Diseases of the upper and lower respiratory tract in adults and children are often accompanied by the formation of thick, viscous sputum.
In this case, the cough becomes unproductive, suffocating, painful. Under such circumstances, it is simply impossible to do without special expectorant drugs. The accumulation of a large amount of mucus in the bronchi is dangerous due to the creation of favorable conditions for the accession and reproduction of pathogenic microflora.
Therefore, in this situation, only drugs will come to the rescue, which dilutes and removes sputum from the bronchial lumen.
What are expectorants for?
Coughing is a protective reflex that works when irritating the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract. But if the reaction is absolutely normal, then why is it necessary to take expectorant drugs? Let's try to figure it out.
In the body of a healthy person, the trachea and bronchi secrete a specific substance - the tracheobronchial mucus. It neutralizes the negative effects of pathogenic microflora and viruses on the respiratory organs, promotes the removal of microparticles that irritate the mucous membrane of the respiratory organs and enter the body along with the inhaled air. On the day a person swallows about 100 ml of this secret.
When an infection is attached, the volume of mucus produced increases, and can be up to 1.5 liters per day. Such sputum is the best habitat for pathogenic bacteria. To get rid of its excessive accumulation, the cough reflex is triggered.
Viscous and thick sputum can not get out of the bronchi independently, as a result of which there is a sharp deterioration in human well-being. To remove mucus and facilitate breathing, special expectorant drugs are prescribed.
Means that have the property of diluting and excreting sputum are divided into protivokashlevye, mucolytic and expectorant.
- Cough and Combination Drugs. Such drugs are prescribed for an unproductive, painful cough.
- Expectorantsbut. Appointed with productive cough, accompanied by the formation of sparse and easily separated secret.
- Mucolytics. Such medications are indicated for patients with a productive cough, in which the sputum is thick and sticky, therefore it cannot come out of the bronchi independently.
Expectorant drugs are divided into several types:
- Medications reflex impact. When they hit the gastric mucosa, an emetic reflex is activated. But at the same time, the patient does not feel the urge to vomit, but the peristalsis of the bronchial muscles improves, resulting in an increase in the volume of mucus in the bronchi. Stimulation of expectoration and sputum is due to irritation of the mucous membranes of the stomach. Pharmaceutical preparations made on the basis of extracts of Althea, Thyme, Coltsfoot, etc. mainly have such an effect.
- Preparations of direct resorptive effects. These funds are absorbed in the stomach and irritate the bronchi, increasing the volume of fluid that causes the formation of sputum. Improving expectoration contributes to the accumulation of water in the sputum, which dilutes it.
Mucolytics that dilute phlegm are divided into:
- agents that affect the elasticity and viscosity of mucus (ACC, etc.);
- drugs that promote the removal of sputum (Ambroxol, Abrol, etc.);
- drugs that inhibit the process of sputum production (glucocorticoid drugs, Libeksin Muko, etc.).
All drugs should be prescribed only by the attending physician. It must be borne in mind that mucolytics should not be used in combination with antitussive agents. However, there are combination medications that have both expectorant and antitussive effects.
Expectorants: a list
The choice of expectorant drugs in modern pharmacy chains is quite wide. However, many tools have proven to be highly effective, but it is worth remembering that this is a purely individual factor. You should not rely on the advice of acquaintances and friends and assurances of advertising - you need to entrust the issue of selecting a drug to a doctor.
With extreme caution in the choice of expectorant drugs for the treatment of children and pregnant women, as well as nursing mothers. Therefore, before buying, be sure to read the instructions for the drug, paying close attention to age restrictions and other contraindications. Many drugs are allowed to take only the second and third trimester, and is strictly prohibited - in the first.
The list below describes the most effective and affordable expectorant drugs.
- Bromhexine is a highly effective mucolytic agent, successfully used for tracheobronchitis, spastic bronchitis, bronchiectasis. This medicine is a synthetic analogue of vasicin, which dilutes and removes phlegm. When it enters the human body, Bromhexine is absorbed into the blood, where, under the influence of numerous chemical reactions, it turns into Ambroxol. The drug is available in the form of tablets and syrup for oral administration, as well as drops for inhalation. The drug begins to actively act only a day after administration. It helps to reduce the secretion of mucus and leads to an increase in the intensity of the ciliated epithelium. The volume of sputum increases, it begins its active elimination from the body. Side effects can occur through the development of dyspepsia and allergic reactions. Today, Bromhexin is considered an outdated medicine, so doctors rarely prescribe it to patients.
- Ambroxol is a medicine that not only stimulates the excretion of sputum, but also protects the respiratory organs from infection. This drug is widely used to treat diseases of the bronchi and lungs, since the components included in its composition are vital for the human body. Ambroxol is one of the decay products of bromhexine and has similar properties. Due to the intake of the drug, inflammation is stopped, besides, it has an antioxidant effect. The drug is used not only for therapeutic, but also preventive purposes before and after surgical interventions. For the treatment of productive cough in adults prescribed pills. If the child is sick, syrup is prescribed.
- Acetylcysteine, which is the active component of the drug ACC. This is a highly effective mucolytic agent that reduces the viscosity of sputum and freely removes it from the respiratory tract. Often, the ACC and its analogues are prescribed to patients with respiratory diseases of an infectious nature: tracheobronchitis, bronchitis, rhinitis, sinusitis, etc. Acetylcysteine is widely used in the treatment of colds cough. It is also included in the treatment of severe diseases such as cystic fibrosis, tuberculosis, etc. Acetylcysteine is an important therapeutic component, released in the form of powder and effervescent tablets. The drug can cause allergic reactions, bronchospasm, shortness of breath.
- Carbocisteine is a medicine that reduces the viscosity of sputum and promotes its removal from the body. Mukolvan, Langes, Karbotsistein - drugs that are often prescribed for the treatment of productive cough in children and adults. They restore damaged bronchial mucous membranes and accelerate the process of regeneration of their cells. They do not lead to the development of bronchospasm, moreover, they are safer than ACC. Positive dynamics is observed the next day after the start of treatment. The mucus becomes less thick, and therefore it is easier to expect.
- Combined medications. Such drugs are considered potent, so they are used as a last resort, and only under strict indications. The most effective and well-known representative of this group of drugs is the drug Ascoril. However, the funds from this category, despite their effectiveness, have a lot of contraindications. In addition, they can cause a number of side effects, so you need to take them with extreme caution. There is another widely used drug - Codelac Broncho. It is released in 3 forms: tablets, syrup, elixir. Syrup is prescribed mainly for children, depending on the age category. It makes sputum less viscous, facilitates its discharge, reduces cough. In parallel, the drug relieves inflammation.
In addition to the above syrups, tablets and mixtures for inhalation, there are also herbal remedies made on the basis of medicinal plants. Here are the most effective ones.
- Dr. Theis is a plantain-based syrup that has an expectorant effect. Can be used for all types of cough. It has anti-inflammatory, immunostimulating and antispasmodic properties. It can be used to fight bacterial infection and irritation of the mucous membranes of the throat. In most cases, the drug is included in the treatment regimen as an adjuvant.
- Prospan, Gerbion, Gadelix - medicinal cough syrups, made on the basis of ivy. They relieve bronchospasm, relieve cough, liquefy viscous sputum and contribute to its removal. These medications can be taken as a productive, and with unproductive cough.
- Drugs based on Althea root - a budget and effective option. Their most famous representative is the drug Mukaltin. With its help, the activity of the ciliated epithelium is stimulated, and the sputum is removed from the bronchi.
- The so-called "thermopsis pills" are also quite inexpensive and effective. They help make sputum more liquid and accelerate the process of its removal from the respiratory tract. The most popular medicine is Thermopsol. Its main advantage is that it can even be used to treat babies. The impact of this drug is aimed at stimulating the respiratory centers of the brain, thanks to which the bronchi begin to actively produce a secret that dilutes sputum. Thermopsol has an anti-inflammatory effect, increases the tone of smooth bronchial muscles and adversely affects pathogens.
In order to avoid unpleasant side effects, the specific medicine should be chosen not by the patient, but by a qualified specialist!
In parallel with pharmacotherapy widely used and folk remedies for cough. Consider the most effective recipes.
- Warm milk. This product in a heated form tends to liquefy sputum. To achieve higher and faster results from therapy, you can add a little honey, alkaline mineral water, butter, badger soda or soda to milk.
- Honey. For treatment you need to use only natural honey! Better - buckwheat or fake. This product has antiseptic, bactericidal and anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it is so valued in traditional medicine. You can take a teaspoon of honey every 2-3 hours, or add it to warm (but not hot!) Beverages: tea, compote, milk, cocoa, etc.
- Steam inhalation using herbal decoctions. The classic option is to breathe over boiled potatoes, covering your head with a towel. Such procedures facilitate breathing, thin the mucus and have a beneficial effect on irritated mucous throats.
Quite often, doctors themselves recommend that patients combine pharmacotherapy with folk remedies for coughing. If the situation is not too neglected, and we are not talking about pneumonia or more severe respiratory diseases, such an integrated approach to treatment provides simply amazing results!
The patient manages to get rid of sputum as soon as possible without consequences for his health. But you should not forget: if the condition does not improve, or regressive dynamics is observed, it is necessary to immediately abandon the therapy and seek advice from a competent doctor!
Contraindications and precautions
Despite the fact that the above-described expectorant drugs are highly effective, they should be used very carefully for self-treatment.
Before using the selected medication in detail read the instructions to it. Each and every drug has its own contraindications, features of use, limitations and side effects. If a particular remedy does not suit you, you must refuse it and consult a doctor.
With a wet cough, it is not possible to combine antitussive and expectorant drugs. Their simultaneous use will lead to a "conflict" of their active substances, resulting in the deterioration of health and the occurrence of adverse reactions.
If self-medication does not bring relief for 3-5 days after the start of taking the drug, it is necessary to consult a doctor to avoid dangerous complications.