Guaifenesin review

Guaifenesin, sometimes known as guaiphenesin or glyceryl guaiacolate, belongs to a class of drugs called expectorants. They are usually sold over the counter and are available in various brand names. An expectorant, or a mucolytic agent is any drug whose main action is to dissolve thick mucus, usually used in relieving respiratory difficulties.

The main action of dissolving mucus is done by expectorants as they hydrolyze glycosaminoglycans, breaking down or lowering the viscosity of mucin-contaning body secretions. The viscosity of mucus secretions in the lungs depends on the concentration of mucoprotein, or the presence of disulfide bonds between DNA and these macromolecules.

Guaifenesin is initially used as treatment of coughs, but have also been found to have numerous uses. Various pharmaceutical companies market guaifenesin under several brand names. Such brand names include Robitussin, Bidex, Breonesin, Duratuss, among others.

As a treatment for coughing, guaifenesin is combined with an antitussive, dextromethorphan. The drug is also used to treat asthma, as it treats thickened bronchial mucosa, which is characteristic of the asthma condition. Its main action is to draw water into the bronchi, thinning the mucus and lubricating the airway, and coughing facilitates the mucus removal.

Apart from asthma and cough treatment, it has also been found out to be a uricosuric, that by increasing uric acid secretions from the blood stream into the urine, the drug may treat gout. Guaifenesin is also used to treat a condition called fibromyalgia. Some studies have also shown that guaifenesin may be used by women to facilitate conception by thinning mucus and thereby increasing its amount.

Guaifenesin has other uses apart from the mucus thinning properties. It has also been used by many for its neurological effects, particularly as an analgesic, for its muscle relaxing actions, and for its possibility to inhibit platelet aggregation.

The usual recommended adult dosage of guaifenesin is at 200 to 400 mg. A single dose should not exceed 300 mg, given at 4-hour intervals. Guaifenesin is supplied either in tablets or oral suspension.

Guaifenesin, if taken in the right dosage, has no known side effects. It is a relatively well-tolerated drug. However, side effects such as hypersensitivity or allergic reactions may occur (itching, skin rashes, swelling of the face, mouth and lips). If the drug is consumed above its normal quantities, side effects such as nausea and vomiting may occur. A rare and serious side effect would be the formation of uric acid kidney stones (uric acid nephrolithiasis). To prevent such side effects, it is advised to take in guaifenesin only on the prescribed dosage, and take the drug with meals. Good hydration may lower the risk of the development of kidney stones.

Guaifenesin is contraindicated in patients with a known hypersensitivity to the drug and its known components. There are no known drug interactions between guaifenesin and other drugs.

As guaifenesin may cause nausea or dizziness, and may produce a muscle relaxing effect, the use of the drug while driving, or performing activities that require mental alertness and focus must be given caution.

It is not known whether guaifenesin has adverse effects to the fetus. However, the use of the drug in pregnant women should always be consulted with the doctor. Nursing mothers, or women planning to breastfeed must first consult their doctor prior to the usage of the drug. The potential benefits of the drug must always be weighed against its risks to the nursing mother and infant.

Guaifenesin has the following structural formula:

Chemical structure of guaifenesin

• Molecular formula of guaifenesin is C10H14O4
• Chemical IUPAC Name is 3-(2-methoxyphenoxy)propane-1,2-diol
• Molecular weight is 198.216 g/mol
Guaifenesin available : 200mg tablets

Brand name(s): Actifed-C, Aeronesin, Amonidren, Amonidrin, Anti-Tuss, Aresol, Balminil Expectorant, Benylin-E, Breonesin, Bronchol, Calmipan, Calmylin Expectorant, Colrex expectorant, Cortussin, Creson, Dilyn, Dorassin, Equicol, Fenesin, Flartussin, Gaiamar, Gee-Gee, Genatuss, Glycerin guaiacolate, Glycerol guaiacolate, Glyceryl guaiacol, Glyceryl guaiacolate, Glyceryl guaicolate, Glyceryl guiacolate, Glycodex, Glycotuss, Glytuss, Gnaifenesin, Guaiacolglicerinetere, Guaiacuran, Guaiacurane, Guaiamar, Guaianesin, Guaiphenesin, Guaiphenesine, Guaiphesin, Guajacuran, Guajamar, Guanar, Guayanesin, Guiaphenesin, Guiatuss, Gvaja, Halotussin, Hustodil, Hustosil, Hytuss, Metfenossidiolo, Methoxypropanediol, Methphenoxydiol, Metossipropandiolo, Mintosyl, Miocaina, Miocurin, Miorelax, Mucinex, Mucostop, Muskurelax, Myocain, Myocaine, Myorelax, Myoscain, Myoscaine, Neuroton, Neurotone, Oresol, Oreson, Pneumomist, Propanosedyl, Reduton, Relaxil G, Reorganin, Resil, Respenyl, Respil, Resyl, Ritussin, Robitussin, Sinumist-SR, Sirotol, Tenntus, Tenntuss, Tolseron, Tolyn, Touro EX, Tulyl, Tulyn

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