An expectorant is a phlegm-thinning drug that is used to treat coughs with phlegm and relieve breathing when you have a cold, flu, or allergy cough. This drug is available in the form of tablets, capsules, syrup and suspension.
Expectorants work by thinning phlegm that clogs the respiratory tract, so that phlegm is more easily expelled when coughing. That way, breathing becomes more relieved and coughs heal faster.
Expectorants can be found in single drug form or in combination with other drugs in cold and cough products. There are expectorant drugs that are sold freely and some that must be purchased with a doctor's prescription.
Precautions Before Taking Expectorants
Expectorants should not be used carelessly. There are several things that must be considered before using this drug, namely:
- Do not take expectorants if you are allergic to this drug. Always tell your doctor about any allergies you have.
- Consult your doctor about using an expectorant if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Do not drive a vehicle or do activities that require alertness after taking expectorants, because these drugs can cause drowsiness and dizziness.
- Do not give expectorants to children unless directed by a doctor.
- Consult your doctor about using an expectorant if you have or have ever had tuberculosis , asthma, chronic bronchitis , emphysema , chronic cough, coughing up blood , or electrolyte disturbances .
- Tell your doctor if you have thyroid disease, kidney disease, heart disease, Addison's disease , myotonia congenita (a genetic muscle disorder), or hyperkalemia .
- Tell your doctor if you have diabetes, phenylketonuria , or liver disease. Expectorant medications in syrup or suspension form generally contain sugar, aspartame, alcohol, or other substances that people with these conditions need to avoid.
- Drink more water while taking expectorants, as these medications use water from your body to thin phlegm.
- Talk to your doctor about using expectorants if you are taking other medications, supplements, or certain herbal products.
- See a doctor if your symptoms do not improve or are accompanied by fever, sore throat, skin rash, or persistent headache after 1 week of using the expectora.
- Immediately consult a doctor if you experience an allergic drug reaction or overdose after taking expectorants.
Expectorant Side Effects and Dangers
The side effects that can occur after using expectorant drugs depend on the type. In general, some of the side effects that can arise are:
- Dizziness, headache
- Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, heartburn , or diarrhea
- Swelling or pain in the lower jaw
- The body feels tired
- Rashes on the skin
Check with your doctor if the side effects mentioned above do not go away or get worse. You should also see a doctor immediately if you have an allergic drug reaction, which can be characterized by an itchy rash, swelling of the tongue, mouth and face, shortness of breath, or the following complaints:
- Goiter or enlargement of the thyroid gland, which is characterized by the appearance of a lump in the neck and pain in the neck area
- Excess saliva
- Disorders of the sense of taste, such as the appearance of a metallic taste in the mouth
- Chest pain, heartbeat that is too fast, too slow, or irregular
- Tingling, numbness, weakness, pain and swelling in the hands or feet
- Coughing up blood, vomiting blood , or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
- Bloody or black stools like tar
Type, Trademark and Dosage of Expectorant Drugs
The following are two types of drugs that are included in the expectorant class, along with their trademarks and dosages:
Guaifenesin is an expectorant drug that is often used to treat coughs with phlegm.
Guaifenesin trademarks: Allerin Expectorant, Anakonidin, Actifed Plus Expectorant, Benadryl Wet Cough, Bisolvon Extra, Bodrex Cough Cold, Codipront Cum Expectorant, Cohistan Expectorant, Comtusi, Dextrosin, Flutamol, Guaifenesin, Hufagripp Forte, Hufagripp Fu & Batuk, Itrabat, Komix , Konidin, Lapifed Expectorant, Mextril, Neo Pim-Tra-Kol, Oroxin, Oskadryl Extra, Siladex Mucolytic & Expectorant, Transpulmin, Woods Peppermint Expectorant.
To find out the dosage and further information about this drug, please open the guaifenesin drug page .
2. Potassium Iodide
This expectorant drug is used to treat coughs with phlegm in conditions of asthma, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis. Potassium iodide is available in liquid and tablet forms.
Potassium iodide trademarks : -
The dose of potassium iodide for coughing is 300–600 mg, 3–4 times daily.
3. Ammonium Chloride
Apart from the two drugs above, ammonium chloride also has an expectorant effect, so it is often used as a mixture in cough medicines.
Ammonium chloride trademarks: Benacol Expectorant, Bufagan Expectorant, Cough-En, Dexyl, Emtusin, Erphakaf Plus, Etadryl Expectorant, Fenidryl, Floradryl, Ifarsyl Plus, Inadryl, Itrabat, Lapisiv, Miradryl, Molexdryl, Multikol, Neladryl DMP, Neladryl Expectorant, Nichodryl, Nusadryl, Black cough medicine (OBH), Ometidryl, Pectorin, Poncodryl, Pyridryl, Ramadryl Expectorant, Standryl Expectorant, Unidryl, Ventusif, Winapen, Yekadryl Expectorant, Yekadryl Extra.
To find out the dosage and further information about this drug, please open the ammonium chloride drug page .