Expectorants are often referred to as cough syrups. An expectorant aids the individual in loosening up the congestion caused due to excessive mucous accumulation. However, the fact that there are side effects of dosing expectorants, cannot be refuted.
An expectorant works toward helping the cough to regurgitate through the process of weakening the strength of the mucous. Expectorants are cough syrups that make it easier for the individual to cough up the mucous which may, as the cough progresses, cause a sore throat, a feeling of heaviness in the chest and difficulty in breathing. Expectorants may treat common cold and cough due to which congestion in the chest takes place and they are also prescribed for acute bronchitis; an air passage inflammation in the lungs.
Expectorants may reduce the probabilities of common cough becoming chronic by seeping into the system and clearing the buildup of mucous. With the expectorants being helpful in their own respective way, there have been instances when the cough syrup has had side effects associated with creating disturbances with the respiratory and the gastrointestinal system. In this article, we explicate the various expectorant side effects.
In terms of expectorants widely prescribed by doctors, guaifenesin and acetylcysteine are the two drugs that are trusted and are expectorants that generally work to clear the mucous accumulation from the respiratory tract. However, there is a difference between the two, on the basis of the method in which it is introduced into the system. Guaifenesin is ingested orally as a syrup or capsule to cure common cold and cough, on the other hand, acetylcysteine is inhaled directly into the trachea with the help of equipment.
There has been a considerable debate about the difference between expectorants and suppressants with the same treatment applied to expectorants and decongestants. Well, we may conclude that both work towards treating cough; however, their mode or approach is different. Expectorants are generally prescribed for day time, used to bring out the mucous by loosening it; on the other hand a suppressant is prescribed to be consumed before bed time to control the intensity of cough, thereby promoting sound sleep. The syrup has to be taken orally, however a doctor’s prescription accompanying the medication is a primary requirement. Treating the self without prescription may not be ideal to manage the condition.
Adverse Effects of Dosing Expectorants
It is a must that you read the directions thoroughly well and only then consume the syrup and adhere to the dosage. It has been noted that for some, expectorants work just fine, however, they may not serve the purpose and also cause side effects for some.
Constipation may be one of the side effects of expectorants. The inability to have smooth bowel movement may be disrupted for a few days, till the individual consumes the expectorant. You may also experience diarrhea, a contrary condition, which affects the gastrointestinal system.
Vomiting and Nausea
This is another segment of gastrointestinal disruption, where the individual may throw up the food consumed, accompanied with mucous and the expectorant. Regurgitation and acidity accompanied with pain and discomfort may also occur. You may also lose your appetite and thus endure weakness.
Due to expectorants, you may have an irregular or rapid heartbeat. You may experience labored breathing accompanied with chest pain and consistent weakness, due to which your daily work performance is affected. With a rapid heartbeat, you may also find yourself feeling fatigued with your muscles aching, due to which you may endure cramps.
Your skin may become susceptible to rashes and may cause you to feel scratchy. Rashes with redness on the skin is often a side effect that has been observed. Swelling of certain parts of the body may also be experienced.
This is a side effect which has now become a common symptom of expectorants not suiting you. You may suffer from sleeplessness or temporary insomnia, due to which you are drowsy and sleepy during the rest of the day. It is however, necessary that a suppressant be prescribed for the nighttime so that the individual may have a peaceful sleep, as he is not disturbed by the constant spasmodic coughing.
An important thing to be borne in mind, is that expectorants should be consumed preferably when they have been prescribed by the physician in the recommended dosage, especially when the drugs have to be administered to children. Guaifenesin should not be prescribed for children who are under 2 years of age. If however, they have to be administered, it is best that a physician be consulted. However, guaifenesin may be taken safely when pregnant, the same conditions of consultation applies here as well.