Mucinex is an expectorant that helps thin and loosen phlegm to assist in ejecting it from the body. The drug enables the person to cough up the phlegm and get it out of the body. It can be purchased over the counter, and its generic name is guaifenesin. Guaifenesin is used in many treatments for coughs, including Robitussin, Primatene, and DayQuil Mucus Control. The drug may also be used occasionally for asthma treatment and gout treatment, and there has been some success for couples trying to conceive, as it may thin and increase the cervical mucus.
Mucinex-D contains pseudoephedrine, which helps with nasal congestion and constricted airways.
Types of Mucinex
Mucinex is produced by Reckitt Benckiser, and the company has created several different forms for taking Mucinex, and the medicine can be administered in “mini-melts,” capsules, and liquid form. Mini-melts are a powder that you simply sprinkle onto the tongue. The powder dissolves to provide relief. The extended release helps people throughout the day and the company also offers non-drowsy versions. Mucinex’s products include:
- Mucinex Multi-symptom cold
- Mucinex cough
- Mucinex (expectorant)
- Mucinex Fast-Max Liquid (cold, flu, and sore throat)
- Mucinex Fast-Max caplets (cold, flu, and sore throat)
- Mucinex Nasal Spray
The company’s website has lists of ingredients for each product as well as contraindications and recommended dosage. It is important to remember that these drugs do not cure a cold or illness, but simply help sufferers relieve the symptoms so they can continue to be productive.
Side Effects of Mucinex
While this medicine helps a lot of people cope with the symptoms of colds and congestion so they can make it through the day, the side effects make it impossible for some people to take. Taking more than the recommended dose can also increase the risk of experiencing side effects. Some of these side effects could include:
- Dry mouth
- Nausea, vomiting, or gastrointestinal upset
- Chapped lips (relieved by staying hydrated)
- Formation of kidney stones of uric acid (Rare)
- Trouble concentrating
- Easy bleeding
- Mild loss of appetite
- Fast heartbeat
- Loss of skin color
- Difficult or painful urination
- Involuntary quivering
- High blood pressure (Rare)
- Seizures (Rare)
- Hallucination (Rare)
Gastrointestinal side effects can include diarrhea or constipation. If you experience severe side effects, discontinue use immediately and, if necessary, call your doctor.
Some people may experience allergic reactions to Mucinex as well. Signs of an allergic reaction may include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue and/or throat
Another point to keep in mind is that Mucinex is an expectorant, so when taking this medication, you must drink a large glass of water with it, and continue to hydrate throughout the day. Water helps ward off dry mouth, chapped lips, and the formation of kidney stones.
Mucinex is not safe or effective for children less than six years old, but for children above that age, Mucinex has a separate line of medicine safer for kids to relieve cold and cough symptoms, all of it in flavored “mini-melts” or liquid form. For children less than 12 years old, it’s recommended to speak with your doctor before administering. Misuse of this medicine in children can cause severe side effects or even death.
Take Medical History into Account
If you have a medical history that includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis, or “smoker’s cough” (which may be chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), make sure you tell your doctor or pharmacist about this before taking Mucinex or Mucinex-D. If your cough has large amounts of blood in it, talk to your doctor before taking any drug to stop coughing.
Mucinex or Mucinex-D should only be taken when clearly needed during pregnancy, and you must consult with your doctor to weigh the benefits and risks when you’re expecting. It is currently unknown if the drug passes through breast milk to an infant.
Certain drugs interact with Mucinex and either increase the risk of experiencing side effects or render either one or both drugs ineffective. These drugs may include monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) along with the following:
- Advair Diskus
- Aspirin and ibuprofen
- Fish Oil
Mixing contraindicated drugs can bring on hypertension, hyperpyrexia, and even death, which is a major reason you want to check with your doctor if you are taking any other prescription drugs. You may need to wait fourteen days between taking the new drug to make sure all traces of the previously taken drug are completely out of your system.
Hyperpyrexia is an elevated body temperature that actually readjusts your core temperature, causing you to feel cold when you are warm and vice versa.
You should not use Mucinex with alcohol, and it is recommended that you do not operate machinery or drive upon taking Mucinex for the first time, until you know what side effects the drug may produce in you. People have reported blacking out as well.
For the majority of people, taking Mucinex or Mucinex-D does not create any problematic side effects, and the benefits of a clear nose and airways outweigh the possible disadvantages of side effects. If you’re worried about taking this drug, talk to your doctor about your fears along with the medicine you currently take, whether they are prescription or drugs purchased over the counter.
Staying hydrated is one key to a positive experience and to reap the most benefits from taking guaifenesin to clear up congestion and make it through the day without the cold and cough symptoms that can make it hard to concentrate. Pay attention to your body and note any irregularities after beginning a regimen of Mucinex or Mucinex-D.