Guaifenesin Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Food Interaction and all others data.

Dextromethorphan suppresses the cough reflex by a direct action on the cough center in the medulla of the brain. Dextromethorphan shows high affinity binding to several regions of the brain, including the medullary cough center. This compound is an NMDA receptor antagonist and acts as a non-competitive channel blocker. It is one of the widely used antitussives, and is also used to study the involvement of glutamate receptors in neurotoxicity.

Dextromethorphan is an opioid-like molecule indicated in combination with other medication in the treatment of coughs and pseudobulbar affect. It has a moderate therapeutic window, as intoxication can occur at higher doses. Dextromethorphan has a moderate duration of action. Patients should be counselled regarding the risk of intoxication.

Guaifenesin possesses a storied history, having been originally formally approved by the US FDA in 1952 and continues to be one of very few - if not perhaps the only drug that is readily available and used as an expectorant . Since that time the agent has been a combination component of various prescription and non-prescription over-the-counter cough and cold products and is currently a widely available over-the-counter generic medication . Although it is principally believed that guaifenesin elicits an action to facilitate productive cough to manage chest congestion , it is not known whether the agent can reliably mitigate coughing.

Regardless, on March 1, 2007, the FDA received a petition asking the FDA to notify the public that some antitussives, expectorants, decongestants, antihistamines, and cough/cold combinations are not known to be safe and effective in children under the age of 6 years . After the negotiation between FDA and major manufacturers, a voluntary transition of labels for not using guaifenesin in children under the age of 4 years was endorsed by FDA in 2008 .

Furthermore, there has also been contemporary research to suggest that guaifenesin possesses and is capable of demonstrating anticonvulsant and muscle relaxant effects to some degree possibly by acting as an NMDA receptor antagonist .

Pseudoephedrine is structurally related to ephedrine but exerts a weaker effect on the sympathetic nervous system. Both drugs naturally occur in in ephedra plant which have a history of use in traditional Eastern medicine and were first researched in the west in 1889. The decongestant effect of pseudoephedrine was described in dogs in 1927.

Pseudoephedrine causes vasoconstriction which leads to a decongestant effect. It has a short duration of action unless formulated as an extended release product. Patients should be counselled regarding the risk of central nervous system stimulation.

Trade Name Guaifenesin
Generic Dextromethorphan + Guaifenesin + Pseudoephedrine
Weight 2mg + 5mg + 50mg + 5mg/5ml, , 100mg
Type Oral Capsule, Oral Liquid, Oral Tablet, Extended Release, Oral Powder For Reconstitution, Oral Suspension, Oral Syrup, Oral Elixir, Tablet
Therapeutic Class
Manufacturer Imfarmind, Novapharin, Intijaya Meta Ratna Pharmindo, Trifa Raya Laboratories, Triman, Mega Esa Farma, First Medipharma, Kimia Farma, Ciubros Farma, Ifars, Erlimpex, Itrasal
Available Country United States, Indonesia
Last Updated: September 19, 2023 at 7:00 am


Dextromethorphan is used for Chronic dry cough or unproductive cough; Acute dry cough which is interfering with normal function or sleep.

Guaifenesin is an expectorant commonly found in OTC products for the symptomatic relief from congested chests and coughs associated with cold, bronchitis, and/or other breathing illnesses.

Guaifenesin is an expectorant that is indicated for providing temporary symptomatic relief from congested chests and coughs which may be due to a cold, bronchitis, and/or other breathing illnesses .

Pseudoephedrine is an alpha and beta adrenergic agonist used to treat nasal and sinus congestion, as well as allergic rhinitis.

Pseudoephedrine is a sympathomimetic amine used for its decongestant activity.

Guaifenesin is also used to associated treatment for these conditions: Allergic cough, Common Cold, Common Cold/Flu, Cough, Cough caused by Common Cold, Coughing caused by Allergies, Coughing caused by Bronchitis, Coughing caused by Flu caused by Influenza, Fever, Flu caused by Influenza, Headache, Irritative cough, Itching of the nose, Itching of the throat, Nasal Congestion, Pseudobulbar affect, Rhinorrhoea, Sneezing, Upper respiratory symptoms, Watery itchy eyes, Airway secretion clearance therapy, Bronchodilation, Oropharyngeal antisepsisAllergic Reaction, Asthma, Asthma, Allergic, Bronchial Asthma, Bronchitis, Bronchospasm, Chronic Bronchitis, Chronic Obstructive Respiratory Diseases, Common Cold, Cough, Cough caused by Common Cold, Coughing caused by Allergies, Coughing caused by Flu caused by Influenza, Drug Allergy, Emphysema, Fever, Flu caused by Influenza, Food Allergy, Headache, House dust allergy, Irritative cough, Laryngitis, Nasal Congestion, Nasal Congestion caused by Common Cold, Phlegm, Pollen Allergy, Productive cough, Rash, Rhinorrhoea, Sneezing, Sore Throat, Tracheitis, Urticaria, Whooping Cough, Acute Rhinitis, Chest congestion, Chills occurring with fever, Dry cough, Excess mucus or phlegm, Mild to moderate pain, Minor aches and pains, Airway secretion clearance therapy, ExpectorantAllergic Rhinitis (AR), Allergies, Common Cold, Common Cold Associated With Cough, Common Cold/Flu, Cough, Cough caused by Common Cold, Eye allergy, Fever, Flu caused by Influenza, Headache, Irritative cough, Nasal Allergies, Nasal Congestion, Nasal Congestion caused by Common Cold, Pain, Perennial Allergy, Priapism, Respiratory Allergy, Rhinorrhoea, Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis, Seasonal Allergies, Sinus Congestion, Sinusitis, Sneezing, Sore Throat, Symptoms of Acute Bronchitis Accompanied by Coughing, Throat irritation, Upper Respiratory Tract Infection, Upper respiratory tract congestion, Upper respiratory tract signs and symptoms, Dry cough, Minor aches and pains, Sinus pain, Watery itchy eyes, Airway secretion clearance therapy

How Guaifenesin works

Dextromethorphan is an agonist of NMDA and sigma-1 receptors. It is also an antagonist of α3/β4 nicotinic receptors.[A10589] However, the mechanism by which dextromethorphan's receptor agonism and antagonism translates to a clinical effect is not well understood.

Although the exact mechanism of action of guaifenesin may not yet be formally or totally elucidated, it is believed that expectorants like guaifenesin function by increasing mucus secretion . Moreover, it is also further proposed that such expectorants may also act as an irritant to gastric vagal receptors, and recruit efferent parasympathetic reflexes that can elicit glandular exocytosis that is comprised of a less viscous mucus mixture . Subsequently, these actions may provoke coughing that can ultimately flush difficult to access, congealed mucopurulent material from obstructed small airways to facilitate a temporary improvement for the individual .

Consequently, while it is generally proposed that guaifenesin functions as an expectorant by helping to loosen phlegm (mucus) and thin bronchial secretions to rid the bronchial passageways of bothersome mucus and make coughs more productive, there has also been research to suggest that guaifenesin possesses and is capable of demonstrating anticonvulsant and muscle relaxant effects to some degree possibly by acting as an NMDA receptor antagonist .

Pseudoephedrine acts mainly as an agonist of alpha adrenergic receptors and less strongly as an agonist of beta adrenergic receptors.[A10896] This agonism of adrenergic receptors produces vasoconstriction which is used as a decongestant and as a treatment of priapism. Pseudoephedrine is also an inhibitor of norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin transporters.

The sympathomimetic effects of pseudoephedrine include an increase in mean arterial pressure, heart rate, and chronotropic response of the right atria. Pseudoephedrine is also a partial agonist of the anococcygeal muscle. Pseudoephedrine also inhibits NF-kappa-B, NFAT, and AP-1.


Guaifenesin dosage

Adults and Children over 12 years: 15 to 30 mg three to four times per day. However, 60 mg doses up to four times per day have been used without increased side effects.

Children between 6 and 12 years: 5-15 mg up to four times per day.

Children between 2 and 6 years: 2.5-5 mg up to four times per day.

Side Effects

Adverse effects with Dextromethorphan are rare, but nausea and dizziness sometimes occur. The drug produces no analgesia or addiction and little or no CNS depression. Excitation, confusion and respiratory depression may occur after overdosage.


A dextromethorphan overdose may present as nausea, vomiting, stupor, coma, respiratory depression, seizures, tachycardia, hyperexcitability, toxic psychosis, ataxia, nystagmus, dystonia, blurred vision, changes in muscle reflexes, and serotonin syndrome. Overdose should be managed through symptomatic and supportive measures.

The most prevalent signs and symptoms associated with an overdose of guaifenesin have been nausea and vomiting .

Although adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women have not been performed, the Collaborative Perinatal Project monitored 197 mother-child pairs exposed to guaifenesin during the first trimester . An increased occurrence of inguinal hernias was found in the neonates . However, congenital defects were not strongly associated with guaifenesin use during pregnancy in 2 large groups of mother-child pairs .

Moreover, guaifenesin is excreted in breast milk in small quantities . Subsequently, caution should be exercised by balancing the potential benefit of treatment against any possible risks .

Additionally, an LD50 value of 1510 mg/kg (rat, oral) has been reported for guaifenesin .

The oral LD50 of pseudoephedrine is 2206mg/kg in rats and 726mg/kg in mice.

Patients experiencing an overdose of pseudoephedrine may present with giddiness, headache, nausea, vomiting, sweating, thirst, tachycardia, precordial pain, palpitations, difficulty urinating, muscle weakness, muscle tension, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, toxic psychosis, cardiac arrhythmias, circulatory collapse, convulsions, coma, and respiratory failure. Treat overdose with symptomatic and supportive treatment including removal of unabsorbed drug.


Do not use Dextromethorphan to control a cough that is associated with smoking, asthma, or emphysema, or a cough that is productive (produces sputum or phlegm).


The following medicines should be taken carefully while concomitantly use with Dextromethorphan: Amiodarone, Fluoexetine, Quinidine, CNS depressants and Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors.

Volume of Distribution

The volume of distribution of dextromethorphan is 5-6.7L/kg.

The geometric mean apparent volume of distribution of guaifenesin determined in healthy adult subjects is 116L (CV=45.7%) .

The apparent volume of distribution of pseudoephedrin is 2.6-3.3L/kg.

Elimination Route

A 30mg oral dose of dextromethorphan reaches a Cmax of 2.9 ng/mL, with a Tmax of 2.86 h, and an AUC of 17.8 ng*h/mL.

Studies have shown that guaifenesin is well absorbed from and along the gastrointestinal tract after oral administration .

A 240mg oral dose of pseudoephedrine reaches a Cmax of 246.3±10.5ng/mL fed and 272.5±13.4ng/mL fasted, with a Tmax of 6.60±1.38h fed and 11.87±0.72h fasted, with an AUC of 6862.0±334.1ng*h/mL fed and 7535.1±333.0ng*h/mL fasted.

Half Life

Dextromethorphan has a half life of 3-30 hours.

The half-life in plasma observed for guaifenesin is approximately one hour .

The mean elimination half life of pseudoephedrine is 6.0h.


The mean clearance recorded for guaifenesin is about 94.8 L/hr (CV=51.4%) .

A 60mg oral dose of pseudoephedrine has a clearance of 5.9±1.7mL/min/kg.

Elimination Route

After administration, guaifenesin is metabolized and then largely excreted in the urine .

55-75% of an oral dose is detected in the urine as unchanged pseudoephedrine.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding use

Pregnancy: Adequate and well-controlled studies in human have not been done. However, Dextromethorphan has not been reported to cause birth defects.

Lactation: It is not known whether dextromethorphan passes into breast milk. However, Dextromethorphan has not been reported to cause problems in nursing babies.


Hypersensitivity to Dextromethorphan or any other component.

Acute Overdose

Symptoms: In mild overdose, tachycardia, hypertension, vomiting, mydriasis, diaphoresis, nystagmus, euphoria, loss of motor coordination, and giggling; in moderate intoxication, in addition to those listed above, hallucinations and a plodding ataxic gait; in severely intoxication, agitation or somnolence.

Management: treatment is symptomatic and supportive. Naloxone may be useful in reversing toxicity.

Storage Condition

Store at 15-30° C

Innovators Monograph

You find simplified version here Guaifenesin

*** Taking medicines without doctor's advice can cause long-term problems.