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What is guaifenesin?

Guaifenesin is an expectorant -- a medication that works to thin the mucus in the airways of the lungs and increase lubrication, making it easier to cough up mucus. Guaifenesin is used to treat the symptoms of chest congestion caused by the flu, the common cold, allergies or other infections. Guaifenesin comes as a tablet, extended-release tablet, dissolving granules and a syrup. All forms except the extended-release tablet should be taken about every four hours but always follow the instructions on the package. (Extended-release tablets are usually taken every 12 hours.)

Guaifenesin is available in non-prescription strengths. It is an active ingredient in the following brand-name drugs purchased over the counter: Robitussin and Mucinex. Guaifenesin is also available in prescription strength as a fixed combination additional ingredient: Robitussin AC (guaifenesin and codeine).

Guaifenesin, or plain Robitussin, helps to thin out mucus. You may want to try it, in addition to drinking water, as water helps as well. It is available over the counter and is very well tolerated. It is also available under the name Mucinex. Before starting any new medication, you need to check with your doctor and pharmacist to see how it fits with your other medications and medical conditions.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.