place, away from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures. Keep away from children and pets. Ensure that container lid is closed tightly. To dispose unused drugs, consult your local recycling department or your pharmacist.