Guaiphenesin is the only medicinal product in common use as an expectorant. It’s an ingredient that a great many cough medicines contain, such as Anti-Tuss, Dristan cold and cough, Guaifed, Guaicough, and a few of Robitussin products.
Guaifenesin may be a glyceryl guaiacolate with expectorant effects. The secretions of the mucus act as an irritant to gastric vagal receptors and recruit different parasympathetic reflexes that cause glandular exocytosis.
This agent reduces the viscosity of mucus secretion by reducing adhesiveness and natural phenomenon also by increasing the hydration of mucus. (PubChem)
Molecular Formula: C10H14O4
(STRUCTURAL FORMULA OF GUAIFENESIN)
This product is usually not used for a perpetual cough from smoking or from long-term breathing problems (such as bronchitis, emphysema) unless directed by your doctor. Guaifenesin, as mentioned earlier, is an expectorant. It works by thinning and loosening mucus within the airways, clearing congestion, and makes breathing effortless. (WebMD)
If you’re self-treating with this medicine, without consulting a doctor, then you need to read all instructions on the package, as well as the contents, to make sure you are not allergic to any of the contents, before consuming the drugs.
How to use Guaifenesin (WebMD)
- This medication must be taken orally with or without food, as directed by your doctor, usually every 4 hours.
- If you’re self-treating, follow all directions on the package of the product.
- Guaifenesin may have a bitter taste, therefore, swallow the whole tablet without crushing or chewing.
- If you’re using the liquidized form of this medication, measure carefully the dose utilizing a special measuring device/spoon.
- For powder packets, empty the whole content of the packet onto the tongue and swallow. To restrain a bitter taste, don’t chew.
- Don’t take any more than 6 doses each day.
- Don’t increase your dose or take this drug more often than as directed.
- Drink many fluids while taking this medication. Fluids will help to interrupt the mucus and clear congestion.
Before taking this medication, ask your doctor or pharmacist if you’re allergic thereto, or if you’ve got the opposite allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergies or other issues.
Make sure the prescribing doctor is aware of your medical records, especially any breathing problems. Liquid form of this product may contain sugar and/or alcohol. Caution is suggested if you’ve got diabetes, any liver disease, or other conditions that need you to limit/avoid these substances in your diet.
The liquid form and powder packets of this medication may contain Aspartame. If you’ve got Phenylketonuria (bronchitis or other conditions that need you to limit your intake of aspartame (or phenylalanine), then avoid this medication and ask your doctor to prescribe an alternative to you instead.
This medication is for temporary use only. Don’t take it for any longer than 7 days, unless your doctor tells you to.
Consult your doctor if your condition lasts longer than 7 days. (WebMD)
The effects of some drugs can change if you’re taking other drugs or herbal products at an equivalent time. This will increase your risk for serious side effects or may cause your medications to not work correctly.
These drug interactions are possible, however, they do not always occur. While using this product, don’t start, stop, or change the dosage of the other medicines you’re using without your doctor’s approval.
Guaifenesin is easily available in both prescription and nonprescription products. Check the labels of all of your medications carefully to make certain that you’re not taking any more than one product containing Guaifenesin.
This product could affect the results of certain lab tests (such as urine levels of certain acids). Keep in mind to inform the laboratory personnel and your doctors that you use this drug. (WebMD)
- Decreased uric acid levels
- Stomach pain
A very serious allergy to this drug is often rare. If you notice any kind of allergy or symptoms of a huge rash that might include itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, or trouble breathing then immediately seek medical attention. (WebMD)
Dosing (Mayo Clinic)
For regular (short term action) oral dosage forms (capsules, oral solution, syrup, or tablets):
- Adults—200 to 400 milligrams (mg) every four hours.
- Children 6 to twelve years of age—100 to 200 mg every four hours.
- Children 4 to six years of age—50 to 100 mg every four hours.
- Children and infants up to 4 years of age—Use isn’t recommended.
For regular (long term action) oral dosage forms (extended-release capsules or tablets):
- Adults—600 to 1200 mg every twelve hours.
- Children 6 to twelve years of age—600 mg every twelve hours.
- Children 4 to six years of age—300 mg every twelve hours.
- Children and infants up to 4 years of age—Use isn’t recommended.
If you miss a dose, take it immediately as soon as you remember. If it’s near the time of subsequent dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Don’t double the dose to catch up. (WebMD)
Overdose with guaifenesin is unlikely to yield toxic effects since its toxicity is low, nevertheless, if someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms like passing out or having trouble breathing, immediately rush the person to the emergency room. (WebMD)
The Wonder Drug
Opera singers sometimes refer to guaifenesin as the “wonder drug” for its ability to market secondary mucosal secretion within the respiratory system. Secondary mucus is the thinner, lubricating mucus that happens on the vocal folds naturally once they are healthy and well hydrated. Singers use guaifenesin to reinforce the state of their vocal folds in the extremes of humidity, very humid or very dry, after flying long distances, or through mild allergies. (Bitao’s Research Group)
In the News
An extended-release (ER) formulation of the medication guaifenesin has recently been launched in the Republic of India for the treatment of productive cough amid secretion (phlegm).
A prospective, post-marketing police work-study listened to 552 adults with cough, thickened secretion and chest congestion because of URTI, who took ER guaifenesin 1200 mg every 12 hrs for seven days.
A total of twenty-nine treatment-emergent AEs were recorded in 28/552 patients, as well as the gastrointestinal, nervous system, psychiatric, respiratory, thoracic and mediastinal, skin and subcutaneous tissue, and general disorders.
All AE’s were delicate in severity and no serious AEs or deaths occurred.
The majority of each patient and investigators were either happy or very satisfied with enhancements in treatment outcomes.
Conclusion: This study found that ER guaifenesin was well tolerated and had a positive safety profile in otherwise healthy patients plagued by symptoms of cough, thickened secretion and chest congestion associated with URTI.
Registered trial NCT03725085 (ClinicalTrials.gov) and CTRI/2014/07/004730 (ctri.nic.in). (Dove Medical Press)
Anzen Exports’ blog posts are based just on our research from cited websites. To be best informed, we advise consulting a doctor about an ingredient or medicine prior to taking it.
PubChem. “Guaifenesin.” PubChem, pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Guaifenesin.
“Drugs & Medications.” WebMD – Better Information. Better Health,
“Guaifenesin (Oral Route) Proper Use.” Mayo Clinic – Mayo Clinic, 6 Feb. 2020,
Press, Dove. “Safety And Tolerability Of Extended-Release Guaifenesin In Patients Wi | DHPS.” Dove Medical Press – Open Access Publisher of Medical Journals,
“Guaifenesin.” Bitao’s Research Group – In SNST, Lanzhou University, snst-