Mucolytics for Sinusitis

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Mucolytics for Sinusitis

Examples

Generic NameBrand Name
guaifenesinBalminil Expectorant, Benylin E Extra Strength, Robitussin

How It Works

Guaifenesin may help thin the mucus, improving drainage of mucus from the nose and sinuses during sinusitis.

Why It Is Used

Guaifenesin may be used to treat symptoms caused by acute or chronic sinusitis. It is usually used along with antibiotics and home treatment.

How Well It Works

Guaifenesin has not been proved to be effective in reducing symptoms of sinusitis, but it is widely used.

Side Effects

In general, guaifenesin is safe for all people when used as directed.

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

What To Think About

Guaifenesin is inexpensive and available without a prescription. There is no evidence showing that it is effective in treating sinusitis.

Saline (saltwater) nasal sprays and washes may help clear up a stuffy nose. Both are available at pharmacies without a prescription. A humidifier may also help thick or dried mucus to drain.

It is often combined with another medicine such as a cough suppressant or decongestant.

Mucolytics may not be safe for young children or for people who have certain health problems. Before you use them, check the label. If you do use these medicines, always follow the directions about how much to use based on age and in some cases weight.

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

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Donald R. Mintz, MD - Otolaryngology
Last Revised September 30, 2010

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