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Archive » 2012 » 3-4 » | Archive » Medical field » Fields » Pharmacology and Experimental Toxicology »

Mucolytics, Expectorants and Antitussives

 
Abstract:

This post is also available in: enEnglish slSlovenščina (Slovenian)

Cough is an important disease symptom. Causes of cough are respiratory tract infections, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, lung cancer, bronchiectasie, and many other lung diseases, but also smoking, airway foreign body. Common extra pulmonary causes of cough are gastroesophageal reflux, rhinitis with postnasal drip, etc. Cough treatment should be always directed at the underlying cause of cough. In rare cases, it is reasonable to treat symptomatic cough, i.e. to facilitate expectoration in patients with cystic fibrosis using dornase α. Due to cough caused by upper respiratory tract infection, patients often opt for self-medication. The efficacy and safety of many products that are used for this purpose has not been confirmed by appropriate studies and their use may, in certain cases, even be dangerous. In the article, mucolytic agents and expectorants that alter physical and/or chemical properties of the mucus and facilitate coughing are described. In addition, antitussive drugs which inhibit a cough reflex are also presented. They are useful when organic cause of cough could not identified, and for treatment of cough in palliative purposes. Mechanisms of action and therapeutic usefulness of drugs are described, and the most commonly used drug representatives are outlined.

Authors:
Lipnik Štangelj Metoda, Zidarn Mihaela

Keywords:
cough, mucolytics, expectorants, antitussives

Cite as:
Med Razgl. 2012; 51: 425–31.
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