Mucinex Side Effects

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Mucinex® is an expectorant that clears the nasal and bronchial passages and allows patients to breathe more easily. Mucinex® is not a cure for any illness; it only treats symptoms, and does not enhance recovery. Mucinex® side effects include headaches, nausea and vomiting. Other adverse reactions are possible.[1]

Mucinex® is FDA-approved as an over-the-counter "non-drowsy" cold and allergy medication that relieves nasal and chest congestion by loosening the mucus that causes it.[2] It contains the active ingredient guaifenesin, or a combination of guaifenesin and other ingredients in some formulas. Mucinex® D contains guaifenesin along with pseudoephedrine.[1] Mucinex® is also effective as a cough suppressant. The brand is available in at least 21 different forms, including tablets, lozenges, nasal sprays, and both adult and children's liquids.[3]


Mrmucus drugfacts.jpg
Brand name for  
Manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser Inc.[2]
Generic available? Yes[4]
Uses Relieves chest and sinus congestion[2]
Common side effects Headaches, nausea and vomiting[1]
Who should not take Mucinex®? People using MAO inhibitors
Disclaimer The information provided by is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Do not take any action based on the information on this page without consulting a physician.
Author Hugh Shiebler


Common Mucinex Side Effects

The most common side effects of original Mucinex® expectorant are headache and upset stomach. Other side effects are possible with other Mucinex® products, which contain multiple active ingredients. For example, the pseudoephedrine in Mucinex® D can cause restlessness, weakness, nervousness and insomnia. Taking multiple doses can increase the likelihood of side effects.[5]

About Drug Side Effects

Drug Side Effects

Mucinex Allergic Reactions

Serious allergic reactions to Mucinex® are unusual. Signs of a severe reaction include dizziness; rash; swelling or itching of the tongue, throat, lips or face; and trouble breathing. Allergic reactions to Mucinex® can stem from an allergy to active ingredient guaifenesine; they can also come from any one of the inactive ingredients in Mucinex®, which vary by version.[6] For example, the inactive ingredients in original Mucinex® are hypromellose, carbomer 934P, magnesium stearate, FD&C blue #1 aluminum lake, sodium starch glycolate and microcrystalline cellulose.[7]

Mucinex Precautions and Warnings

The manufacturer recommends that before taking Mucinex®, patients mention to a doctor or healthcare provider if they have any history of breathing problems, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, smoker's cough, asthma, or a cough that produces large amounts of mucus or blood. If the coughing persists for longer than a week, or comes with a fever, rash, or chronic headache, these could be symptoms of serious illness that requires a different course of treatment.[7]

The FDA warns that some unapproved prescription combination cold and cough drugs can cause major adverse reactions in children, and are sometimes even fatal. OTC Mucinex®does not fall under this category; however, unapproved prescription varieties of Mucinex® do, and can be dangerous. Parents are advised to be aware of which cold medications they are giving their children, and to consult a pharmacist before use.[8]


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