Coughing and congestion will rain on anyone's parade. While allergies or a common cold are not much to worry about in most cases, they still leave you feeling tired and unable to carry out your day-to-day responsibilities with the same ease and comfort you are used to. The expectorant medication commonly known as Mucinex may provide you with the relief you are looking for. However, before you choose Mucinex to relieve your symptoms, take a few minutes to learn about what Mucinex is and familiarize yourself with the good and bad Mucinex side effects. Only then can you weigh the benefits and risks to make the best decision to relieve your own cough and cold symptoms.
What Is Mucinex?
Mucinex is the commonly known brand name of the expectorant drug guaifenesin and is available both as a prescription from your doctor and as an over-the-counter medication. Mucinex provides temporary relief from chest congestion brought on by colds, allergies, infections, or other respiratory illnesses. As an expectorant drug, guaifenesin relieves congestion by thinning the mucus in your airways, which makes it easier to breathe and helps to clear congestion.
Mucinex is available for purchase alone or in combination with decongestants, antihistamines, and cough suppressants, such as in Mucinex D or Mucinex DM. Mucinex is available in many forms depending on your preference for the administration of the medication. You can purchase Mucinex as a capsule, tablet, extended-release tablet, syrup, or dissolving granules. This drug is available in many variations depending on what symptoms you need to relieve:
- Mucinex DM
- Mucinex Allergy
- Maximum Strength Mucinex
- Mucinex Sinus-Max
- Mucinex Fast-Max
- Children's Mucinex
Do not use Mucinex to treat chronic respiratory illnesses or coughing symptoms related to smoking tobacco products. While it provides temporary relief from symptoms of respiratory illness, it does not cure or shorten the duration of your illness. To reduce the risk of experiencing bad Mucinex side effects, always follow the dosage directions exactly as printed on the packaging.
Take Mucinex when you need to relieve symptoms of coughing or chest congestion related to allergies, infection, the common cold, or other breathing sicknesses. Administer capsules, tablets, syrup, or dissolving granules of Mucinex every four hours with a glass of water. If you take the extended-release tablet of Mucinex, administer medication every 12 hours with plenty of water.
Capsules, tablets, extended-release tablets, syrup, and dissolving granules are compatible for administration with or without food. For liquid forms of Mucinex, use only the measuring cup or spoon provided in the medication package. Do not use a household spoon or cup. Drink lots of fluids when taking Mucinex as this will aid in breaking up mucus and clearing congestion.
Do not increase the dose or take Mucinex more often than the package directs, or you increase your risk for bad Mucinex side effects. Do not administer over 2400 milligrams of Mucinex in a 24-hour period. Do not chew or crush Mucinex medication. This will release the drug too quickly and increase your risk of experiencing negative Mucinex side effects.
To avoid negative Mucinex side effects in children, take extra care to follow the dosage directions when administering Mucinex to children between the ages of four and eleven years old. Do not administer Mucinex to children under the age of four.
Store Mucinex away from light or moisture and at a room temperature of 68-77 degrees. Do not store Mucinex in your bathroom and keep all medications out of the reach of children or pets. Talk to your doctor about the proper disposal of this medication. Do not flush Mucinex down the toilet or discard into drains.
Before taking Mucinex, be sure to:
Overdose and Missed Dose
If you suspect an overdose of Mucinex, contact the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 right away. Symptoms of overdose include passing out or trouble breathing. An overdose of Mucinex can occur by taking another medication with the same active ingredient at the same time. We discuss this below when we examine Mucinex interactions. Talk to your physician about other methods to relieve a cough and congestions symptoms, such as using a humidifier, nose drops, sprays, and drinking more fluids.
If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you can when you remember. If you do not remember until you are close to your next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your regular schedule.
What Symptoms Does It Treat?
Mucinex, or guaifenesin, treats the symptoms of a cough and chest congestion caused by colds, allergies, infections, and other short-term respiratory sicknesses. While it controls the symptoms of these illnesses and offers temporary relief, Mucinex does not treat the cause. As mentioned before, Mucinex will not cure your illness or shorten its duration.
Good & Bad Side Effects
Side effects occur from taking a medication but are not part of the intended outcome. For Mucinex, the intended outcome is a reduction in coughing and chest congestion. Anything else that occurs because of taking Mucinex is a side effect. We will now look at both good Mucinex side effects and bad Mucinex side effects.
Good Mucinex Side Effects
Mucinex does not have specific positive side effects listed. However, people taking Mucinex to treat symptoms of coughing and congestion should expect to feel relief from those. You may continue your normal activities and diet unless instructed otherwise by your physician. Relief from cold and congestion symptoms should also make resuming your normal routine easier.
Bad Mucinex Side Effects
A doctor that has prescribed this medication for you to use already knows of the common Mucinex side effects and believes that the benefit of using the drug outweighs the risk of experiencing those side effects. That being said, some common negative Mucinex side effects include:
- Nausea or vomiting
Most people who take Mucinex do not experience severe Mucinex side effects. However, if any of these side effects persist or worsen, immediately inform your doctor. Note that Mucinex D contains pseudoephedrine. This ingredient can cause an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, sleep problems, and even anxiety.
In rare cases, serious allergic reactions can occur. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include:
- Itching or swelling
- Difficulty breathing
- Severe dizziness
Seek prompt medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms while using Mucinex.
Should your condition return, worsen after 7 days, or if accompanied by a persistent headache, rash, fever, or severe throat, inform your doctor right away. These may be signs of a serious medical issue and may require immediate medical attention.
Always examine the labels of nonprescription cold medications before using two or more simultaneously as these may sometimes contain the same active ingredient. Using medications with the same active ingredient at the same time can cause an overdose.
Some herbal products may not interact well with Mucinex. Inform your doctor of any products you are using to avoid experiencing negative Mucinex side effects. Sometimes, herbal products prevent other medications from working correctly. Your doctor can often manage these interactions by changing your medication and monitoring you closely. Do not change how you are using your previous medications without getting approval from your doctor first.
Mucinex may affect lab test results, so inform laboratory staff before any tests if you are using this medication. To make things easier, you can make a list of all products and medications you take to share with doctors, pharmacists, or other medical personnel.
Mucinex is a great option for temporary relief of cough and cold symptoms to make you feel a little more normal for the duration of your illness. There is a lot you need to know about Mucinex, however, before making it your drug of choice. The same goes for other drugs. Research and a thorough understanding of what you can expect to experience when taking a medication is a necessity.
Mucinex side effects are mild compared to many other medications, but while serious reactions are rare, you still need to inform yourself of the risks and the potential side effects so you can weigh the benefits and risks yourself. You may find you want to pursue an alternative medication or technique for relieving your symptoms. Consult your physician before making a final decision.
If you take Mucinex, you should carefully follow the package directions for administering medication and do not take it more often or in higher doses than the directions state. As always, if questions arise during your research or you have specific concerns while taking Mucinex then speak with your doctor.