Mucolytics, which are also called bronchial fluidifiers or expectorants, are medicines intended to reduce the viscosity of mucus, and promote cough or expectoration of secretions. They are used in the treatment of productive cough, although they are considered to have limited benefits.
Mucolytics are substances containing carbocysteine, acetylcysteine, diacetylcysteine, ambroxol, bromhexine, erdosteine, guaifenesin, sulfogaiacol and terpenes.
Do they have contraindications?
As these medicines can worsen bronchial congestion, the French Health Products Safety Agency (Afssaps) has decided to contraindicate their use in children under 2 years old. These treatments are also liable to cause digestive problems and allergic reactions. They must always therefore be used under medical or pharmacist supervision.
- Merck Manuel, 4th edition
- Afssaps website consulted on 5 August 2011
Mucolytics treat productive cough. © Phovoir