Guaifenesin : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions & More

Why is this medication prescribed?
Guaifenesin is used to relieve chest congestion. Guaifenesin can help control symptoms, but it does not treat the cause of symptoms or speed recovery. Guaifenesin belongs to a class of medications called expectorants. It works by thinning mucus in the air passages to facilitate coughing and clear the airways.

How should this medicine be used?
Guaifenesin comes as a tablet, a capsule, an extended-release (long-acting) tablet, solution granules, and a syrup (liquid) to take by mouth. Tablets, capsules, dissolving granules, and syrup are generally taken with or without food every 4 hours as needed. The extended-release tablet is generally taken with or without food every 12 hours. Carefully follow the instructions on the package or on your prescription label and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take guaifenesin exactly as directed. Do not take more or less or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Guaifenesin comes alone and in combination with antihistamines, cough suppressants, and decongestants. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about which product is best for your symptoms. Carefully check the labels on over-the-counter cough and cold medicines before using two or more products at the same time. These products may contain the same active ingredients and taking them together could cause you to overdose. This is especially important if you are giving a child a cold and cough medicine.

Over-the-counter cough and cold combination products, including products containing guaifenesin, can cause serious side effects or death in young children. Do not give these products to children under the age of 4. If you are giving these products to children ages 4 to 11, be careful and follow the directions on the package carefully.

If you are giving guaifenesin or a combination product containing guaifenesin to a child, read the package label carefully to make sure it is the right product for a child of that age. Do not give guaifenesin products made for adults to children.

Before giving a guaifenesin product to a child, check the package label to see how much medicine the child should receive. Give the dose that matches the child’s age in the table. Ask your child’s doctor if you don’t know how much medicine to give him.

If you are drinking the liquid, do not use a household spoon to measure your dose. Use the measuring spoon or cup that comes with the medicine or use a specially made spoon to measure the medicine.

Swallow the extended-release tablets whole with a full glass of water. Do not break, crush, or chew them.

If you are taking the dissolution granules, empty the entire contents of the pack into your tongue and swallow.

If your symptoms do not improve within 7 days or if you also have a high fever, rash, or headache that does not go away, call your doctor.

Other uses for this medicine
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking guaifenesin,

  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to guaifenesin, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in the product you plan to take. Check the package label for a list of ingredients.
  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take.
  • Tell your doctor if you smoke and if you have or have ever had a cough with a large amount of phlegm (mucus) or if you have or have ever had a respiratory problem such as asthma, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis. If you are taking the granules that dissolve, tell your doctor if you are on a low magnesium diet or if you have kidney disease.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking guaifenesin, call your doctor.
  • If you have phenylketonuria (PKU, an inherited condition that requires a special diet to prevent mental retardation), you should know that the dissolving granules can be sweetened with aspartame, a source of phenylalanine.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Drink plenty of fluids while you are taking this medication.

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

What should I do if I forget a dose?
Guaifenesin is generally taken as needed. If your doctor has told you to take guaifenesin regularly, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Guaifenesin may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting

Guaifenesin may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medicine.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor can submit an online report to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medicine in its container, tightly closed and out of the reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).

Unnecessary medications must be disposed of in a special way to ensure that pets, children and others cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medicine down the toilet. Instead, the best way to get rid of your medication is through a medication take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage / recycling department for information on return programs in your community. Consult the FDA’s Safe Drug Disposal website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.

It is important to keep all medications out of the sight and reach of children, as many containers (such as those for taking pills weekly and those used for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not resistant to children and children. young children can easily open them. To protect young children from poisoning, always close the safety caps and immediately put the medicine in a safe place, one that is up and away and out of your sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org

In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim collapsed, had a seizure, is having trouble breathing, or cannot wake up, call 911 immediately.

What other information should I know?
Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about guaifenesin.

It is important that you keep a written list of all prescription and over-the-counter (non-prescription) medications you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should carry this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

Brand Names

  • Adult Tussin®
  • Air Power®
  • Bronchoril®
  • Chest Congestion®
  • Childrens Mucinex®
  • Childrens Mucus Relief®
  • Cough Out®
  • Diabetic Siltussin DAS-Na®
  • Diabetic Tussin Expectorant®
  • Diabetic Tussin Mucus Relief®
  • Equaline Tussin®
  • Equate Tussin®
  • Good Neighbor Pharmacy Tussin®
  • Good Sense Tussin®
  • Guiatuss®
  • Iophen NR®
  • Kids-EEZE®
  • Leader Adult Tussin®
  • Leader Mucus Relief®
  • Liqufruta®
  • Little Remedies Little Colds Mucus Relief Expectorant Melt Aways®
  • MucaPlex®
  • Mucinex®
  • Mucinex for Kids®
  • Mucus Relief®
  • Mucus Relief Chest®
  • ORGAN-I NR®
  • Premier Value Chest Congestion Relief®
  • Q-Tussin®
  • Refenesen® Chest Congestion Relief
  • Robitussin® Chest Congestion
  • Scot-Tussin® Expectorant SF Cough
  • SelectHealth Tussin DM®
  • Siltussin DAS®
  • Siltussin SA®
  • Smart Sense Tussin®
  • Sunmark Tussin®
  • Topcare Mucus Relief®
  • Topcare Tussin®
  • Tussin®
  • Tussin Chest®
  • Tussin Chest Congestion®
  • Tussin Original®
  • Up and Up Childrens Mucus Relief®
  • Vicks® DayQuil®
  • Wal Tussin®

Brand names of combination products

  • Adult Tussin DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Aldex® (containing Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Biocotron® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Biospec® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Bisolvine® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Care One Chest Congestion Relief® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Certuss® (containing Chlophedianol, Guaifenesin)
  • Cheratussin AC® (containing Codeine, Guaifenesin)
  • chest congestion® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Childrens Mucus Relief® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Childrens Mucus Relief Cherry® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Childrens Mucus Relief Cough Cherry® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Childrens Relief Cherry® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Chlo Tuss® (containing Chlophedianol, Guaifenesin)
  • Codar® (containing Codeine, Guaifenesin)
  • Cough® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Cough Syrup® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • CounterAct® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • CVS Chest Congestion Relief® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Dex-Tuss® (containing Codeine, Guaifenesin)
  • DG Health Childrens Mucus Relief Cough® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • DG Health Tussin DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Diabetic Tussin DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Diabetic Tussin DM Maximum Strength® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Donatussin Drops® (containing Guaifenesin, Phenylephrine)
  • Double Tussin Intense Cough Reliever® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Equaline Adult Tussin® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Equaline Tussin Cough and Chest Congestion® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Equate Tussin DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Expectorant Plus Cough Relief® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • FormuCare Cough Syrup DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Freds Chest Congestion Relief® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Good Neighbor Pharmacy Adult Tussin® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Good Neighbor Pharmacy Tussin DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Good Neighbor Pharmacy Tussin DM Max® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Good Sense Childrens Mucus Relief Cough® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Good Sense tussin® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Good Sense Tussin DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Guaiasorb DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Guaiatussin AC® (containing Codeine, Guaifenesin)
  • Guiatuss DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Healthy Accents Tussin DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Iophen C NR® (containing Codeine, Guaifenesin)
  • Iophen DM NR® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Leader Adult Tussin DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Leader Childrens Mucus Relief Cough® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Leader Intense Cough Reliever® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Leader Tussin DM Max® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Lusair® (containing Guaifenesin, Phenylephrine)
  • Mucinex Fast-Max® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Mucus Relief Cough® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Mucus Relief DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Nature Fusion® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • PediaCare Childrens Cough and Congestion® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Premier Value Chest Congestion and Cough Relief® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Primatene® (containing Ephedrine, Guaifenesin)
  • Q Tussin DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • RelCof-C® (containing Codeine, Guaifenesin)
  • Robafen DM Max® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Robitussin Cough and Chest Congestion DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Safetussin® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Scot-Tussin Senior SF DMExp® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Smart Sense Mucus Relief Cough® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Smart Sense tussin dm max® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Sun Mark Mucus Relief Cough® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Sun Mark Tussin DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Sunmark Tussin DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Topcare Mucus Relief® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Topcare tussin dm® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Topcare Tussin DM Max® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Tussin Cough DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Tussin DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Up and Up Adult Cough Formula DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Up and Up Childrens Mucus Relief and Cough® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Vanacof® (containing Chlophedianol, Guaifenesin)
  • Vicks® DayQuil® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Wal Tussin DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Z-Cof 1® (containing dextromethorphan and Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Zicam® (containing acetaminophen and Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)
  • Zodryl DEC® (containing pseudoephedrine and Codeine, Guaifenesin)
  • Zyncof® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin)

Disclaimer: We have made every effort to ensure that all information is factually accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a licensed health care professional’s choice of knowledge and expertise. You should always consult your doctor or other health care professional before taking any medication. The information given here is subject to change and it has not been used to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions or adverse effects. The lack of warning or other information for any drug does not indicate that the combination of medicine or medication is safe, effective or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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