When to take mucinex?


2. Case report

A 63-year-old male presented to our office complaining of mucus hypersecretion, dyspnea, and cough. He had smoked a pack of cigarettes per day for 30 years (30 pack years) until quitting two years ago. His past respiratory medical history included severe asthma, emphysema, stable chronic bronchitis and sleep apnea.

At the time of this visit he had been prescribed the following bronchodilator, corticosteroid and antibiotic medications: Spiriva (tiotropium bromide; Boehringer Ingelheim), Symbicort (budesonide/formoterol; Astra Zeneca), Dulera (formoterol/mometasone; Merck), Singulair, Duoneb, albuterol, Arnuity Ellipta (fluticasone furoate inhalation powder; GSK), Combivent (ipratropium bromide and albuterol sulfate), Stiolto Respimat (tiotropium bromide/olodaterol; Boehringer Ingelheim), Flovent (Fluticasone Propionate), doxycycline and prednisone. Additionally, he was home on oxygen therapy and pulmonary rehab.

His forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) was 23% of predicted, his Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) COPD score was 2, and asthma control test score (ACT) was 11 indicating moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and uncontrolled asthma.

Given his chief complaint of “too much mucus”, which was worse in the morning and took “forever to cough up”, we recommended that he add guaifenesin (Mucinex) at a dose of 600mg/day to his medication regimen.

Within three days of starting guaifenesin he estimated an approximate 60% decrease in the volume of mucus, and reported that the mucus was much thinner and easier to expectorate. He also noted less frequent and less forceful coughing and was able to breathe better.

Daily guaifenesin therapy was continued for 3 months and then pulmonary function tests were repeated. At this time FEV1 was 24%, GOLD COPD score was 3 and ACT score was 14.

Despite the lack of improvement in pulmonary function, asthma control improved by 27% and the patient reported decreased cough and significant improvement in breathing and quality of life. These effects persisted for approximately one month after guaifenesin was discontinued before symptoms slowly returned. The patient continues to use guaifenesin when cough, dyspnea and mucus hypersecretion diminish his quality of life and reports similar rapid onset symptom relief.

Ways You Might be Making Your Phlegm Worse

If only you could wave a magic wand and make your symptoms disappear. While there’s no instant fix for the thick mucus known as phlegm that gathers when you have chest congestion, you can manage your symptoms by avoiding certain habits.

It’s a myth that milk actually causes your body to produce phlegm. However, sipping milk may worsen your symptoms by thickening the phlegm, which makes it more irritating to your throat and harder for your body to get rid of. If you crave something creamy, go for icy dairy products such as frozen yogurt. The cold temperature may soothe throat discomfort and provide important fuel when you don’t have much of an appetite. Drinking Too Little While you’re cutting back on milk, be sure to replace it with clear fluids. Drinking plenty of liquids is a top way to relieve your cough and phlegm. Warm fluids are especially beneficial, as they help loosen the phlegm and soothe your airways. Hot beverages may even help calm a coughing fit. Throughout the day, sip on cool water or warm, comforting liquids such as broth-based soups or herbal tea with honey and lemon.

Moisture helps minimize phlegm, coughing and throat pain. On the flip side, dry air may make your symptoms worse. If you have phlegm, particularly during cold winter months or in a dry climate, use a humidifier to add dampness to the air you breathe in. Linger in a steamy bath or shower for similar benefits. For kids with phlegm, using a cool-mist humidifier removes the risk of steam burns.

Rest allows your body to use its energy to heal, so taking off from work may help you recover faster from a chest infection. Plus, staying home prevents the spread of infection to others. If coughing makes it difficult to snooze well, take Mucinex®, which thins and loosens mucus for 12 hours. Propping your head up on pillows can also make breathing easier, and limiting caffeine may help you relax so you can rest.

While many phlegm-related problems can be managed through lifestyle steps, some scenarios call for a doctor’s guidance:

  • The phlegm is pink or bloody. Phlegm that appears pink or red-streaked may contain trace amounts of blood or indicate fluid in your lungs. If you cough up significant amounts of blood, you may have a more serious illness that needs treatment.
  • Symptoms last on and on. It’s normal for chest infections to last several days or even a few weeks. If your symptoms hang on longer, see your doctor to determine if you need specific tests or treatments.
  • You have additional symptoms. If in addition to congestion and coughing you’re experiencing symptoms such as confusion, chest pain or bluish-toned skin or lips, see your doctor. These could indicate the need for medical care.
  • You’re in a higher-risk group. Young children, senior adults, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems may require extra care to heal from a chest infection. If you fall into one of these categories, your physician can formulate an ideal treatment plan.
  • Mayo Clinic: Cold symptoms: Does Drinking Milk Increase Phlegm?
  • Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Foundation: Cough
  • Mayo Clinic: Warm-Mist Versus Cool-Mist Humidifier: Which is Better for a Cold?
  • Mucinex: Mucinex
  • Medical Daily: Coughing Up Phlegm: What The Color Of Your Sputum Says About Your Health
  • National Health Service: Chest Infection

Tag: Cough, Headache, Mucus, Runny Nose

Mucinex works real well

I got some maximum strength mucinex DM for my cough and yesterday I barely coughed. It also has an expectorant so when I did, it was a productive cough and spat out my phlegm. Unfortunately my sinuses were killing me…. well it was just dried out and congested. I sniffed here and there until the guy across from me was like go blow your nose damnit. Well I can’t, it’s dried out. So I finally found a tylenol flu in my pocket and ate it so he’d stop complaining about my sinus. It made my nose run a bit so I could clear it up, but not as easily as I had hoped.
Last night I hit up the pharmacy and found Mucinex D which is for your sinuses. It has pseudoephedrine which supposedly is controlled because people can make meth from it. I had to ask for it at the counter, but it’s supposedly the hardcore stuff, far more effective than the phenylephrine most drugs are switching too (I read some pharmacy forum where nerds talk about the drugs and pseudoephedrine is supposed to be FAR more effective).
This morning I decided to take instead of 2 pills, just 1 of each. 1 for my cough, 1 for my sinuses. I showered and with all that steam I was able to clear out my congestion real well. Now I’m feeling completely cleared at work. Whenever I feel my nose run, it’s easy to blow it out, and coughs are nice and productive.
So I looked into Mucinex a bit and it’s basically like a huge dose of stuff to loosen mucus. Probably the FDA max or whatever. Robitussin, Tylenol flu, all that crap doesn’t even come close in dosage. I figured if I want to clear this sucker out I might as well get the drug that does the most right? This shit works. But it’s like $1 a freaking pill or something.
bottom line: mucinex rocks. get the max strength too!

5 Ways You Might be Making Your Sinus Infection Worse

If you’re like most adults, your sinus infection arrived on the heels of a common cold or some other upper respiratory infection. Approximately 90 percent of acute sinus infections are caused by a virus. Although such infections tend to last only about a week, the stuffy nose, sinus pressure, headache, sore throat and general lack of energy can interfere with your life in the meantime. You’ll want to manage your symptoms — and steer clear of anything that might make them worse — as the infection runs its course. Here are five ways you might be making your sinus infection worse, and tips on how you can avoid them to get better faster.

It turns out your mother was right: Your body needs rest when it’s fighting off an infection. Taking it easy during the day and getting enough sleep at night are key to giving your immune system the energy it needs to do its job. Going to work, meeting all your deadlines and keeping the same pace you did before you were sick can leave you feeling totally depleted. Worse, the stress of keeping up when you don’t feel well may exacerbate your headache or sinus pressure. Allow yourself to slow down, especially in the first few days when symptoms are at their worst.

It may surprise you to know that when your body is producing more mucus, as it does when it’s in the throes of a viral infection, you need to drink more water to stay hydrated. That’s because it takes fluids to make mucus and viral infections will lead to dehydration. Not drinking enough water when you have a sinus infection can make headaches and sinus pressure worse; it can also lead to thicker mucus that’s harder to expel. On the other hand, drinking enough fluids can help thin your mucus, which makes it easier to get rid of. Ice-cold drinks can soothe a sore throat, while hot drinks will help loosen mucus.

If you’re dealing with a sinus infection during the dry winter months, or if you live in an otherwise dry climate, the very air you breathe can irritate your nasal passage and exacerbate your symptoms. Give your nose a break by running a humidifier or a cool-mist vaporizer in your bedroom at night. You may find it helpful to run it during the day, as well. Humidified air promotes drainage, soothes sore throats and helps ease coughs. If you don’t have a humidifier, you can promote drainage by running a hot shower in a closed bathroom and inhaling the steam two to four times a day.

Dry air isn’t the only thing that can irritate your nose and make your sinusitis symptoms worse. Inhaling cigarette smoke, strong perfumes, pollutants or any airborne allergen that affects you can lead to further inflammation and greater sinus pressure. If you’re a smoker, don’t smoke when you have a sinus infection. If you like to wear perfume, take a break until you’re better. If the air quality where you live is sub par, you may want to stay inside as much as possible, particularly in the first few days when your symptoms are at their worst.

Nasal decongestant sprays can offer great relief when you’re battling a sinus infection. Their concentrated mist are good at breaking up mucus and helping it flow, allowing you to breathe easier in an instant. But don’t use decongestants for longer or more often than what’s recommended — overusing decongestant nasal sprays can actually lead to rebound congestion and make your symptoms worse. Talk to your doctor before trying a nasal decongestant, and use it only as directed.

  • Medline Plus: Sinusitis
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Sinus Infection (Sinusitis)
  • Medline Plus: Sinusitis in Adults – Aftercare
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Symptom Relief
  • The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center: Allergy Medications

Tag: Sinus Pressure

Coughing Up Mucus? How to Decode Your Symptoms

You don’t need an MD to tell you that coughing up mucus is no fun, but did you know that the color of your mucus may provide some insight into your health? While it’s not exactly a sure thing — you shouldn’t use mucus color alone as a diagnostic tool — the color of your mucus can hint at what’s going on in your airways, so you can determine the best treatment. Excess mucus in itself typically signals that you have some sort of infection or irritation in your respiratory tract. Mucus normally provides a protective layer to keep nasty germs — along with environmental irritants, like smoke particles — out of the delicate tissues lining your airways. As a result, infections and irritation may trigger more mucus production as a defensive strategy against the foreign particles.

Coughing up clear or light-colored mucus may signal that you’re dealing with allergies. You might also have a minor respiratory tract infection, like a mild cold. Try Maximum Strength Mucinex® D for relief. It contains pseudoephedrine HCl and guaifenesin, which may help you clear excess mucus and nasal congestion (as well as the resulting post-nasal drip).

Coughing up colored mucus — which can range from dark yellow to a sickly green — might signal that you’re grappling with a respiratory infection. The color comes from defensive enzymes released by your immune system. These enzymes contain iron, which gives a greenish tint. And while sickly green mucus may look scary, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a serious bacterial infection. According to a study in the European Respiratory Journal, over 40 percent of green mucus samples, and about 55 percent of yellow, contained no harmful bacteria.

Taking Mucinex® DM thins and loosens mucus and may help clear out yellow or green mucus. If you’re experiencing other symptoms, such as fevers and body aches, try Maximum Strength* Mucinex® Fast-Max® Day Time Severe Cold & Night Time Cold & Flu for relief. If your symptoms lasts more than seven days or worsen, please consult a physician, you may have a bacterial infection requiring antibiotics.

If you’re coughing up thick, solid white mucus that looks like pus, make an appointment with your doctor. According to Harvard Medical School, this type of mucus may signal that you have a bacterial infection in your airways that could require antibiotics.

Mucinex® products can help you clear pesky mucus and (finally) get some rest, but these tips may help too:

  • Drink plenty of fluids: Dehydration can thicken your mucus, which may make coughing worse. Stay hydrated with plenty of water.
  • Get some rest: Taking it easy conserves our energy, so you can fight off the infection that may be triggering your mucus.
  • See a doctor: If your symptoms worsen or you’re still experiencing symptoms after 10 days, see a doctor.
  • Harvard Medical School: Don’t Judge Your Mucus By Its Color
  • West Virginia University: Get The Scoop On Mucus: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
  • University of Maryland Medical Center: Cough

Tag: Mucus, Sore Throat

Post-nasal drip is what happens when the sinuses make so much mucus that the mucus runs down the back of your throat, and it can cause a chronic cough known as upper airway cough syndrome (UACS). If you have a cough that won’t go away, along with nasal congestion, dripping mucus in your throat, a hoarse voice or morning “gunk” in the back of your throat, this may be you.

UACS is a very common cause of a cough that won’t go away. It can be related to allergies or not. And it may be related to an infection of the sinuses (or sinusitis). Here are six things that work to treat it.

1) Nasal steroid sprays (a.k.a. intranasal steroids)

Despite popular belief, intranasal steroids are better than oral antihistamines (like Claritin, Allegra or Zyrtec) for cough due to post-nasal drip and should be your first option for treatment. They start working in a few hours, but it may take a few days to get rid of your cough. If an intranasal steroid seems to work for you, continue therapy for 3 months.

Also, be aware that there are two kinds of intranasal steroids: older “first generation” drugs and newer “second generation” drugs. They’re about the same in terms of effectiveness, but first generation drugs tend to cause more side effects. Here’s the breakdown of popular drugs:

First generation steroid sprays:

  • Nasacort Allergy
  • Nasacort AQ
  • Rhinocort Allergy
  • Beconase AQ
  • Qnasl

Second generation steroid sprays:

  • Flonase Allergy Relief
  • Nasonex
  • Omnaris
  • Zetonna

Don’t miss out on savings! Get the best ways to save on your prescriptions delivered to your inbox. By signing up, I agree to GoodRx’s terms of service and privacy policy.

2) Sedating oral antihistamines

Oral antihistamines that are sedating like Tavist, Bromfed DM and Dimetapp work well for post-nasal drip cough, but they come with a drawback. They may make you sleepy. At night, these drugs may be fine, but during the day, they can make it hard to function and be productive.

3) Non-sedating oral antihistamines

If you need to stay awake while on your meds, go for non-sedating antihistamines. These are available over the counter: Claritin, Allegra and Zyrtec. And then, there’s expensive, prescription-only Xyzal.

4) Antihistamine nasal sprays

Nasal sprays containing antihistamine medicines are another good option for cough due to post-nasal drip. Astelin or Astepro, which contain azelastine, work to reduce runny nose and cough, as does Atrovent, which contains ipratropium. Azelastine may cause sleepiness, while ipratropium does not.

5) Oral decongestants

Sudafed with the active ingredient, pseudoephedrine, is an obvious choice here. You can either get pseudoephedrine alone or mixed in a medication that also contains an antihistamine, like Claritin-D or Allegra-D. Warning here: Pseudoephedrine may make you jittery and can raise your blood pressure.

6) Oral leukotriene receptor antagonists

Singulair and Accolate are two popular drugs within the class of drugs known as leukotriene receptor antagonists. Both now come as generics, so you won’t have the same sticker shock getting them as you used to.

– – –

If your cough does not improve after one to two weeks of using the therapies listed above, post-nasal drip may not be the cause of your cough, and you should see your doctor for further advice.

Dr. O

Put drug prices & coupons in your pocket! We’ll text you a link to download our free Android or iPhone app Get GoodRx Mobile App Your link is on the way!

We’ve sent a link to download the GoodRx mobile app to your phone.

Something went wrong

We were unable to send a link to your phone.

  • Mucinex 12 Hr Max Strength Chest Congestion Expectorant Tablets (48 ct.)

    Mucinex® 12 Hr Max Strength Chest Congestion Expectorant Tablets (48 ct.) offer a quick solution to chest congestion. Mucinex Maximum Strength helps loosen and thin mucus for relief when congestion sets in. This product is the #1 doctor recommended over-the-counter expectorant and offers lasting relief for up to 12 hours.

    How Do Mucinex 12 Hr Max Strength Chest Congestion Expectorant Tablets Help with Chest Congestion?

    Mucinex 12 hour expectorant has 1,200 mg of guaifenesin, which is the leading ingredient association with relieving chest congestion associated with a cold, flu or bronchitis. This ingredient in Mucinex tablets helps loosen and thin mucus in your airways to make breathing easier and more natural. With 48 doses, the whole family can share a box if chest congestion is going around the household.

    #1 Doctor Recommended Brand

    When it comes to over-the-counter expectorant tablets, doctors recommend Mucinex 12 hour over all other options on the market. This is based on opinions from family practitioners, internists and general practitioners who work with patients who have chest congestion on a regular basis. There’s no reason to turn to other remedies when Mucinex expectorant is an inexpensive and easy-to-use medication. Be sure to read the product packaging for more information on dosing and determining whether this product meets your unique needs.

    Can One Count on Mucinex 12 Hr Max Strength Chest Congestion Expectorant Tablets to Last?

    Mucinex 12 hour expectorant comes with a bi-layer tablet for both immediate and extended release. The top layer offers immediate relief, while the second layer keeps working for hours to keep that relief coming so you can go on with your day. With 48 Mucinex tablets, you can keep expectorant on hand for any time you start to feel congestion coming on. Breathe easier and make sure you can take on your day by choosing Mucinex 12 hour expectorant. For children under 12 years of age, speak with your doctor to determine whether this product is appropriate.

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *