Expectorants for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

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Expectorants for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)


Generic NameBrand Name
guaifenesinBalminil, Benylin

Guaifenesin is available in tablet, capsule, or liquid form. Your doctor will help you decide which form is best for you.

How It Works

Expectorants may keep mucus from sticking to the airways of the lungs, making it easier to cough the mucus up. Expectorants may not help people with COPD and are no longer commonly used.

Why It Is Used

Expectorants may be used in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) when it is difficult to cough up mucus from the lungs. But expectorants are not commonly used for COPD treatment.

How Well It Works

Expectorants may bring some relief from symptoms, but may not improve lung function.

Side Effects

Some people who use guaifenesin experience nausea, vomiting, dizziness, rash, and itching.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

The best way to reduce development of mucus is to stop smoking.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF) (What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Caroline S. Rhoads, MD - Internal Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Ken Y. Yoneda, MD - Pulmonology
Last Revised July 9, 2010

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.