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All about: Anti-Tuss

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Some commonly used brand names are:

In the U.S.—

  • Anti-Tuss
  • Breonesin
  • Diabetic Tussin EX
  • Fenesin
  • Gee-Gee
  • Genatuss
  • Glycotuss
  • Glytuss
  • Guiatuss
  • Halotussin
  • Humibid L.A.
  • Humibid Sprinkle
  • Hytuss
  • Hytuss-2X
  • Naldecon Senior EX
  • Organidin NR
  • Pneumomist
  • Robitussin
  • Scot-tussin Expectorant
  • Sinumist-SR
  • Touro EX
  • Uni-tussin

In Canada—

  • Balminil Expectorant
  • Benylin-E
  • Calmylin Expectorant
  • Resyl
  • Robitussin

Generic name product may be available in the U.S.

Another commonly used name is glyceryl guaiacolate .

Category

  • Expectorant

Description

Guaifenesin (gwye-FEN-e-sin) is used to help coughs caused by colds or similar illnesses clear mucus or phlegm (pronounced flem) from the chest. It works by thinning the mucus or phlegm in the lungs.

Some guaifenesin preparations are available only with your doctor's prescription. Others are available without a prescription; however, your doctor may have special instructions on the proper dose of guaifenesin for your medical condition. Guaifenesin is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Oral
  • Capsules (U.S.)
  • Extended-release capsules (U.S.)
  • Oral solution (U.S.)
  • Syrup (U.S. and Canada)
  • Tablets (U.S. and Canada)
  • Extended-release tablets (U.S.)

Before Using This Medicine

If you are taking this medicine without a prescription, carefully read and follow any precautions on the label. For guaifenesin, the following should be considered:

Allergies—Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to guaifenesin. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.

Pregnancy—Several groups of women taking guaifenesin during pregnancy have been studied. In one group, when guaifenesin was taken during the first 3 months of pregnancy, the babies had more inguinal hernias than expected. However, more birth defects than expected did not occur in the babies of other groups of women taking guaifenesin during pregnancy. Studies have not been done in animals.

Breast-feeding—It is not known whether guaifenesin passes into breast milk. However, guaifenesin has not been reported to cause problems in nursing babies.

Children—Although there is no specific information comparing use of guaifenesin in children with use in other age groups, this medicine is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in children than it does in adults. However, check with your doctor before using this medicine in children who have a chronic cough, such as occurs with asthma, or who have an unusually large amount of mucus or phlegm with the cough. Children with these conditions may need a different kind of medicine. Also, guaifenesin should not be given to children younger than 2 years of age unless you are directed to do so by your doctor.

Older adults—Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults. Although there is no specific information comparing use of guaifenesin in the elderly with use in other age groups, this medicine is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in older people than it does in younger adults.

Proper Use of This Medicine

Drinking plenty of water while taking guaifenesin may help loosen mucus or phlegm in the lungs.

For patients taking the extended-release capsule form of this medicine:

  • Swallow the capsule whole, or open the capsule and sprinkle the contents on soft food such as applesauce, jelly, or pudding and swallow without crushing or chewing.

For patients taking the extended-release tablet form of this medicine:

  • If the tablet has a groove in it, you may carefully break it into two pieces along the groove. Then swallow the pieces whole, without crushing or chewing them.
  • If the tablet does not have a groove in it, it must be swallowed whole. Do not break, crush, or chew it before swallowing.

Dosing—The dose of guaifenesin will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label . The following information includes only the average doses of guaifenesin. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

  • For regular (short-acting) oral dosage forms (capsules, oral solution, syrup, or tablets):
    • For cough:
      • Adults—200 to 400 milligrams (mg) every four hours.
      • Children younger than 2 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
      • Children 2 to 6 years of age—50 to 100 mg every four hours.
      • Children 6 to 12 years of age—100 to 200 mg every four hours.
  • For long-acting oral dosage forms (extended-release capsules or tablets):
    • For cough:
      • Adults—600 to 1200 mg every twelve hours.
      • Children younger than 2 years of age—Use is not recommended.
      • Children 2 to 6 years of age—300 mg every twelve hours.
      • Children 6 to 12 years of age—600 mg every twelve hours.

Missed dose—If you must take this medicine regularly and you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Storage—To store this medicine:

  • Keep out of the reach of children.
  • Store away from heat and direct light.
  • Do not store the capsule or tablet form of this medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down.
  • Do not refrigerate the syrup form of this medicine.
  • Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed. Be sure that any discarded medicine is out of the reach of children.

Precautions While Using This Medicine

If your cough has not improved after 7 days or if you have a fever, skin rash, continuing headache, or sore throat with the cough, check with your doctor. These signs may mean that you have other medical problems.

Side Effects of This Medicine

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention. Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine.

However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

Less common or rare

Diarrhea; dizziness; headache; hives; nausea or vomiting; skin rash; stomach pain

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

Revised: 06/27/2000

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